Massively: How fluid are your Kickstarter tiers at this point? Does the community response to the various gaming press reveals firm up your plans at all in this regard, and can we expect to see a definitive list maybe on the game's official site in the near future?
Mark Jacobs: The tiers are still pretty fluid. I've already gotten some good feedback from people here on Massively, and I'm making some additional adjustments today. Over the next 48 hours, I intend to lock them down and am aiming to post a definitive list on our site on Wednesday.
Are you concerned that Kickstarter or crowdfunding in general takes some of the focus away from actual game design and places it on monetization?
No, not really. If we were trying to do this post-funding, it would be more of a concern, but at this point, it is really just us being aggressive in thanking our backers. My hope is that if/when developers deliver on their games, other studios will then be able to use crowdfunding to make games they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
Crowdfunding positives have been well-documented in recent months thanks to some of the successful projects and high-profile developers using the model. Can you talk about any downsides to the model from a content producer's standpoint?
Well, I think the biggest downside for us is that if we fund, we'll have 20K+ backers to make happy instead of one publisher. Another problem will be keeping the lines of communication open and the information flowing freely between our team and all those backers. There is, of course, the risk that comes along with disappointing all those people instead of one publisher.
In the bigger picture, the biggest downside is that if any of these high-profile crowdfunded games tank badly, it may have a chilling effect on the whole process.
There's a little bit of an undercurrent of resentment towards Kickstarter from both indie devs and certain player groups who feel like big-name devs are appropriating the platform when they don't really need to. How would you respond to that or allay those sorts of fears?
It's a valid concern, but from what I've seen to date, lots of small games have had or are having successful Kickstarters, and more than a few big-name developers' projects haven't funded. Then there are initiatives like Brian Fargo's Kicking It Forward where successful developers commit to using a share of their profits to help other projects. I also think that if it had not been for the success of the high-profile efforts of the Ouya folks, Obsidian, Brian, etc., fewer people would have been checking out Kickstarter at all. Honestly, I wish it would have been around when we started Mythic; it would have made our lives so much easier.
How is Camelot Unchained's actual development proceeding apart from the funding aspects? Or is it proceeding at this point? Do you have any sort of rough estimate for when we might see some early screens or footage?
Right now, we are focused on getting the funding for CU while doing a lot of concept art and early modeling on some of the realms. Andrew has also been working on a side-project that ties into the game, and that we hope to show during the Kickstarter. It's not a demo but it's pretty cool.
Are there higher level tiers as in other Kickstarter projects? Trips to the studio, naming structures, instant death-spells for the other realms?
LOL of course! It wouldn't be a game-based Kickstarter without some crazy tiers. For our craziest,the ever-popular 10K, we have the usual visit the studio to hang out with us, but then I added something really special "...you get to say the magical words "DEKCUS AOT" and then throw your choice of tasty fruit pies at Mark Jacobs during your visit (recorded for posterity of course and posted on YouTube). As to instant-death spells, sorry, not in this Kickstarter.
Anything at the other end for people what want to show their support but are on tight budgets?
Absolutely! We haven't shown them among our examples, but we will have tiers that come with a digital copy of the game starting at $25 dollars and increasing from there. We definitely do not want to limit backing CU to those that choose to put down $100 or more.
One of our Massively readers asked if you would allow people to upgrade their tiers after the Kickstarter closes? You seemed to think that it was a good idea but is this even possible?
It's a great idea that frankly, we hadn't really considered because of logistical issues. Unfortunately, while people can choose to change their tiers during the process, there is no way to do so after the close via Kickstarter. It's something we will look into, but I can't promise we'll be set up to do it, especially as it would mean some people could potentially upgrade to a closed tier.
Another reader asked about the possible inclusion of B2P/F2P items such as the use of XP boosts, limited time powerful items and other such goodies. Do you see these as being items that the players will be able to buy through their Founder's Points?
While those types have indeed been a staple of both B2P and F2P games, I don't want such items in Camelot Unchained. While their duration might be limited, a sword that gives a new player an in-game advantage over another in combat is a non-starter for me. In terms of XP boosts, while nobody is really hurt if you level a little faster, I just don't want to see those types of items in our game, even if we could make some additional money by including them.
Thanks for your time!
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!