It came down to the wire, but The Good Life has passed its Kickstarter funding goal, ensuring that the game will get made and that developer White Owls is able to retain creative control over the project.
Until yesterday, things weren’t looking great for Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s new game; with just 72 hours left on The Good Life‘s Kickstarter campaign, it was still a few hundred thousand dollars away from its goal. But with a final push by Swery, other game creators like Koji Igarashi, and the fans that the game’s already found, the campaign met its 68 million yen goal overnight. This is fantastic news, because The Good Life is shaping up to be a unique, enchanting experience. Having played the (very early) prototype that the developers released a couple of weeks ago, I can say that the atmosphere in the game’s rendition of a quiet British town is captivating, and the first taste of the photography mechanics—which will seemingly play a large role in the game—hint at something that’ll be a lot of fun to explore when it’s feature complete.
(If you’re curious, you can watch commentary-free footage of my playthrough below, or try the demo out for yourself!)
Shortly before hitting the initial goal, White Owls also added a stretch goal: if the campaign total can reach 88 million yen, they’ll be able to produce a Switch version of the The Good Life. According to Swery, this is the number one request he hears from fans, and it definitely seems like the a game that’d be a perfect fit for Nintendo’s newest handheld.
“We really, really want to make a Switch version. Any game developer these days is excited about this console. I would love to see fans playing The Good Life on the go, on the train,” wrote Swery in a Kickstarter update when the stretch goal was added. “However, I also want to make The Good Life, and for this, we need to be very careful with our budget, and have a clear focus. If we miss the Stretch Goal, I will work very hard to find an alternative way to get the Nintendo Switch version to happen, but we are not making it a promise to you.”
If the Switch goal isn’t reached, any extra funds will go towards adding additional content to the game, like extra missions, outfits, and so on.
The Good Life was never planned to be funded solely by Kickstarter, and White Owls already have some investor partners on board to help produce the game. However, the Kickstarter success means that the developer will be able to retain IP rights and creative control in a way that they wouldn’t if the game was funded purely through a publisher. It also puts White Owls in a much better position for negotiating any other development partnerships, because there’s a proven interest in the game as originally envisioned.
As explained in the Kickstarter campaign’s details: “In Japan, copyrights always belong to the investors, which includes not only the profits from those rights, but also the rights to create continuations using the same IPs. That’s why we want to take the awesome concept behind The Good Life and use our skill to build it on equal footing with our investors.”
Swery has said plenty of times before that The Good Life is his dream project. Now that it’s met its Kickstarter goal, it’ll be a dream come true—for him, for everyone at White Owls, and for all the rest of us who can’t wait to play the game next year.