How Home Free's Kickstarter reached 50% in under 24 hours

What's up with this dog game that's got people tossing money at it?

This is a game where you play as a stray dog. Not a dog with superpowers or a dog that knows kung fu. Just a dog.

And even so, Home Free has already raised over half of its $50,000 goal with over 1000 backers. So, what’s the deal with this game’s sudden popularity? It can’t just be adorable puppies, can it?

 Maybe a little. But as hard as it is to believe, there’s more human motivation than just cute dogs.


Kevin Cancienne has been in the game industry for over 15 years in one form or another. He currently works as an assistant professor for game design at NYU but has also developed games for Area/Code and THUP Games.

For nearly 5 years, Kevin served as Senior VP and Director of Game Development at NYC indie studio Area/Code, where he helped create games like Drop7, Parking Wars, and Sharkrunners.

More importantly, Cancienne has 10 Kickstarters under his belt and has been working on Home Free for two years. So, this isn’t just a Kickstarter full of empty promises; Cancienne has internet street cred.


In Home Free, you don’t just get to simulate being a stray dog. You also get to simulate being a dog in a dog park.

The "winner" of the game is the dog who had the most fun, and fun comes in many forms: chasing and being chased, wrestling with other dogs, playing king of the hill on a picnic table.

Play with three other people and just run around in circles or boop the other dogs for points. It’s play in its rawest form.

Procedurally-generated Cities

Probably the coolest thing about the game, at least as far as game mechanics go, is that each game released will take place in a different procedurally-generated city.

Every street, alleyway, building, nook and cranny was generated just for your game. No one has been here before, so you better start marking your territory.

The game doesn’t seem to have the feature to load up new cities like Minecraft. The stretch goals include a harbor area but don't say anything about customizability.

Kickstarter Rundown

Aside from the actual DRM-free version of the game, the Kickstarter is offering rewards like stickers and t-shirts. The $950 tier to include your dog as an in-game PC is already gone, but you can still insert yourself in the game as a human NPC for $450. But if you really have the money to spend, there is the $2,500 “Full digital best friend experience” tier where you can include both yourself and your dog in the game.

Home Free's Kickstarter is available for 28 more days until the morning of October 30th. After that, you’ll have to wait until at least November 2016 to get your hands on the finished game.

Featured Contributor

GS intern. Writer, blogger, aspiring millionaire. Parrot on shoulder at all times.

Games Home Free Genres AdventureIndie Platforms PCMac Tags kickstarter
Published Oct. 2nd 2015
  • Durinn McFurren
    Playable humans, now playable dogs... Where are the bunny games?
  • Clint Pereira
    Featured Contributor
    Unfortunately, bunnies have not received the same attention as dogs or cats. They're still in the anthropomorphic transitional stage, what I like to call "petsploitation games" (...or at least I will start calling them that from now on).

    A classic rabbit protagonist example is Max from Sam and Max or Peppy O'Hare from the Star Fox series. You should also check out the Early Access for Overgrowth. In the Wikipedia for "fictional list of rabbits and hares," you can find a full list under the "video games" section.

    Keep up the good fight, my leporine friend!
  • kate.farrow
    Community Manager
    Dogs are super underrepresented in video games. More main character playable dogs! We need more strong, independent dogs who don't need no (hu)man!

    All joking aside, though...this looks like a fun game. Hopefully it's something that holds interest longer than Goat Simulator.

    I wonder what it'd take to make a AAA game with playable dogs...
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    Call of Duty: Ghosts had a playable Dog... it was the only half decent part of the game. ;)
  • kate.farrow
    Community Manager
    Call of Duty: The One With the Dog
  • Clint Pereira
    Featured Contributor
    I feel like we're on the cusp of some great video game dog Renaissance.

    First, we needed pioneers like COD dog and Fallout's Dogmeat. Then we need indie games giving dogs the attention they deserve like with Tokyo Jungle and now Home Free.

    As long as we keep pressing for dog representation in games, their time will come.
  • kate.farrow
    Community Manager
    #equalityfordogs #videogamedogs
  • kate.farrow
    Community Manager
    Okami was kinda like playing with a dog. Except it was a Shinto (I think) sun goddess reincarnated as a wolf.
  • Clint Pereira
    Featured Contributor
    Yes. You played as Amaterasu. In Twilight Princess, too, you get to play as a wolf. I forgot about those since you're not technically an animal in either of those games. But they definitely count from a gameplay perspective.

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