Final Fantasy creator and current head of Mistwalker, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has a bit of a problem on his hands with his surprisingly fun free-to-play game, Terra Battle. He might have over-promised a bit on where the franchise could head next.
When first launching the game, Sakaguchi proposed a new idea for spreading word of mouth about the game that he called "Download Starter." Taking the ideas from Kickstarter stretch goals, he promised new additions every time 100,000 people downloaded the game. So far, it has been a runaway success with over 1.7 million downloads and contributions from some of the JRPG genre's most notable figures.
What's the problem? Well, Sakaguchi never thought it would be this big of a success. At 2 million downloads, he promised a console version, and he has yet to even come up with an idea of what the potential resulting game would look or play like. He better hurry because his goal of 2 million downloads is sprinting closer and closer.
Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, he says he is open for ideas.
"I'll be open. I have absolutely no plans. [Initially], we weren't even thinking that two million was going to be in reach. We obviously put that Download Starter campaign milestone together, and it has been our final goal, but we weren't certain that we would hit that number. But we're now approaching that very quickly — we're past 1.7, and hopefully 1.8 within X amount of days. When we land at 2 million, I don't know what were going to do. But I can tell you that if you have any ideas, now is the time to submit them."
Poor Sakaguchi has discovered the burdens of promising stretch goals and pledge bonuses, the same which cripple countless independent developers who just want to focus on a game rather than ship out t-shirts. Mistwalker is home to only 10 full-time developers, and Sakaguchi has to run it by them to determine if it would be beneficial to hire a larger team.
The two ideas he currently has seem a little out of reach. One involves boosting the game's resolution to accommodate for a 60 inch touch-screen that people could play around like a TV. Of course, such a device doesn't exist yet, and it will be even longer before it becomes affordable.
The other is a fully realized 3D version of the game which sounds more like a traditional RPG. Sakaguchi claims this option would require partnering with other developers and "take a somewhat large scale development team, and time and obviously money."
As for the "Download Starter," Sakaguchi wants it to continue even after it hits the 2 million download mark, claiming that the current model is just "phase 1."
"I don't want to end the Download Starter campaign just because we hit two million. So our ideal scenario would be to continue on with the Terra Battle smartphone download campaign, but kind of extend it with ideas and milestones that have a slightly different focus."
Have you played Terra Battle yet? I'm making decent progress, and I haven't dropped a dime into it yet. However, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has been stealing my attention away from it as of late. I just summoned my first "S-level" character, so I am pumped to get her up to speed with the rest of my team.
Be sure to check it out on iOS or Android. Just don't go rushing out to download it all at once. Sakaguchi needs more time to think.