Origins of Malu is a project that has been in the works for several years now and is close to getting out the door. To get there, a new KickStarter campaign has launched to hire the needed personnel to cross the finish line. We chatted with Michael Dunham, CEO of Burning Dog Media to find out more about the program.
In many ways, Origins of Malu is the ultimate independent project that has been largely created by a volunteer team from around the world over the past four years. So much has been created as a result of the team's hard work but there are specialized positions that need to be filled including back-end programmers and other coding specialists. In order to do so, a new KickStarter campaign has been implemented to bring home $60,000 Canadian to hire the needed personnel. The contracted candidates are lined up pending the successful campaign.
Backers of the new KickStarter campaign will have access to the alpha within a few weeks after funding is secured. Michael feels that this is a crucial point for potential investors: They will see the results of their investment almost immediately.
"I don't want to take people's money at all until we have something solid they're going to get. We haven't taken anything from anyone at any time. We even put out a demo at our own expense." he said. "We will get this out if it kills us."
In fact, Michael feels that the nearly instantaneous access to the alpha after the KickStarter is what sets Origins apart from all others: The game is nearly finished.
Burning Dog has remained outside the traditional developer - publisher circle as they want control over what is put up, what the game will contain and more. Largely developed with personal funds, Origins of Malu is poised on the edge of finally coming to fruition.
Being nearly finished, however, hasn't guaranteed a publishing deal. It is not, Michael emphatically stated, that those offers haven't been made. They have. But Burning Dog has not yet found one that will retain the vision of the development team. Too many have wanted to change things about Origins something to which Dunham said a resounding "NO".
"We have the systems in place to self-publish if we must." Michael stated.
The Origins news doesn't end with the announcement of the KickStarter initiative either. To entice backers, the team also recently revealed its monetization plan. Both a subscription plan and a free to play model will be utilized with no difference between them in terms of the amount of Origins that can be played. While subscribers will have certain advantages in terms of the number of lives available, the team is committed to the fact that there will be no immersion breaking artificial barriers to playing the entire game.
"We don't want to nickel and dime people." Michael said. "Free players will get a couple of lives to play where subscribers have unlimited lives. If a free player dies twice in a day, that ends the opportunity to game until the next day when two more lives are granted."
In another interesting and unusual touch, anyone purchasing any item out of the game's store will automatically be granted 'subscriber' status. Those not taking advantage of the low monthly subscription but who choose to purchase a life pack or other item will be granted a subscriber bonus for a short period of time.
"This game will never be a pay to win game." Dunham said. "We'll bury the game if there ever is any, by the way."
Many of the ideas for the monetization program came from the community itself. Dunham said that the team has maintained a healthy level of communication with interested community members and have taken their suggestions as to how to proceed into account.
All of this is, however, predicated on the KickStarter program coming to fruition. It is not to say that Origins of Malu will never see the light of day. But the opportunity is there to bring it to the game table much quicker with a successful campaign to raise what amounts to a very small portion of the game's overall budget.
Find out more about how to support the initiative on the Origins of Malu Kickstarter page.
What about you? Will you be backing the Origins Kickstarter? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com.