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NerdRage Studios discuss the choice behind using crowdfunding sources to fund Xenosis: Alien Infection:

After experiencing a brief demo of Xenosis: Alien Infection at EGX Rezzed, I had the opportunity to interview James Stone, the lead game designer on Xenosis: Alien Infection. The interview includes discussions on game development and crowdsourcing.

Liam Waddington, Blogger

May 2, 2019

5 Min Read

Nothing speaks to the independent game development scene than crowdfunding. Using websites such as Kickstarter, Patreon, or FIG campaigns to fund their dream projects is now a staple in the video game industry.

Therefore, after experiencing and enjoying a brief hands-on demo of Xenosis: Alien Infection at EGX Rezzed, I had the opportunity to interview James Stone, the lead game designer on Xenosis: Alien Infection. The interview includes discussions on the development behind the game and using crowdfunding for development.

Xenosis: Alien Infection is a top down perspective retro survival horror game currently in development at NerdRage Studios. The game is heavily influenced by Alien Breed, System Shock and Dead Space.

Xenosis: Alien Infection takes place on the Carpathian, an Interstellar Starship, that was destroyed 50 years beforehand. In the game, you play as a salvage hunter, who has discovered the remains of the Carpathian adrift in space. As you dock the vessel, you uncover there is no breathable air, no crew to be found, but a harrowing transmission with a warning that you are not alone and an unidentified toxin has consumed the wreckage.

Here, lead designer James Stone answers questions you should consider before starting your own crowd sourcing campaign.

Can you give me more details about the game and the crew behind it?

The game is a top down perspective 2D retro horror / survival game. Its inspired by games such as Alien Breed, System Shock and Dead Space.

The game is about you, a salvage hunter, finding a Starship in deep space that was thought to have disappeared many years ago. You see this as an easy pay day and aboard the vessel to strip it for salvage. However, as you dock, it’s clear that someone else is on board the ship and locks you in… you are now trapped, and must find a way back to your ship to escape.

The game features crafting, stealth, survival and combat mechanics, on top of a deep and rich story line. Its single player and was made initially by me alone, but now I have a team of 4 working with me to assist on art, writing and music.

How did you first begin fundraising, and at what point did you decide FIG was going to be the method for your funding?

I was originally working on a Kickstarter, but I quickly realised I had no experience in running them, or making them successful, so I partnered with Fig because their team is there to help you along the way.

Plus, as a platform, I felt that it could support our game better, rather than just a generic crowdfunding platform. As they curate content and only run 1 campaign at a time, I felt it raised the credibility of the game to be on the platform alongside some big titles. We had no idea it would be so successful though, and it was funded in under two days!

What motivated or inspired you to do this?

I think it was less about motivation or inspiration to create a campaign, and more necessity. I can’t make games without money, so we needed to turn to someone for support, and we decided that getting that support from the community rather than the bank was a better alternative.

Can you talk about your campaign plan? Were there highs and lows? What was most effective?

To be honest, our campaign plan was to release content over the duration of the pre-launch phase, which we did, and then have some more detailed content for the campaign, but as I mentioned, it was funded in less than 48 hours, so all that went out of the window! I can say that posting development updates and talking about how we approached designing systems seemed to resonate really well amongst the backers.

Tell us about the social media component of your campaign. What kind of content did you create?

It’s the age-old scenario that indie studios need to be doing more on social media, but often leave it behind as we are too busy making the games to talk about them, and that was true in our case. I need to be way better at using twitter, reddit etc. but it’s just not something I do actively enough

How did you keep people engaged from beginning to end?

Just regular updates, videos etc Basically as we were coding things, I was talking about them, that and any major design decisions, such as AI, level design etc.

Did you find posting updates to be helpful? How did you use them?

As a personal motivation tool, it can be really helpful for sure, but I am not sure if our game is too niche for updates to be enough to build and active and engaged community these days

What might you do differently if you launched all over again?

Not sure really, aim a little higher I think, as I drastically underestimated the level of interest… we could have punched way higher in hindsight

Did showcasing the game at EGX have a positive impact?

We are not released, so I am not sure what financial impact it would have, but it raised the profile hugely, helped build relationships with Microsoft and got us in front of publishers and press, so a big yes on the business front. It’s also great for QA.

When can we see the game?

It will be out some time next year, but there is plenty of info on our official website.

Thank you, James for this interview.

If you are interested in following the development on Xenosis, you can check out the FIG campaign and even though, they have met the stretch goals for their campaign you can still pledge if you want to support the game. NerdRage Studios aim to release the game on Steam (PC, Mac, Linux), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2020.

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