Kickin’ it with Daniel Crenna – River City Ransom: Underground
Do you remember River City Ransom? It was one of the most fun NES games released back in the day, and now it is getting a sequel! Read on to learn about this project.
4cr: Welcome to Kickin’ It With Daniel! Can you tells us a bit about Conatus Creative and what your role is at the company?
Conatus Creative is my company. I’ve run it for awhile, and we’ve done a lot of web and mobile work. My heart has always been in game development, since my uncle taught my brother and I how to code. I was six. So there’s always been a game project going on in the background, for the the joy of it, but this is the first time my company has put together a team to develop a title.
4cr: You’ve turned to Kickstarter for funds to develop the newly revealed River City Ransom: Underground, an official sequel to River City Ransom. Why did you settle on a main goal of $180,000 CAD?
It may look high compared to other “indie” games, but we had to factor in the cost of license royalties on top of everything else. We already own the license, but we still have to pay royalties on the revenue we make, and this budget is also to help key team members work on the game full time, and cover other costs like contracts for the OST and cover art, printing and mailing shirts and posters, localization (which is not just text replacement, for our Japanese version), a short burst of testing support before our beta, and the rest is Kickstarter and credit card transaction fees.
4cr: What are some of the rewards that people can get for backing River City Ransom: Underground?
Right now we’re trying to make it fun with digital rewards like the soundtrack (with a weapon skin of a CD you can use in the game), getting your name in the game as a gang member, naming a building after you, or even designing your own shop or being put in the game as a boss. Those are the more exotic rewards, but you can still grab a copy of the game, extra copies for your friends to play, and a sweet River City High T-shirt or cover art poster, both in English or Japanese.
4cr: So far the game is being considered for a main release on Windows, and there is a stretch goal for a PS4 and Vita port for the game. Have you thought about the Wii U as a potential platform for River City Ransom: Underground since the original WAS release on the NES?
We get this question a lot, and we’re sorry that we caused confusion with the stretch goal. We’re definitely talking to Nintendo. And XBOX.
The fact is that new platforms mean new license negotiation, so even if the development path to other platforms is fairly easy (Mac and Linux for example), we can’t just have them for day one without a lot of planning and there is an additional cost there. However, we’ve always maintained that if Windows does well, we’ll keep porting to as many platforms as possible. We would love to see this game on Nintendo, where it belongs. Backing the game means, getting it made, and we’ll take it from there to get it on your platform. We may have misjudged how stretch goals are seen as the definitive list of platforms, and announcing PS4 in a way singles out the others as not being on the radar, but that’s not how it is.
4cr: How many people will eventually be working on River City Ransom: Underground once it is funded?
We have four core team members, plus Yoshihisa Kishimoto, Rich Vreeland, Ryoma Machida, and Greg Winters. Plus one more not revealed yet, so that’s nine people in total. And that’s not including additional support staff, QA, or anyone else we bring on after the fact.
4cr: You’ve managed to secure the participation of Yoshihisa Kishimoto for this new project. How did this happen, and what will his role be for this sequel?
Yoshihisa has worked with Million for a long time, so once we had the license, we asked for an introduction. Yoshihisa will be working as a creative consultant, so he’ll help steer all of our decisions in a direction that will make the game better for both the “canon” and true fans. This includes story and art feedback, mainly, but we’re really interested in his opinions when we get to the play-testing stage.
4cr: Would you like to say anything else before our time is up?
We’re thrilled with our backer community so far, they have really helped us both with constructive criticism and new ideas to get the campaign out there. We really are an indie company, so we needed Kickstarter to get this game made, vs. a team that puts their nearly finished game on Kickstarter for pre-sale purposes.
This is the way the industry is going with respect to Kickstarter games, but we hope there is still room on the system for true bootstraps like us. If every one of our backers convinced a friend to pledge, we’d be nearly there. Thanks everyone, we love you!
We want to thank Daniel for doing this interview, and we wish him and everyone at Conatus Creative the best of luck with getting River City Ransom: Underground funded!