Outcast is the action-adventure game that came out in 1999. Last year its developers bought it back from Atari, with a plan to revive the game, pimped up to modern standards. In other words, here’s a game with AAA production values, a fully voiced cast and symphonic music – going Indie. Time for a word with Creative Director Franck Sauer.
Can you tell us a few words about your project? Outcast is an awesome action-adventure game of epic scale. The original came in 1999 and we are the same team today working on the reboot. We are talking about 20 hours of gameplay here, in a fully 3D immersive world with incredible AI and top notch visuals that literally sucks you into the world. The game features open-world gameplay and free roaming in 6 large regions. The gameplay is non-linear, meaning most of the quests can be solved in any order. It features some RPG elements such as the ability to collect resources and ask a smith to build weaponry for you. All characters, including NPC are fully voiced in English / German / French. It has one of the most amazing soundtrack for a videogame, featuring over one hour of orchestral music recorder with a 80 piece orchestra and a 40 piece choir.
Have a look at the ‘before and after’ images below.
Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Because we weren’t happy with the proposals from publishers. We had an interesting offer budget-wise, but the timing was extremely short and royalties conditions would not have enabled us to fund a sequel later on. Basically it was hefty money now, but starve later.
Is it the first Kickstarter project? This is our first Kickstarter project, but most people from our team have at least 15 years experience in the industry. My personal experience starts in the 8 bit era over 26 years ago and I’ve worked since on over 25 published games including, just to name a few, Iron Lord, Agony, Ultimate Tennis, Indiana Jones, Far Cry, Fighter Within, and of course the original Outcast. Some of our members in the team also worked on titles such as Star Wars, Hellboy, Guild Wars and many others.
What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards? Besides the obvious release of the game, we wanted to connect backers with the universe of the game by offering physical objects such as statuettes of the hero and creatures in action and a pyro-engraved map of the regions of the game.
What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in general? The video is utterly important, and we made some mistakes early on in the campaign. First I would say, look at what the others do and don’t take KS own advice for granted. These are pretty general advices from KS and they don’t necessarily work for video games. The best is to show a trailer with gameplay footage (if you have that available) and then explain what you’re doing. We didn’t have gameplay footage available since it’s an early prototype we’ve got there, but we’re working on it and should be available soon.
It looks like the KS population has changed quite a bit these last two years. KS has always been about starting from an idea (it’s called Kickstarter for a reason), and it looks more and more like a pre-order site now. You have to show things up-front and it hurts small developers with no other funding.
Have a look at the project’s video below.
What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign? We used all social media networks obviously, and we placed some adverts on Kicktraq, a site that tracks funding of Kickstarter projects and is a portal for many projects. We are low on budget and this is one of the most crucial yet difficult part of our campaign, making people know about Outcast and our Kickstarter.
Please tell us more about your company. The company, Fresh3D, was founded some 10 years ago by Yann Robert and me to develop technologies and games for various platforms. We have worked on released games for the PS2, PC, Xbox360 and XboxOne. The team is composed of people from the old days, we are basically a bunch of friends who have been working together in the gaming industry, either in the same companies or as freelancers, for at least 15 years, some of them even started with me 26 years ago. We are passionate about what we do, and collectively we cover all the expertise and needs for creating a top notch product.
Please tell us something that isn’t written in your project page which worth mentioning. I think it is important for the younger generation who don’t know the original Outcast and haven’t play it yet, what a gem this game is. This game is not just like another game with simple, unresponsive AI or characters with shallow interaction. Do you know for instance that your reputation while you play can change the entire dialogue tree for NPCs, that means two different players can hear completely different phrases spoken by the same NPCs. Yes we recorded over 20 hours of dialogues, and all that in three different languages, this is just mind-blowing.
As we are the original developers, we own the original source code and are replacing pieces after pieces parts of the original game with new elements and/or technologies. For now we have shown the new environments running, but keep in mind this is an iterative process as everything cannot be redone in a single pass, day one. We are tight on budget and cannot do this without the backers support. So I’d like to emphasize that in the end, backers will have an incredibly looking game, on par with today’s top notch productions.
Fresh3D has released some of the gameplay footage. It features the new environment, but is pre-alpha stage and is still using the old character assets.
The Outcast Reboot HD Kickstarter campaign has 4399 backers pledging for $213,827 of the $600,000 – at the time of writing. Deadline: May 7, 2014.