Grads Use Kickstarter to Develop the Indie Game ‘Reven’

Kickstarter campaigns can be hit or miss, but a group of two alumni and a current student have scored a runaway success with their recent bid to crowdfund the original independent game Reven. Game Art grads Austin Morgan and John Rogeles are helming the project in Dallas, Texas, while bringing on current Music Business student Ian Stanley to help with their promotional efforts – work that saw the game pull in 182% of its original funding goal.

It was a major outpouring of support for the team’s vision, which Austin says came as a humbling surprise. “We reached our goal a week and a half into it, and were really taken aback,” he says. “Running the Kickstarter was almost like a full time job. It’s a lot about answering people’s comments and keeping the communication going. We got everything you can imagine, people wanting to do voice acting for it, translating it into other languages. There’s a lot of promoting and networking that goes into these campaigns – it was 12 hours a day every day.”

The title is four months into its development cycle, and is described as a Metroid-style 2D action/adventure game. As both Austin and John were trained as game artists (which is obvious from the stylized graphics), they chose to work with the Construct 2 engine, which streamlines a lot of the code-heavy aspects of game development. The ease of the platform was actually the main catalyst in giving them the confidence to move forward with such an ambitious project.

“After I showed John how powerful the engine we decided that this was something we wanted to do, to create our own game and not have to work for someone else,” Austin says. “It really caters to the indie crowd, which is good news for us, and allows us to make something this big. We’re looking to make it two or three times the size of Super Metroid in terms of scale.”

Reven is expected to release in mid-2015, and will be available for Mac, Linux, and PC, as well as the Wii U and Ouya consoles. Gameplay trailers have already gotten picked up by major gaming sites, and the team are excited by this early momentum. “We still have a lot of work ahead, but the success of the Kickstarter has been a great boost for us at this stage,” Austin says. “Now we can relax a little and pay everyone back by focusing on making the best game possible.”