100 Mile House indie game developer Cameron Taylor has found his groove in the surprise hit rhythm game Friday Night Funkin’.
Taylor is the programmer who, along with musician KawaiSprite, animator PhantonArcade and artist evilsk8r, created the Rock Band-style game about a teenage boy attempting to date a girl and is forced to “rhythm battle” her evil father and various henchman to earn the right to take her out. A simple concept originally intended as a small weekend project, this Newgrounds-based game has since exploded in popularity thanks to its cute character design, funky music and modding potential.
“Things have been going very fast and very well. The past four months since the game really blew up has felt like it’s non-stop every single day,” Taylor said. “Whether its interaction with fans or game industry people, it keeps me busy.”
The popularity of the demo has prompted the development team to prepare to launch a Kickstarter later this month to turn it into a full game. Taylor said the campaign will lay out their basic goals for the project as well as their stretch goals, such as developing a mobile version of the game.
Their goal for initial game development will be US$60,000, which will be allotted to each member of the development team to fund aspects of the game. Taylor said this will be “shut up and work” money as they each buckle down to work. The more money they raise, the more features they’ll be able to add, such as fully animated cutscenes for each level.
Taylor believes the game’s overall charm originally drew people in but what has kept them engaged is its “cool, jazzy, smooth hip hop music.” As time has gone on, he said people have realized they can mod the game and put their own character sprites in place or have taken the existing character models and made animated videos with them.
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Nostalgia and demand for a rhythm game of this style may also play a role, as Taylor said the last mainstream games like Friday Night Funkin’ were PaRappa the Rapper and Gitaroo Man came out in the late 90s to early 2000s. Whatever the case may be, the game has spread organically across the internet in a very grassroots way.
While it’s been stressful and a bit overwhelming at times, Taylor said he and his friends have gotten the chance to bask in the glory of so many people playing and enjoying their game.
“Every time we put work into it pays off and people really enjoy everything we do for it. So it just builds and builds and snowballs. It’s one of the biggest games out there right now, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that,” Taylor said. “With that, it’s very overwhelming to think about what will come out of it; the impact it will have on rhythm games, web games and indie games in general.”
The core team has stayed the same but Taylor said they have been getting help from other artists and programming friends as they add more content to the Newgrounds demo. However, he said their goal now is to release a full PC game on Steam and if they can afford it, consoles.
Based on the interest the game has received, Taylor is confident they’ll be able to raise the base amount of money they’re asking for. If they raise enough, Taylor said he’d like to develop a Nintendo Switch version of the game and maybe even an X-Box or Playstation port. However, he said those are just options he’s looking into right now.
“We do want to go further. What we want to do, we need a lot of animators for. We need a dedicated console system architect to build out those backends, we want certain guest musicians who will cost money,” Taylor said. “We do want to be ambitious while still having that full control.”