Adopting a cat. Sending in fan art. Getting your parents to play The Binding of Isaac. Taking pictures in the bathroom. Stretch goals where you can put your name on a tombstone on Edmund McMillen’s lawn. Drawing pictures of the developer nude. The Kickstarter for The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls, a card game built around the story behind The Binding of Isaac, has been a wild ride, with the developer getting fans engaged with the crowdfunding campaign through all manner of silly, fun ideas.
IndieGames.com caught up with McMillen to talk about why he chose to take such a silly route to crowdfunding, and how it’s made the campaign a source of positive energy (and has just destroyed the initial funding goal) for the developer.
The Kickstarter for The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls is easily the most creative Kickstarter I’ve ever seen. What prompted you to try so many different things to engage your fans?
McMillen – I really just wanted to have fun. In a lot of ways, the past few weeks has been a really fun celebration of everything Isaac, and I’ve gotten to interact with fans in really creative and fun ways. I did an ARG in the past and had a great time doing it. I wanted to do another take on the same idea, and when I looked up and saw what other Kickstarters did with their stretch goals, I decided to just spin them with my own style. I really didn’t expect so many people to shave their heads while saying “whatever you wish mother”…
What sorts of ideas have you tried so far? How did you come up with these ideas? How do you feel that these ideas get your fans involved and talking about the game?
I stayed on-topic as much as possible. I started easy, asking people to adopt a cat and name them Guppy or send me pics of them crying, but it has escalated into tons of people drawing me dead and nude and getting tattoos of the game’s art. The more challenging goals, like beat the basement blindfolded, having your mom get to the caves, or beating mom with your feet, were all pretty amazing to watch.
I’m not sure these things are really getting the word out, but they are fun to watch and I lost like 2k followers in a day when I retweeted 50+ drawings of me nude. Good times were had. I have no complaints.
Why is this kind of engagement so important to you? How do you feel it’s helping your Kickstarter raise funds?
i feel like a bit of a broken record but my wife and i just think its neat and fun for us and fans to do stuff like this. There is no real way to tell if this is helping drive sales. Honestly, it’s articles writing about the weird shit we are doing that seem to help more than the actual things, so thanks for that 🙂
How has running this kind of lighthearted, fan-focused campaign made you feel?
It’s honestly breathed a lot of life into my jaded husk. Working on this never felt like work. It never felt like something I’d done before, and every aspect of the campaign and designing this game has been totally amazing. Making digital indie games is very lonely and isolating – Four Souls has been the total opposite. I get to hang out with friends and family 2+ times a week just playing games and having fun, streaming, eating pizza, and talking shop.
I hope it comes through in what we are doing, because in all honesty, the game’s really damn fun and I think people are going to love it when it releases at the end of the year. My only worry is that we aren’t reaching enough fans. The Kickstarter has been super successful, but 20k backers is less than .2% of the people who own the digital game. We only have five more days left in the Kickstarter and almost everything we are offering is KS exclusive, so if you are reading this and have friends who play Isaac, make sure they know about this campaign before it’s over!
For more information on The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls and developer Edmund McMillen, you can head to the game’s site or follow them on Twitter. The game is also currently raising development funding on Kickstarter.