General suggestions thread
The Megaman 10 "retro" ad.
Ed, I think it would be awesome on so many levels if you made a humorous ad like this to show how the Little Blue is the "next evolutionary step in underwater adventure games".
I'm also reminded of the original Ecco the Dolphin commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB8z-56QnQA
I think humour that makes the game look attractive is a good way to get people on board with the project.
I was reading through the instruction manual of Ecco the Dolphin and I really liked the colourful description of the story and the fascinating facts about dolphins in the back. It pulls you in and gets you interested before you even play the game. You should go for something similar with the Little Blue / Big Blue.
I apologize if this idea is totally out there, but maybe you could write to big name environmentalists and tell them about this project, you may even be able to get a written or video endorsement for when the next Kickstarter comes around. I was thinking of His Royal Highness Prince Charles or David Suzuki.
I just went back through the news sites and read some of the comments to make new observations. I also have a few comments of my own to share.
The idea of the game coming to IOS/Android is hated just as much as the creature cards. I think those two platforms should be dropped for now, or as Draikin said, made stretch goals. This will also help to clear up the misconception that the games will only be for mobiles. Personally, I would avoid even making them stretch goals, as the stretch goals should be something that contributes to the game to get the community excited about the prospect. A common perception is that if games are for mobiles/IOS, it is because they are "not good enough" to be on consoles/computers. I have concerns that if the games are developed for IOS/Android, it will be a case of lowest common denominator and the other versions will suffer to make them equal with the moblie versions. For example, in the 128-bit era many games were made for PS2/Gamecube/Xbox, but because PS2 had the lowest specs of the bunch, the other versions were usually made identical to it to be fair to all users.
Some want to see the game for PSN/XBLA/Steam. On the new KS page, you should explain about licensing fees and why those platforms will have to come later or be stretch goals. The PS3 is also apparently difficult to develop for which is why some developers don't like it. As a former PS3 user, I do not think the general PS3 audience would be interested in these games anyway, and the audience on the Xbox 360 even less so. Artistic games do not tend to sell well on those consoles.
I have seen a few comments that say they would like to see Wii U support, probably because of your plans for touch controls. However, that console has a very small userbase and an uncertain future, so I would avoid it. Nintendo's licensing fees and ever decreasing third party support means your games will probably have a smaller audience there than anywhere else.
What is important now is that these games even get made, so I think the best chance they have is if you only develop for Windows/Mac/Linux for now.
I really liked the video interview you gave to Gamespot. I thought you spoke clearly and passionately, and it got me interested in the game. When you talked about how you got feedback from so many people, I felt bad because the KS comments were only open to backers and I could not participate. The next KS page should include a link to these forums so that everyone can participate and give you feedback.
How these games are marketed will be extremely important. Some people are concerned that it is being developed in Unity, as opposed to one of the higher end engines. As someone who thinks Dreamcast graphics look great, I am not concerned about the visuals. However, in the modern age, many consumers are unfortunately obsessed with graphics and will take one look at the game and turn their nose. What comes to mind is Deadly Premonition. DP was marketed as a budget game with its $25 price tag, and despite being an excellent game, it received an overwhelming amount of negative feedback from people who only complained about the visuals. Its marketing as a budget game gave people a negative perception of the game before they even played it, which led to them complaining about minor things in the gameplay and dismissing the entire product as low end garbage.
I am not saying that you should change to a new engine or spend unnecessary money on graphics (which should definitely be avoided, which is why so-called "AAA" games have shallow gameplay and astronomical development costs), just that you should be careful about how the game is marketed and pitched.
A common problem today is that companies look at hot sellers like COD or Halo and wonder how they can make their games sell like that. You should not be concerned about that with these games, because those people are not your audience. You should make the games in your own vision.
By the way, you should also use your Twitter to more actively promote the KS and the project the next time around.
Over at the Ecco wiki I have been collecting links to all the places where people can find information about the Little Blue and Big Blue. Right now the list looks like this:
Playchemy Community Forums
Ed Annunziata's Twitter
Playchemy Facebook page
Big Blue Facebook page
Big Blue Twitter
Original Big Blue Kickstarter Page
Original Big Blue Kickstarter Video
Interviews and Other Press Releases
Fighting the Tide: The Struggle to Revive Ecco the Dolphin
Gaming Furever Interview
Sega Nerds Interview
While new information is always great, that is a daunting number of pages and it makes it hard to direct people to info about these games. The average person is not going to be interested in checking out so many links.
For the next Kickstarter, I suggest you cut down on the number of pages people will have to visit and make them more focused and connected. I also suggest making some of the content more accessible for people like me who do not use social media (I had to find the interviews in google).
@Draikin: Thanks, I hadn't thought about that before.
@James: Thanks for joining and helping to clean up the Ecco Wiki! I'm helpless with coding and the site needed a major overhaul. I'll be going through all the links I listed above and gathering information to update the page on The Big Blue soon.
Just to let the community know, the Ecco the Dolphin Wiki will be supporting the games and hosting future content on The Little Blue and The Big Blue once the games are finished.
Talking to other Ecco fans online, I've noticed that people are almost split down the middle over if they prefer the chiptune or CD versions of the Ecco soundtracks. Maybe a stretch goal could be an alternate soundtrack made of chiptunes? I'm sure a lot of us would like to hear more great chiptunes from Spencer! It would also welcome in more Ecco fans to the project.
One of the effective things about the interview Ed gave to Gamespot, was that he talked about how he learned from all the feedback on Kickstarter. Maybe the next time Ed gives a video interview, or for the LB's KS video, he could talk about how he's learned from this community combined with the original KS feedback. It would make people feel more involved (and encourage new members to sign up) as well as make people feel more confident about his ability to make a modern game. I don't mean that to be negative, but it's been a common problem when I tell people about the game. In the internet age, people love you if you listen to your fans, so it would be good for Playchemy's image.
Another idea I had is, even if it's staged, maybe they could do a video of Ed reading the forums here, then talking to his team about a member's question and then posting a response. This is similar to Draikin's point about how making of videos make people feel involved in a project.