Why some devs partner with investment funds over publishers
"There was a lot of new game ideas that popped up during our extended production period on The Last Guardian, and we really wanted to take our time to explore them — on our own and at our own pace."
- Fumito Ueda explores his studio's partnership with Kowloon Nights
Polygon has published an interesting dive into the investment fund Kowloon Nights, a company that notably made headlines recently for partnering with The Last Guardian director Fumito Ueda as his team works on prototyping its next project.
The story in full offers a look at how (and why) Kowloon Nights itself was created and outlines some of the goals the investment fund keeps in mind when signing developers. Polygon also spoke with a couple of the minds behind the 9 projects currently in development under agreements with Kowloon Nights to offer a look at why those devs went with the fund instead of a more traditional publisher.
Duelyst dev Counterplay tells Polygon, for example, that its next project, Godfall, wants to “nestle between that double-A and triple-A sort of status” and working with Kowloon night gives it both the budget and flexibility to comfortably pursue that goal.
Ueda says that he met with multiple publishers after The Last Guardian came out and could’ve easily, and rapidly, moved into development of the studio’s next game, but that signing on with Kowloon gives his team the freedom to explore new ideas through a longer prototyping period than other agreements would’ve allowed.
Hyper Light Drifter designer Teddy Dief explains that working with an investment fund instead of a publisher comes with a more simplified relationship, but with the added downside that “we’re taking it all on ourselves.”
"I think that there was a period a little bit earlier in indie games, maybe like 10 years ago or something, where the reaction against being involved with other organizations was so strong," explains Dief.
“I’m more of the mindset of, like, I, even if I could fully self-fund, I wouldn’t," he says. "If I had to, for the rest of my career, give someone a piece of the profits of the work to reduce risk, to make this a sustainable career, to keep getting, to make things that I want to make, I [would] happily do that every time.”
Of course, the full piece paints a more complete picture of how Kowloon Nights and investment funds differ from other funding options developers can explore and can be found over on Polygon.