Nardio Kickstarter Support
While looking for new talent to support on Kickstarter I came across a gem: Soul Saga. Soul Saga is a love letter to the JRPG genre and all the fans who love it. Soul Saga and the story behind it moved me so much that I just couldn’t wait to play it. So I put my money up and supported Soul Saga. I honestly and firmly believe all of you should as well. Created by Mike Gale, Soul Saga is the culmination of his life’s dream. Seriously, go here and read the story behind it. I dare you not to be moved and in awe of his determination and hard work.
Just a few days after launching his Kickstarter he is almost halfway funded as I write this. To anyone who checked out his Kickstarter and read his blog it makes total sense that it would. This game screams passion. Mike’s words ring true to all the fans who also grew up playing JRPGs and want something fresh and want to believe in a dream. Today we believe in Mike Gale’s dream. Please help me in supporting his work, his talent, and his dream. Please fund Soul Saga on Kickstarter and get to know the man behind it a little better below.
What inspired you to jump into the gaming industry?
I’ve always had an unyielding passion for Japanese RPGs since I was in elementary school. I kept trying to ignore the call to work on them, but I kept getting sucked back into writing stories and making game mods.
How was Disastercake formed?
Disastercake is basically just me, but I had a plan to contract out artists from around the world and manage the project so that I could get a high quality product done in an economical way. For years I started to build up a contact list of potential artists, and with the little money I had I started to order art assets.
What is the inspiration behind the company name?
I wanted something fresh and unique. I also didn’t want it to seem like a “business”. I wanted it to seem more like an internet handle. So I stringed together some contrasting words and eventually came up with Disastercake.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the gaming industry?
I recommend getting at least a 4 year degree at a general college. Any degree; just get one. Even if it’s for something obscure like nutritional science, you need one in this industry to get a job at a company. Learn game development by yourself on the side. The Unity Game Engine has made it really easy to break into game development and you no longer have to be a rocket scientist to make games. If you’re an artist, pick an art style you like and practice it. Get critiques and never stop drawing. If you’re a programmer, pick up unity and learn it through all of the free online tutorials available.
Explain to us how you learned about game design?
I’d say that’s a self taught skill. I’ve always been interested in how games function and what makes them fun. I really think that this skill can really only be self taught; no one else can teach you how to make fun games while being creative.
How do you feel about the recent popularity and proliferation of schools for game development?
I think people should avoid most of them. I hear the local Digipen school is good, but there are a lot of artists coming out of there who can’t find jobs. The programmers seem to be getting jobs well though. I really think that’s it’s best to go to a general university instead, and teach yourself game development through online resources.
What inspires you while making Soul Saga?
Fans! Getting positive comments on Facebook and twitter really inspires me as I push forward. What I love about this Kickstarter campaign is that I’m not just making a game for myself anymore. I’m making it for everyone who is backing the project. I can’t wait to give them a beta and get their feedback so I can make sure this is a game we all love.
What are some of the most challenging parts of making Soul Saga?
Funding the artwork. If I had the complete budget in hand, it would be so easy for me to use the project management skills I have gained to finish the project quick and efficiently. But with a limited budget, there are long dry spells where I can’t do anything because I program faster than I can get art.
I am sure Soul Saga is definitely going to meet its original Kickstarter goal. Have you started thinking about what to do for stretch goals?
I have! I am going to be talking soon about the 3 storylines in Soul Saga. Mithos is only one of those storylines. If we reach the right stretch goal, it will unlock the others. I also would like to enhance the environmental art to be more customized towards Soul Saga, unlock the Airship, Guild creation, etc.
The amount of polish I see in Soul Saga blows my mind when I learned that you are managing this for the most part alone. Please tell me you are writing some sort of project management book to accompany this project. How is your business school education helping you create Soul Saga?
Thank you! I would like to create some sort of resource for other aspiring developers. Things like where you can cut corners to focus your budget on more important aspects, how to manage remotely, and the type of personalities you should look for in teammates.
Have you thought about pitching Soul Saga to Microsoft? Have you thought about getting Soul Saga on any consoles?
I have definitely never considered pitching Soul Saga to anyone. I’ve had several publishers approach me with interest, but I’ve never considered taking any of the offers. Getting a bigger budget is not worth losing your vision.
Almost fourteen thousand dollars raised in just three days is pretty mind blowing and definitely encouraging. How does it feel to know so many people are so eager to play your game?
It really is! And now it’s already up to almost $25,000 at day 4! The amount of support that everyone is showing for Soul Saga is very flattering. I am absolutely honored to know so many people want to experience the epic story I have lined up for them. I promise not to let them down.
How do you feel about the digital distribution stores such as Steam and iOS App Store?
I think they’re a great way to reach a broad audience. I think Soul Saga would sell like hotcakes on steam if it could get on. But to get on Steam Soul Saga needs tens of thousands of votes! So if you have a steam account, please vote for Soul Saga at http://steamcommunity.com/
How do you feel about in-app purchases & Freemium gaming?
I definitely won’t be doing them with Soul Saga. I want everyone to enjoy the game and story and not feel pressured to spend more money.
Any thoughts on the evolution of tablet/ phone gaming and its effects on the larger game industry?
It’s still a pretty new market, so it’s hard to analyze. I don’t think it’s actually putting a dent on the larger gaming industry, but it’ just filling a niche no one used to know existed.
What are your thoughts on the next gen consoles and what they mean for the gaming and media entertainment as a whole? Which one are you most excited about? What are your concerns?
I think times are starting to change to be more internet based. Microsoft was trying to do what Steam does for the Xbox One, though we all know how well consumers took that news. It’s hard to say what will happen next with all of this, but I am interested in how Playstation and WiiU are opening their doors to self publishing indies now. I would say I’m most excited for Playstation 4, but I also skipped the Playstation 3. I’d really like to get my hands on Kingdom Hearts. I want WiiU to be awesome, but I really have to see what games come out for it. I’m not too happy about how there is no backwards compatibility with the consoles. I would want to play the new Ni No Kuni on the PS4, but apparently that’s not possible since it’s a PS3 game.
What was the first console game you can remember playing that just wowed you? Have any games recently blown your mind?
I would say the one that absolutely blew my mind was Final Fantasy 7. I was entranced with games before that like Final Fantasy 3, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana, but when I got a Playstation 1 and Final Fantasy 7, it was like my whole world changed.
If you met someone at a party who never played a JRPG before and was willing to devote the time to play them, what are the three games you would recommend they start off with?
I would most likely offer them modern titles, since they may be turned off by the classic graphics if they are new to them. If they could palette the classics I would say Final Fantasy 10, Final Fantasy 7, and Breath of Fire 3. If they wanted modern games I would recommend Ni No Kuni, Persona 4, and Final Fantasy 13.
Since you have been spending so many years working on Soul Saga how hard has it been to keep true to your vision? Do you find yourself constantly trying to incorporate new ideas into the game?
The longer I work on it, the more I see myself making changes. A lot of changes I kept making were purely based on my diminishing budget, and finding ways to fit an interesting title within that. That is another reason having the whole budget upfront helps, because you can actually plan accordingly for what you have and get it done doing that.
Are you a mobile gamer and if so what apps do you enjoy playing?
I own an iPhone and I play some random anime themed tower defense games. I also downloaded some of the remakes of Final Fantasy classics. Oh, and Phoenix Wright! That game was great.
What do you do for fun to de-stress from Soul Saga and everything else?
I like to watch anime like Fairy Tail, One Piece, and Full Metal Alchemist. I also watch a lot of “Let’s Play!” series on YouTube. I like to watch others play video games, especially classics. Before the Kickstarter I just got done watching a play through of Final Fantasy 8.
What video game companies do you look to as an example?
Squaresoft and Capcom are my 2 top favorite Japanese companies. In America I respect Blizzard and Bungie quite a bit. There’s also a countless amount of indie games that I absolutely adore.
What are some of your favorite snacks to eat when making Soul Saga?
I started to eat healthy and exercise about 2 years ago and lost 60 pounds. So the type of snacks I eat are vegetables and turkey.
What gadgets can’t you live without?
I’d say my smart phone and my USB Xbox controller for using a controller on the PC.
What is your favorite advice you have been given?
A long time ago I told my mom I didn’t want to go to college because “it takes 4 freaking years!” Way too long. And she told me “Those 4 years are going to come whether you like it or not, so you might as well make the most of them.” It took me a couple years of regretting not doing stuff to realize she was right, so I started to take action. in my life
So you have an awesome website that really gives and in depth look into the process of making Soul Saga, any posts that you are particularly fond of?
I think there’s a couple big updates on there that cover quite a large topic. I wish I had more resources for developers, but I’ve been really busy chugging away on Soul Saga.
What are your thoughts on the Kickstarter process so far?
I think it’s an interesting process. It’s a very democratic way for consumers to decide whether a product should be allowed life. It’s scary and embarrassing to not only show your work out to the world, but ask people to help financially support it. And this is much different than going to a publisher. Your Kickstarter is there for the whole world to see, and shall forever remained engraved on the site even after it’s finished. One thing I wish Kickstarter did differently is use a shopping cart system instead of a tier system. Even if I wanted restrictions on which goods people could buy, they could still have a slick interface for the shopping cart requirements. It would make the Add-On pledges easier to manage, but I’m getting by so far with extra elbow grease and keeping track in a Google Spreadsheet.