Hidetaka "Swery65" Suehiro is giving his latest project, The Good Life, another chance on Kickstarter next month, on March 26th. The Good Life, which failed on Fig last year, was announced at PAX West, and is set to be Swery65's first game in three years. Now, having learned from the failures of their first campaign, Swery and his studio, White Owls Inc. will be back. Swery's Twitter announcement highlighted six key areas his team needed to change in order to be successful. Those six areas include providing gameplay footage and improving the game design and graphical style. Saying that he "hasn't stopped working on the game" since the original campaign ended, we'll see just how successful Suehiro and White Owls will be on March 26th.
The Good Life's original pitch pegged it as a "debt repayment daily life RPG." Set in Rainy Woods, a small town in the English countryside, you play as Naomi, an American photographer deeply in debt due to a scandal. Rainy Woods also holds an interesting phenomenon: at night, the inhabitants turn into dogs/cats. Players could customize both Naomi's human appearance, as well as her feline one. True to Swery65 form, there's also a murder-mystery lurking under the surface. With the residents describing Rainy Woods as the "happiest place on the planet," if all this doesn't sound similar to themes Swery's explored with D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die and Deadly Premonition, then I don't know what does.
Packing a low-poly art style, the Twitter post also includes an announcement from G-rounding Inc., who will be working with White Owls on the art style and game design. Promising a "re-examined art direction," I surely hope they keep the charm and feel of the original presentation. Swery did say that many problems with the original pitch stemmed from many people thinking The Good Life would be a 2D RPG, similar to, say, Recettear. Creative Director Yukio Futatsugi did tease "new elements" for the new project, which will be revealed at the Kickstarter's launch.
The original Fig campaign also brought on former Halo 4 director Ryan Payton from Camouflaj as a project supervisor. Camouflaj, best known for their stellar Republique, has been hard at work porting their game to various mobile and VR platforms. The announcement does not say if Camouflaj/Payton will return for the new round of funding, though Payton did retweet the announcement on twitter. We will know more about all the collaborations and improvements once the Kickstarter launches on March 26th.
There are few game designers like Swery65 still working today. The bizarre nature and humor of both D4 and Deadly Premonition turned otherwise unremarkable games into cult classics. If anything, the areas of improvement show that White Owls have taken feedback seriously. I'm excited to see just what they've got cooked up for us next month.