Arkedo co-founder aims to be a Nice Guy for indies in need

Along with a possible sequel to Hell Yeah!, Arkedo Co-founder Camille Guermonprez describes to IndieGames two small, Steam-exclusive projects and a new company he is forming to help essentially incubate indie projects.
Arkedo Studio may be best known for Big Bang Mini and its Arkedo Series, which first launched on Xbox Live Indie Games and later PlayStation Network. Arkedo's latest completed project, 2D platfomer Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, looks visually stunning and ready to take on PSN, XBLA, and Steam for PC later this year. However, as Arkedo exhibited its latest project on the PAX East floor this weekend, the plans after Hell Yeah! sound just as exciting. "We want to make another Hell Yeah!. We're having lots of fun doing it," Guermonprez says. Before diving into a sequel, he wants the team to relax a little bit, while working on a 7-8 month project that also acts as a competition for the nine people at his company. "Nine people are too much for a team," Guermonprez believes. "So we're gonna make [teams of] four and four, and they will fight against each other... one is going to make a game about 'pee' and one about 'poo.'" The games are going to be between 2-4 times the size of an Arkedo Series title (which were normally made under the conditions of a 1-month time limit with 2 people from the company). The games will only be made for one platform, which Guermonprez says will be Steam. The two concepts are still in the pen and paper stage. However, Guermonprez says that "usually we go to the prototyping very quickly." To provide a helpful environment and platform for such prototyping for other indie developers, Guermonprez is exploring the realm of publishing. "I'm starting some kind of publisher, enabler, or whatever to take some indie guys and pay them for making prototypes. I bought a house for that. They can come in, all together. We can make game jams. It's going to be quite awesome." Guermonprez revealed that the company will be called Nice Guys, and it should have a more visible presence in 3-6 months. There's virtually no web presence of the company now (save a few Tweets from Arkedo). He tells IndieGames that he already invested $250,000 in forming the company and securing office space, called the Nice House, on the Siene River near Paris. Nice Guys is also currently raising funds for the company. Nice Guys will let all developers keep their IP, he explained. "The money will be given when the people need it, not three months afterwards and we start to make a very bad contract." Guermonprez is also gathering a Nice Guys committee full of different experts from different fields. Pix'n Love developer Pastagames is also stepping in, allowing selected developers to use what it has worked on. "We are putting in all our tools, all the things that we have designed, all the things we have coded for the last ten years," Guermonprez shared. "It's going to be a 2D framework for people who immediately want to make games." It's not just for local developers, either. The first game involves two developers: one living in France and one in Japan. However, Guermonprez wasn't ready to reveal who these developers were, yet. "We are taking advantage of all the digital stuff, that people can do amazing stuff in their room, sharing their work. But at the same time, human contact is very important." When asked about restrictions as to who can apply, Guermonprez says there aren't any. "That's the definition of what Nice Guys is. It's not who you are; it's what you do. And when you are picked, everything is free." That includes expenses and accommodations for two-month, in-house prototyping, indie distribution assistance, or other help. "We are trying to remove the glass ceiling that sometimes exists in our industry, when very good people cannot go the extra mile." When asked what Guermonprez will look for in Nice Guys applicants, he compares it to looking at job applicants. It's not so much what school they attended, but what they've done in their free time. He wants to see if they have taken the time to work on a project with more than one person and learned from the challenges of team game building. After the Nice Guys committee forms, it will meet once a month to green-light the prototypes. Many details haven't been decided, such as profit distribution and investment recuperation, but Guermonprez insists it will be a "nice" arrangement. Ideally, he aims to "basically make the publisher we've been looking for for 10 years and haven't found."

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