Despite the buzz, the fans, and the media interest, not every indie game that takes to crowdfunding gets the traction it needs to break funding records in nanoseconds—or to even get funding at all, such as the indie darling Over the Hills and Far Away. They can’t all be Crowfall, can they?
The War of 1812 Told as a Visual Novel
Over the Hills and Far Away is a visual novel, and the brainchild of War Girl Games—a U.K.-based development house led by a mystery-cloaked lead developer, coder, and artist that goes by the moniker “DesertFox.”
The game’s concept began as a short story penned over the course of a few weeks, and it turned into a glimpse into the world of the War of 1812. The game centers around William Aubrey, a disgraced redcoat who has deserted his regiment and is on the run. In the midst of a rainstorm, Aubrey hides in a barn and encounters Mai, a Shawnee girl who has been separated from her family because of the war.
Through the course of the game, players interact (as Aubrey) with the novel’s world and the two main characters forge a bond that begs the question: will their friendship and the small moment of peace they’ve found outlast the rain? Or will everything dissolve when both must return to the chaos and strife outside?
Game Moves on Despite Crowdfunding Disappointment
The concept garnered the attention of fans and players, which helped push Over The Hills And Far Away through Steam’s Greenlight process—grabbing enough votes to earn a spot on Steam’s upcoming releases calendar.
But for the War Girl Games team, who sought 6,000 British pounds (roughly $9,400 U.S. dollars) in their Kickstarter campaign, all the buzz wasn’t enough. The project and the game failed to reach the funding goal, missing the target by more than 50 percent at the May 1st deadline.
“It was a great disappointment that the Kickstarter didn’t succeed, considering how far along the artwork and music were in development. I suppose it stood out less than other campaigns, or simply failed to broadcast loudly enough across the web. I’m afraid it’s just the way it goes,” DesertFox was quoted as saying. “You have to be prepared to fail with these sorts of things, and it means I’ve had to seek out alternate avenues for getting this project put together. A consequence of the campaign is that Over The Hills And Far Away now has some more awareness among fans of visual novels, and a small and loyal audience base.”
Most would-be projects end there. But not so for the story of Aubrey and Mai and the fans who stuck with War Girl Games despite the crowdfunding disappointment.
Though he was unable to share specifics at this point, the developer confirmed that the game is moving forward, and fans can expect to get their hands on it soon—potentially as early as this summer. A sort of phoenix rising out of the funding ashes, if you will.
“I can confirm Over The Hills And Far Away has secured its budget through other means and arrangements, and the game will be produced in full as originally intended,” DesertFox said. “The game will be produced over the next three months and the aim is for a release on Steam this summer.”
The War Girl Games team, who was behind the 2014 successful Kickstarter campaign for another visual novel game called My Little Dictator, knows how to stay in touch with its fan base. War Girl Games’ Twitter and Facebook accounts are active with frequent status updates and glimpses into game and art development for Over The Hills And Far Away and other projects, a fact that DesertFox has said in previous interviews is important—perhaps one of the reasons fans stay with the creators through thick and (the occasional) thin.