In July of 2015 Algitt Studios sole developer, Stephen Scott released his first beta build of Hurried Heroes. This early version of his beat the clock dungeon crawler released to backers who’d pledged at the ‘Standard Plus’ funding tier. The game raised $8,592 on Kickstarter the previous year.
After posting the download link, Scott all but disappeared. For a full year backers didn’t receive any updates over on Kickstarter. Now, Scott has returned, claiming to have spent the year rewriting the game from scratch. I reached out to him to see what the heck happened.
Joanna Mueller – Cliqist : What made you decide to scrap your progress and just start over? What did you get rid of or keep in the end?
Stephen Scott, Algitt Studios : I took a hard look at the game in 2016, and just said to myself, this is a bad game. I had been working on it for well over a year and it was just not fun, and not something anyone would want to play for more than 5 minutes at best. I had been trying to improve that since the beginning, but I just couldn’t keep patching the game to try and make it fun (and functional in some instances).
So I knew I had to start over, nearly from scratch. The majority of the art remains from the original build. The Menus and UIs have changed, and the heroes have actual hands instead of the bomberman-esque stumps they were sporting. In terms of code, the only code to make it over from the original game is the ‘Dungeon Generation’ code. Everything else is completely new to this version.
Cliqist : Any change to the features or platforms promised in the Kickstarter?
Stephen : All of the features and platforms are still going to make the release. We never made it to the stretch goals, so the wishlist features won’t be there, but if the game sells well when it makes it to market I’ll look into taking those features and just making it a big content update down the line.
Is There Anybody Out There?
Cliqist : You launched beta one back in July of 2015. What feedback did you get from your backers? What worked and what didn’t in this build?
Stephen : So to the first part of your question, none. It’s the sad truth, no one has ever had feedback on Hurried Heroes. Ignoring the backers I know personally, none of them have ever given me feedback on the game itself. I’ve only ever been contacted by 1 backer after the Kickstarter ended and that person just checks in to see if development is still on-going.
As far as what was working in the beta build, I think the premise was strong; hunt for loot, run around as fast as you can, dodge collapsing roof pieces, and escape. But the implementation just wasn’t fun. Combat was slow and dull, enemies were to easy to defeat (especially the boss), and behind the scenes, the Android build was in shambles.
Cliqist : You have a pretty small crowdfunding community (39 backers).On the one hand less people to answer to, but you also get less feedback and support. How has that hurt or helped development on Hurried Heroes?
Stephen : It’s definitely hurt, more than I was expecting. To this day, I have no feedback from any of the backers actually playing Hurried Heroes. So as far as feedback goes my wife and I are the only people to ever play Hurried Heroes. It’s tough when I’m the only voice for how the game progresses. It gives me freedom to make the game that I want to make, but it hurts by not having anyone to tell me when I’m going down the wrong path. With feedback I might have scrapped the original version early enough to get this game out in early 2016, instead of early 2017.
Moving Forward, Looking Back
Cliqist : What’s your current timeline for development look like? Any plans for an early access launch?
Stephen : I had targeted a February 28th release date, but I got sick and had a death in the family, so I’m probably going to have to push back the release date a little bit. There won’t be an early access release, because I want to stay faithful to the backers getting access to this game before anyone else can. Also from a pure development standpoint, it will make it easier to ensure stability for online multiplayer if less people are able to play it at launch. But a couple of weeks after backers get the full game I will target a Steam release.
Cliqist : If you ran the campaign today, what changes would you make?
Stephen : I think everything that I was offering in the campaign wouldn’t change, but I wouldn’t have started the campaign until I had a fully featured prototype. I think running it so early in development was a mistake because I still wasn’t sure about any of the timelines that I had set, which played a part in the massive delay.