Thunder Lotus Games is no stranger to crowdfunding success. Their hand-drawn Norse Mythology game, Jotun raised CA$ 64,265 on Kickstarter back in 2014. Needless to say, when it came time to move forward with their newest project, Sundered, they knew they wanted to return to crowdfunding.
To get ready for the campaign they created an intro and demo of their new metroidvania-styled action title. This was self-funded with help from the Canadian Media Fund. Next. they reached out to other crowdfunded projects (Moon Hunters, Children of Zodiarcs, We Happy Few, and Ultimate Chicken Horse) to offer their backers free copies of Jotun if they also backed Sundered in the first 24 hours. Finally, press releases were sent out teasing the upcoming campaign. All long before anyone even touched the launch button on Kickstarter.
Meeting with Thunder Lotus CEO and Creative Director, Will Dubé last weekend at PAX South, I learned this was no coincidence. Dubé told me that when it comes to crowdfunding, a campaign’s first day is incredibly important.
For comparison, after its first day, Jotun had already raised $12.8K (25%) of its CA$ 50,000 funding goal. The project would eventually finish its campaign with 2,299 backers pledging CA$ 64,265. As such, Dubé knew going into the Kickstarter for Sundered just how important that first push could be for a game. Still, even he couldn’t have anticipated the amazing reception they would receive.
Sundered managed to raise 100% of its $19,104 funding goal six hours after it launched. Currently it is sitting around 371% funded with more than two weeks remaining.
“We didn’t expect it to be that good,” Dubé admitted, “we’re really, really humbled by that.”
We’ve already covered the amazing effects a solid community base can have on a crowdfunding campaign. It was this community involvement that drew Thunder Lotus back to Kickstarter in the first place. Dubé said that the feedback the team received from Jotun’s beta was a “huge boon for the game’s quality.”
By returning to crowdfunding for Sundered, they hoped to receive not only invaluable community feedback, but also the funds to implement it. Backers will have access to the alpha build of Sundered immediately after the campaign ends. This will give Thunder Lotus the time it needs to implement changes based on their feedback.
Polish Until It Shines
Rather than offer countless stretch goals that could easily lead to the dreaded scope creep, Thunder Lotus plans to use all of the campaign funds to polish and improve the game’s core gameplay mechanics. Admittedly, this isn’t a formula that will work for everyone. Many indie devs come to crowdfunding explicitly because they can’t afford to complete core development. Still, it’s worthwhile to see how preparation and marketing prior to the launch of a crowdfunding campaign can make a huge difference in its outcome.
I had plenty of developers at PAX tell me that they should have marketed their project more before setting their campaigns live. By the end of the weekend the message was clear. If you wait until the clock is already ticking down to start marketing, you’ve waited too long.
Sundered will be out for Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4 in July 2017. There is still time to back it on Kickstarter and get in on some sweet reward tiers and early access.