Good news, everyone! Ahem, it would appear the fighting game community has taken quite a shining to Zero Labs’ labor of love Skullgirls. As reported early last week, the developers were looking for $150,000 to support the completion of the new DLC character Squigly. Incredibly, in less than 24 hours of the team publishing the indiegogo campaign, they’ve met both their initial goal and first stretch mark. This amazing feat actually sets the indiegogo record for fastest campaign funded, an accolade previously held by StarForge, which managed to raise $135,453. Of course, there are still a ton of stretch goals lined up; and with 29 days left to donate to the effort, fans can potentially receive two additional characters, including the games’ first male fighter, named Big Band.
For those invested in the unique lore of the Skullgirls universe, here is a bit of background on Squigly:
“Squigly is the last “surviving” member of the Contiellos, a famous line of opera singers and long-time clients of the Medici family.
Fourteen years ago, tragedy befell Squigly’s family when the Medici mafia came close to obtaining the Skull Heart. During this incident she became one of the Skullgirl’s undead minions. Once the threat had been defeated, only Squigly’s body was recovered, and she was buried in a service provided by Lorenzo himself.
Fast forward to the present: Bloody Marie’s emergence has awoken Squigly from her long sleep. As part of the Skullgirl’s undead legion, Squigly should have become nothing more than a mindless servant of the pale maiden. However, thanks to the powers of her Parasite Leviathan, she is spared this fate.
Squigly is graceful, calm and well-mannered, but tough and determined to complete her mission. Her past experience with a Skullgirl gives her a unique perspective and a greater understanding of the situation over most.
Having been passed through the Contiello family for generations, Leviathan is refined and dotes on Squigly like her father and previous host did. This long familial history has made Squigly’s bond with Leviathan deeper and more fundamental than that of most Parasites, and allows them to work harmoniously both in and out of battle like synchronized dance partners. Their unique circumstance also seems to have given them abilities beyond this world, as well.”
When I first posted about the effort to fund Squigly, a lot of gamers were curious about why it costs so much to develop just a single character. Zero Labs has decided to provide a detailed breakdown of just where your $150,000 is going:
- $48,000: Staff Salaries – 8 people for 10 weeks
- $30,000: Animation and Clean-up Contracting
- $4,000: Voice recording
- $2,000: Hit-box Contracting
- $5,000: Audio Implementation Contracting
- $20,000: QA Testing
- $10,000: 1st Party Certification
- $10,500: IndieGoGo and Payment Processing Fees
- $20,500: Manufacturing and Shipping Physical Rewards
“No doubt you’ve noticed the surprisingly large sum we’re requesting to finish Squigly. Believe it or not, this is actually cheap for a fighting game character, and the only reason it’s even this cheap is because she’s already partially complete, and our staff have volunteered to take pay cuts to try and increase the odds of meeting our goal.
For comparison, Skullgirls’ budget was around $1.7 million and, since Filia was complete at the time of signing, that covered production of the last seven characters.”
The team also added the following, in regards to the funding effort:
“Should anything come in cheaper than expected or we can get the 1st-party submission fees waived, we will figure out something productive to do with that extra money, such as adding taunts or additional intro, win and lose animations.
One final note: IndieGoGo will deliver the first dollop of cash as soon as we meet our first funding goal of $150,000. So that means the sooner we reach that goal, the sooner we can get started on Squigly, the sooner we can show you progress, and the sooner we can release her. So if you intend to contribute, please do so at your earliest possible convenience!”
For those interested in pledging toward the stretch goals, there are a number of great incentives being offered at different contribution tiers. These prizes range from a digital copy of the Skullgirls soundtrack, to Steam codes for the currently-in-devleopment PC port, exclusive character T-shirts, and special recognition during the end-game credits. High-tier contributors even have the opportunity to see their likeness or a character of their own creation included as a background NPC in a Skullgirls stage. Personally, my favorite incentive is to have one of the voice actresses record a short voicemail greeting or audio message of my choosing as an mp3 file; for the low, low cost of $200.
The list of remaining stretch goals, as well as their price justifications, is as follows:
$375,000: Big Band: If we manage to raise $375,000, we’ll create Big Band, Skullgirls’ first and most-requested male character. Why is Big Band $200,000 instead of $150,000? Because we haven’t even begun to work on him, meaning he’s going to need at least an extra month of development time, as well as extra money to cover the additional rewards needed to fund him.
$400,000: Big Band Stage and Story Mode: If we manage to raise $400,000, we’ll release Big Band’s story mode and a new stage, telling the story of a grizzled veteran tackling a new threat. The new stage will, of course, feature an all-new track from Michiru Yamane
$600,000: Mysterious Character By Fan Vote: If we somehow manage to raise $600,000, as soon as we regain our composure we’ll create a third character, voted on by the community.
$625,000: Mysterious Character Stage and Story Mode: If we manage to raise $625,000, we’ll release a story mode and a new stage along with the Mysterious Third Character. Like the others, the new stage will, of course, feature an all-new track from Michiru Yaman
Update: In response to the rapid support the team has received, Zero Labs has introduced three new high-level pledge tiers. The largest possible donation even includes a trip to Evo 2013, including a three-night hotel stay and dinner with the Skullgirls team.
Here are the new tiers:
Everything from the $150 Booster set, plus: All Custom rewards, an “Angel” title in the Contributors Credits.
Everything from the $150 Booster set, plus: All Custom rewards, a custom FoeHammer fightstick designed by the Skullgirls team, an “Archangel” title in the Contributors Credits.
Everything from the $150 Booster set, plus: All Custom rewards, a custom FoeHammer fightstick designed by the Skullgirls team, an Evo 2013 trip (airfare and accommodations included – continental U.S. only) to hang out with the Skullgirls team, a “Divinity” title in the Contributors Credits.
One person has already claimed the “Angel” gift set, and “Divinity” will only accept 2 pledges; so for those who bleed money and are looking to go to Evo 2013 while simultaneously helping the dev team realize their dream may want to consider acting fast.
Considering there is nearly a month left to continue pledging, there is a great chance that Skullgirls will be receiving its first male fighter sometime soon. In addition to encouraging anyone interested in pledging to go ahead and do so, I’d also like to congratulate and offer praise to the fighting game community for really pulling together on this one. Skullgirls has received nothing but praise and support from the community since releasing, and I think it’s wonderful to see a game that was made out of such love and respect for the genre rewarded with fierce loyalty and respect.
Has anyone here already pledged their support for the Skullgirls DLC effort? If not, would you consider investing in the project now, after so many have already shown their support? Share your thoughts in the comments below.