Barry Collins Discusses Post-Apocalyptic Shooter, Ashen Rift
with Greg Micek
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ve discussed Ashen Rift a number of times in the past; it’s original Kickstarter campaign, a review of that campaign, and a brief look at its current Kickstarter. With 11 days to go now is a great time to take a closer look at this post-apocalyptic action shooter that features a kick-ass dog sidekick, some terrifying monsters, and lots of facial hair. The creator of Ashen Rift was kind enough to take time away from the Ashen Rift Kickstarter to answer some of our questions.
Cliqist : Welcome back to Kickstarter! How has Ashen Rift progressed since your last campaign?
Barry Collins : Hey, Thanks! I’ve brought a rad team with me this time, not flying solo anymore, feels great!
Since the last campaign we have re-built every asset and every other aspect of the game from the ground up, it’s all new content! So I feel like it shows and plays better. We also have a lot more immediate presentation of the games key elements, the man, the dog, the world, the feeders and the story… they all get a few seconds in the spotlight in the trailer, that felt really nice.
This time around we’re not just saying “it’s a game about a dog, and a man in a world, with feeders”, in fact we say very little, we just show it and hint at some of the big picture elements of the story.
Cliqist : For anyone not familiar with Ashen Rift, can you give us an idea of what the game is?
Barry Collins : It’s a game about what you do when you’re staring down the last moments of your own life, the last moments of Earth… What do you do? Will you just stay alive and simply survive, will you just keep on doing what you have always done? Or will you act, will you serve others, will you make a difference.
The hero of Ashen Rift is a survivor who wants to do just that… He wants to make a difference, he wants to try at the very least.
So with his best friend, a pit bull named Bounder, he sets out with what little he has on him towards the epicenter of Earths unmaking…
That is Ashen Rift.
Cliqist : What inspired you to make Ashen Rift?
Barry Collins : Initially it was intended as a portfolio piece to help get me better clients. It quickly evolved from a quake 1 clone into a short story about a man and a dog trying to shut down a portal, it didn’t take long before the story sprawled out into something I really want to play.
I found over time that there was a really good opportunity to help the extremely tarnished reputation of the Pit Bull type breeds by giving a positive public figure like Bounder. This (and many other circumstances) eventually culminated in me and my girlfriend rescuing a sweet little 3 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier which we named Scully. I really do hope that the success of Ashen Rift translates into financial support for animal rescue organizations… I mean, how great would that be? Make games and save animals! Ahhh, that’s the dream. And is that not what Ashen Rift is about? will you just stand there and do nothing? or will you at least try!
The name Bounder is the name of a real dog from Vancouver’s down town east side, a dog like many in the area which depends on the charity of organizations like Charlies Food Bank to get essential veterinary services. So even the name of the dog itself represents the intent to do good for these people and animals long term.
Cliqist : What have you done differently between this campaign and the earlier one?
Barry Collins : More Press releases, better written content, shorter video, better graphics, simpler message over all and more networking with the Indie developer scene.
I also went from a 20+ pledge package system to a super simplified add-on system, which is quite basic! All you need to do is create a clear list of add ons and their values and then be prepared to survey backers once the campaign is completed, this will let you find out exactly what their backer dollars are intended for.
Cliqist : On the Ashen Rift Kickstarter FAQ you mention that the funding goal was increased to allow for a team of developers, as opposed to it being a one man project. What are the benefits to doing it this way?
Barry Collins : Less stress on my shoulders, more minds to share ideas with and collaborate with, it’s just a more enjoyable experience over all, that’s for sure. I love my team, coolest folks around, badass artists, an amazing coder and the essential for any good team, an audio wizard.
Cliqist : You have PC, Linux, Mac, and PS4 listed as supported platforms. Any chance we’ll ever get an Ashen Rift Xbox One release? I don’t know if the wifey will let me buy another console.
Barry Collins : Entirely possible, we’re currently not equipped or able to take on a task that large, but if funding on KS or early access sales on steam go well then we can start to consider other options like that. We targeted Sony because, well, they targeted us! they have been extremely supportive of us and so we felt comfortable with PS4 as our first console option.
Cliqist : Now that you’ve been involved in a few Kickstarter campaigns, what sort of words of wisdom would you pass on to others looking to raise money for their projects?
Barry Collins : Don’t do it.
But if you do, launch your Greenlight at the same time.
Kickstarter and video games don’t quite have the magic they use to, the climate has changed. If you need 25k bucks, you can possibly do it… if you want 100k+ then it’s an extremely long shot. You are for sure better off investing your time in Greenlight and then getting to Early Access as soon as possible.
Cliqist : Why should people back the Ashen Rift Kickstarter?
Barry Collins : Because we’re actually between a rock and a hard spot right now, my team does need money to be able to help in a substantial way, and our software licenses are expired, We’re back to Unity Free, the Trial we used of Premiere to edit our Kickstarter video is expired. It sucks. So close yet so far.
Cliqist : My sister hates dogs, and only likes cats. How about a cat instead of a dog?
Barry Collins : How about as a bonus for completing the Kickstarter? I’ll make the cat mod for backers only. Bounder the cat!
Thanks to Barry for taking the time to answer our questions! If you’d like to to learn more about Ashen Rift be sure to head over to its Kickstarter campaign page. While you’re in the mood, be sure to take a moment to check out Charlie’s Foodbank, it offers some much needed services to animals in need.