Failbetter Games, creators of the critically and commercially successful Sunless Sea, have launched an international funding initiative for developers focusing on narrative-driven games. As to why they’re doing this, the Fundbetter page states, “We want to pay our luck forward; we also want to do well by doing good. There’s no one best way to make a narrative game, and we expect to learn from our fundees. We have a distinct house style, but the more insights and perspectives we have access to, the better. We’ve already benefited from – and helped – our incubees and interns by sharing expertise and experience. And, of course, money’s nice.”
Funding falls anywhere between £2,000 and £20,000. Failbetter Games then take 50 percent of the revenue until they’ve recouped the investment, 20 percent thereafter into perpetuity, and get branding association with the game. While the games open for consideration require a heavy narrative bent, the definition is quite flexible – whether it’s a card game or an interactive novel, if there’s a lot of reading and storyful storyness, it’s applicable.
In an interview with Polygon, Hannah Flynn, communications director for Failbetter Games, explains that it’s about growing an area of gaming that’s been relegated to niche status.
“I think that people, even recently, are still deprioritizing games writing a little, so it’s great that it’s something that is at the center of what we’re doing. What we want is for more kinds of variations on the theme of interactive fiction to become commercially viable. We’re putting our money where our mouth is in that we really love interactive fiction, and we want to see more things like it. It seems to just follow more for us that it has to be a commercially viable product, rather than [a project] which is incredibly worthy which people might not pick up. People tend to buy these things when they see them, but you might not pick up a free interactive fiction project. There’s just something that legitimizes these projects a bit when they’re commercial.”
You can check out the requirements at the site. It’s open to everyone – regardless of location – so if you’ve got a tale to tell, now’s the time to spill it.