How Home Free's Kickstarter reached 50% in under 24 hours
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.
It's like you're all that dog, and this Kickstarter is the ice cream. I'm the guy maybe? Or maybe I'm the cone. pic.twitter.com/n9hyCVUcBg
— Kevin Cancienne (@potatojin) October 1, 2015
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.
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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.
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.
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.