We have some big news to share with you. We are launching That Dragon, Cancer on the game console OUYA in 2014. Additionally, OUYA has chosen to invest in the game to assist with development costs and ensure our game gets made.
If you haven’t heard of the OUYA (pronounced “ooh-ya”) yet, here’s the pitch: OUYA is an open, indie-loving, Android-based, affordable ($100 US) micro game-console that hooks up to your television.
Why the Living Room first?
If you’ve read about our game at all, it may come as a surprise to you that we’d choose to bring That Dragon, Cancer to the living room first. The living room is typically a gathering place. It is likely not the first place you’d choose to play a dramatic adventure game dealing with the subject of childhood cancer… and perhaps for many, this game may be too personal an experience in the presence of others.
Our hope, however, is that while this may be a personal experience, that it will be a shared experience.
We’ve taken our demo to very large conventions like the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a business mixer at a cigar bar, a salon at the “Unwinnable mansion,” the Sensory Overload that is E3 in Los Angeles, Games for Health in Boston, and the indie-sponsored Gamescape in Baltimore. My sister represented us in the UK at the Eurogamer and RockPaperShotgun sponsored Rezzed in Birmingham, and the awesome team at Second Impact Games stood in our place at the Develop conference in Brighton.
As I’m sure they all can attest, the neatest part about showing the game in public is the conversation afterwards. We’re finding that when you share your heart with people, they want to share their heart with you, even in the middle of a loud convention-center floor. That’s what we want to do. We want to create a safe space for people to talk about hard things.
We can’t think of a safer place to share in meaningful conversation, food, laughter, and yes, even video games than your living room.
Why the OUYA?
If you’ve followed the often turbulent launch of the OUYA, you may be wondering why we’re partnering with such an outspoken upstart. Well, the short answer is, they have the guts to make something they believe in, in an industry that is stacked against their success. They aren’t complaining about what the industry should be, instead, they’re making it in their image.
Making games is a tough business. It’s expensive, and competitive, and it’s often brutal and unforgiving. The television game console has been a platform that few indies have had success in. It is prohibitively expensive for most indie studios to publish and high development costs prevent most publishers from taking the risk with a “game” that, say, explores the trials, joys, and tears of fighting childhood cancer.
We needed a partner willing to take a chance on us, and who was able to see the interactive medium for what it is capable of and not just for its current market trends.
At this point, you might think we’re stacking the deck against ourselves by launching on a console in its infancy. Perhaps. The road has been rocky so far for OUYA.
But we believe in what they’re trying to do, and we believe in the people doing it. Dealing with hard things, and building new things is not easy. Especially when the world is expecting failure but holding their breath for success.
We believe there is a space for game experiences like ours alongside the space marine shooter and the next candy sorting game. The OUYA presents us with an opportunity to shape that space by bringing our game to a round table that equally values the scrappy upstart with the established publisher. We believe when other developers do the same and when gamers and non-gamers in a family living room can experience what we’re creating, the conversation about what games are and what they can be will expand.
The OUYA team put their hearts and their money and their reputations and the contributions of 63,416 people who believed in what they’re doing at stake to create something special.
We want to build it with them.