I spoke with Jordan Weisman, CEO of Harebrained Schemes, about their Golem Arcana Kickstarter. The Kickstarter is in the home stretch, with $367,732 of its $500,00 goal with just four days to go. The Kickstarter concludes on October 15.
Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your Kickstarter.
Jordan Weisman (JW): The ultimate goal with Golem Arcana is to create the world’s first Massively Multiplayer Tabletop Game in which every game played on a kitchen table impacts the ongoing story of the Golem Arcana world. To do this we have created a digitally enhanced miniatures board game which uses a proprietary Bluetooth stylus to seamlessly connect your smartphone or tablet to the game’s miniature figures and board.
MT: Tell us about your gaming background.
JW: I have been designing and publishing tabletop and computer games for over 30 years. Some of my previous games are: BattleTech, Shadowrun, HeroClix,, Crimson Skies, and of course MechWarrior.
MT: Tell us about your company.
JW: Harebrained Schemes was founded in 2011 and has produced award winning games for PC, Mac, iOS and Android. The 35 person studio is a mixture of seasoned videogame veterans and young talent.
MT: Have you Kickstarted any other products in the past?
JW: Last year we asked the Kickstarter audience for $300k to produce a computer RPG of Shadowrun, a pen-and-paper RPG that I had created 25 years ago. The Backers provided those funds in 28 hours and went on to fund the game for a total of $1.8m. This July Shadowrn Returns became the first, and at this point only, multi-million dollar crowdfunded computer game to have shipped – it is now available for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
MT: How has Kickstarter changed or influenced your business model?
JW: Yes it has allowed us to create games that we would have otherwise not have had the opportunity to do because they are too large of projects for us to self fund.
MT: Why should backers contribute to your Kickstarter? What sets it apart?
JW: Well, first, Golem Arcana is a really fun miniatures game! But the bigger picture is that we believe that it's the future of tabletop gaming. Golem Arcana bridges the gap between tabletop and digital gaming with our TDI (Tabletop Digital Interface) stylus platform. This is our attempt to seamlessly deliver compelling videogame features like accessibility, information-on-demand, save game and long-term persistence of experience without undermining the essence of tabletop gaming - that unique face-to-face social interaction and fun of friends at the same table playing and laughing together.
MT: How do you feel about the state of the gaming industry today?
JW: Overall it a very vibrant environment. The open access to digital distribution is great, but of course discovery within those very crowded marketplaces is a real challenge. Its likely the best its ever been for independent developers because of the access to distribution and crowdfunding, that said – its still a tough business.
MT: What's next for your company?
JW: We are working on a major expansion for Shadowrun Returns which will release in January 2014 and of course working on Golem Arcana.
MT: What conventions will you be at next?
JW: I will be attending the Essen Game Fair in Germany at the end of this month and then we will be at all the major US gaming shows next summer.
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
JW: www.harebrained-schemes.com, https://www.facebook.com/HarebrainedSchemes , https://twitter.com/WeBeHarebrained, and of course the Golem Arcana Kickstarter at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613260297/golem-arcana?ref=live
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