Jagged Alliance Flashback:" We'll continue to fight until the very last second" - Interview
The Kickstarter campaign of Jagged Alliance Flashback is in danger: 60 hours to go and there are still missing 80.000 USD. But developer Full Control won't give up until the very last second. In an interview with PC Games Hardware, CEO Thomas Lund talks about the campaign.
PCGH: First of all: Congrats for winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Well deserved!
Thomas: Thanks! Although I must say that the music style is far away from my own :-) I was sitting in the couch with the family with my laptop, so that I could help my community guy Andreas with answering questions and preparing updates, doing interviews etc. Our families have been super supportive fortunately.
PCGH: 60 hours days left on the clock and there are still 80.000 US-D missing on Kickstarter - Will Jagged Alliance Flashback happen or not, what's your personal opinion?
Thomas: I have no clue. I hope it happens. That's all I can say. And that we'll continue to fight until the very last second. I mean, Kickstarter is nearly unpredictable. We have seen so many weird things happening on this platform already, it'd be insolent to think someone can say anything for sure.
Thomas: Hard to say. It was quite a hard way to convince people that we don't plan to go the route Back in Action has taken. I think we managed that somehow during the campaign. What I think is that it surely didn't help that much. Over all these years the Jagged Alliance community had to deal with several letdowns and troubles in terms of games. So it's quite understandable that those who already suffered from the pain don't want to suffer again and therefore are very skeptical. I can fully understand that but it makes me also sad at the very same time.
PCGH: From the beginning you state frankly that 350K is just the bare minimum and that the game will be smaller than it might be. Now as it seems that the campaign is in danger: Would you vote for forthrightness again regarding the "size of the game" if you have the choice even if that possibly hurts the number of backers you get?
Thomas: Yes. Lying to people isn't something which I prefer. There are just a few rules which I follow. The first one is working hard and with fun. The second one is being honest. However I would change the way of communicating it if I did it a second time. When we said "this is just the bare minimum for the core parts of the game" many people got it wrong, which of course is a communication problem from our side. People understood that they'd get something like 5 hours of gameplay with a reduced feature-set, which just isn't the case in any way. I don't know yet how long it will take to play through the game, but I guess it's somewhere around 20 hours or more (pretty hard to predict due to the fact that we're in pre-production). Plus people will be able to just skip the whole story part and do the same like in Jagged Alliance 2: Farm the country and just make it your own game without finishing the story. And in regards of features: Sure, we're going to adjust some things here and there but we'd like to keep it the Jagged Alliance 2 way in most cases just because it's better to not re-invent the wheel while yours is running perfectly well. Who needs a quadrangular wheel? No one. So basically in the 350.000$ were the most important features included but we communicated that a bit... weird. Everything above that would just have led to a more advanced feature-set (and more content of course).
PCGH: You said in one of your latest updates that there won't be a second try on Kickstarter. That implies for me that you think that the campaign was executed perfectly and there's no room for improvement. Right or wrong? If wrong: In which area could the campaign worked out better?
Thomas: Oh I think we didn't do everything right. If I thought so or said so, I'd be dumb. We should have been around in all those community forums much earlier, that's a thing I'd change. And the communication of some things I'd also change - a much more clear "We are taking JA2 as you know it with a new story" had been much better to say. Plus I'd release the team-video much earlier and go into more detail regarding some parts of the gameplay earlier, too. The reason why we can't and won't go for a second Kickstarter is much simpler. This costs quite some money. Since I'm responsible for a lot of people (by the way: They have usually no problems with crunching, but I actually want to avoid such things) I don't want to put them through that stress all over again. I just can't do that. And in terms of money I have to decide carefully how to not ruin the whole company. And the amount of money and time (which in the end is money) can indeed break necks if you are not prepared or risk too much.
PCGH: Although games from different genres achieved well over 1 million US-D, strategy games on Kickstarter normally end well under 300k (exception: Banner Saga). Do you think the market for strategy games is not big enough on Kickstarter?
Thomas: Don't know about strategy games, I see Jagged Alliance more as a RPG / Tactical game - hehe. Nah, honestly I don't think so. If the right game comes around the corner, people go crazy. Can be pretty much everything I'd say. Even a game about a pony maybe. Oh well. Okay. That might not work. But you know what I mean: If the timing is right, the names behind a project are the ones people want to read, then you'll somehow make it.
PCGH: Could you summarize in a few sentences for all the German Jagged Alliance fans why Flashback will be a noteworthy game in the franchise and why this game should be realized?
Thomas: Jagged Alliance Flashback will return to the roots of the series. We don't want to change the main formula which made Jagged Alliance great and it may be the last chance to see a classic Jagged game ever. We may not have the biggest names on board, we may not be the most known developers around. But we love turn based games. We love gunporn. We love cheesy humor. And the most important: We love Jagged Alliance. And it's community. And so far, even the Bear's Pit, the most dedicated Jagged Alliance community ever, trusts us, then please consider trusting us, too. So why will Flashback be noteworthy? Because it will bring back Jagged Alliance in a way it deserves to be brought back.
PCGH: Thanks a lot for the interview! Check out the Kickstarter campaign of Jagged Alliance Flashback!