2012 has been fucking insane. I consider myself an articulate fellow, but I can’t really think of any other way to put it more elegantly or succinctly. Where do I start? Earlier this year Jake and I appeared on this IGN reality show called The Next Game Boss. Our main goal was to make some new friends and use the show as a tool to promote Fist Puncher, our retro-styled, local co-op brawler for Xbox and PC. But, hell, somehow we actually won the show with a game about a dog wearing a wig, and suddenly we had a lot of buzz and press surrounding our tiny, 2-man studio set in the mountains of Santa Cruz. So we took Fist Puncher to GDC where we demoed with GameSpy and all of these other kickass indie games from IGN’s Indie Open House program (Overgrowth, A Virus Named TOM, Super Comboman, and like 50 games from uber-prolific Cryptic Sea). The same week, the final episode of The Next Game Boss aired. The ball was rolling. We decided to dive into the world of crowdfunding, set up a Kickstarter campaign, and see if we could springboard off of our Game Boss success and get some funding for our throwback brawler Fist Puncher.
So we spent the good part of a month making ridiculous videos, sending out press releases, and doing everything in our power to reach our funding goal. And I’ll be damned, we reached our funding goal. That was 5 months ago. Since then my life has been tossed around, turned inside out, and then, just for good measure, shaken and stirred. I’ll spare everyone the gory details and just summarize the highlights. I was planning to marry my partner later this year, but instead she walked out on me. Yeah, that sucked. In a fit of screw-you-world retaliation I pulled an Office Space and walked out on my job of almost 10 years (two can play that game). I moved out of my place (and in the process rented it to heroin addicts that had to be evicted). I won’t lie – at times I’ve felt totally underwater and completely lost this year. Everything I had 6 months ago is 100% gone: relationship, job, home. All I’ve had left to cling to was this whole I’m-now-an-indie-videogame-developer thing. And for much of this process it’s been the only thing keeping me afloat.
So what about that game Fist Puncher? We MADE that game. Yup, we spent the greater part of half a year building the game that fans from all over the world so generously backed (2 games actually – we also spent about a month polishing and completing Washington’s Wig). When you’re developing a game 7 days a week you start to lose the ability to see the big picture. Am I getting anything done? Are we making any progress? I’ve had a few days now to step back from the development process and survey the end result of our crowdfunded work (some of this self-imposed as I attended IndieCade, some of this externally imposed as I had to deal with the whole heroin addict thing from above). To be blunt, I’m pretty happy. The game is by no means done yet (that’s why we’re calling it an Alpha) – we plan on spending the rest of the year fixing glitches, adding some more levels, cleaning up some of the rough edges, balancing the player progression, and getting feedback from our Kickstarter backers about how we can improve Fist Puncher. Nonetheless, we now have a game that boasts 14 playable characters, over 40 levels (including many new level concepts like a timed subway gas attack and a sidescrolling bike chase), a full level up and perk system, 99 unlockable card achievements, fully revamped bosses (fear Psycho Hans), a new map and level organization system, completely redone sound design and controller vibration feedback, collectible items, game statistics, Kickstarter enemies and NPCs, new in-game signage, and tons more. We’ve played the hell out of the game, and we’re both confident that it’s a damn fun experience.
We’re planning on a wide release at the end of the year. For now, the Fist Puncher Kickstarter can be purchased on Desura.
Moving forward, we also want to work on improving the distribution of Fist Puncher. Making a great game is only half the battle – without marketing and distribution, you’re dead in the water. For starters, we’ve put Fist Puncher up on Steam Greenlight. If you like Fist Puncher and would like to see it get a wide release on Steam, then give us an upvote. We will be working on other avenues for distribution in the upcoming months, so stay tuned.
Thanks again to everyone who helped us get this far. It’s been a crazy journey, and my life has been turned upside down this year. I’m not really sure what comes next, but at least I’ll always be able to say that my brother and I made the first fighting game with a nude beach level, the first fighting game where you can throw cows in a slaughterhouse battle, and the first fighting game where you can bring a gun or a Taser to a wrestling tournament to save an orphanage. Yup, something for my epithet.
Anyway, if you want to hear us ramble on for a bit or if you want to see our scruffy mugs one more time, check out the YouTube update video. And, again, THANK YOU! And to every person that sent us a positive message or gave us props at GDC, PAX or wherever, I’m telling you now from the bottom of my heart that it meant more to me than you can ever imagine.