As a long-time fan of gratuitous, and sometimes pixelated, violence, it pains me to write this article. Recently, I came across a Kickstarter campaign for Gunkatana, which promises to fill the gaping void that ultra-violent greats like The Running Man and Smash TV previously occupied. You see, in Gunkatana, you not only shred up your opponents into a pulp of bloody bloodstuffs, you can also lampoon them at high-speed thanks to in-game rails a la F-Zero.
And I’m not definitely not alone. In fact, there are multiple communities on Steam and Gamespot that are absolutely thirsting for a game like Gunkatana. Even better, developer Torn Page Games seems to be doing everything that has defined previous successful Kickstarters, such as:
- Significant development time put into the game prior to launch.
- Providing a playable pre-alpha version available for download.
- Pulling on the nostalgic heartstrings of old school gamers.
- Creating a strong following upfront.
To that last point, it’s worth mentioning that with only 97 backers, Torn Page Games has managed to raise $3,945 in its first week, surely a sign of fevered demand.
However, the largely barren and unsure Comments section seems to be hinting that Gunkatana, as awesome as it is, may miss its funding goal by a wide margin. This makes me profoundly sad, but with 18 days left at the time of this writing, there’s always hope.
There are a few factors to consider before launching any Kickstarter, but in order for it to be successful, keeping interest fresh becomes somewhat of a full-time job. To better help the good folks at Torn Page Games as well as those considering crowdfunding, here are three powerful tips that I’ve learned and/or observed during my 3+ years in this niche.
Utilize and Optimize Social Media
No matter how “big” or “small” you are, none can disprove the power of social media. For example, if one of your followers shares your campaign with their followers who most likely share their interests, it will then trickle downwards over and over again.
This phenomenon is called a force multiplier, and is a great way to naturally reach your target audience. Even if you’re too busy, you know, developing a game, free tools like Hootsuite and Buffer will allow you to schedule posts for when they’re most likely to be shared by people who care about your game and who knows, maybe attract new backers eager to play your game.
Open Yourself Up to Interviews
Nothing’s better than free press with an interested audience, right? Remember that natural target audience that you’ve worked so hard to propagate? Some of them may have some questions for you, which not only creates unique content for them, but also gives their followers more insight into who you are and what you’re about.
Ah, the final nail in the coffin. What’s better than working on your game in realtime and streamed around the world? Other developers have done this before with a large level of success, and while you’re working on the game, you or a mod can comment and/or answer viewer questions in realtime. Again, this is a great way to attract viewers and backers to your campaign while doing what you do best: develop games.
In the meanwhile, I’ll sit over here and anxiously await the final outcome of Gunkatana’s campaign. Can they pull it off? Let’s hope.