Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Sep. 9th
Last year we told you about Dark Detour: Project Alibi, a Halloween story that took place across multiple platforms. Well the team behind that is back with Dark Detour 2, which is wrapping up a successful IndieGoGo campaign this week and looking to bring in some popular talent with the last of their week of their campaign.
The pitch for the second season’s story goes like this:
A young wedding photographer decides to get out of London and head West for a week to clear his mind, after a particularly frustrating Bridezilla event. Along the way, he meets a stunning barmaid, and as they fall in love, their whirlwind romance unexpectedly spins them to a place of absolute, sheer terror.
We checked in with Alison Norrington and Steve Peters, the co-creators of the series, about how the second campaign—with its focus on engagement-based stretch trophies as opposed to cash-centered stretch goals, differs from last year’s.
TURNSTYLE: What’s been the big difference between last year’s crowdfunding campaign and this one?
Alison Norrington: Our move to engage community rather than to raise funds. Last year we had $500 increments to unlock our 4 stretch goalers – Mike Monello, Brian Clark, Jan Libby and Blair Ericson. This year we've brought in the idea of gaining trophies to unlock our new stretch goal people – Jay Bushman, Hazel Grian, Maureen McHugh and Adi Shankar. There's been a different pacing to the campaign because of that – rather than 4 clear stepping stones, we've had a series of smaller challenges that, collectively add up to unlock our awesome people!
Steve Peters: This year, we hit our goal in just four days, so we had to scramble a bit to get our ideas together to keep building momentum over the remaining weeks. So I shamelessly adapted my friend Elan Lee's mechanic that he used in his Exploding Kittens campaign, in that instead of financial milestones, our community would unlock Achievements in the form of Trophies to earn Stretch Goals. These were to emphasize FUN instead of FUNDS, and our hope was to build the community during the remaining time of the campaign. Plus I love the idea of not having to say "Okay, you given us money, now give us MORE money!"
We knew it would be slightly different dynamic than Exploding Kittens in that a) we're doing things on a MUCH smaller scale (hey, we're no Exploding Kittens, what can I say?); and b) we aren't selling a product, per se, like a box of playing cards, but rather giving an experience away and asking folks to become a part of the team that brings this experience to the world.
TS: Has all the Exploding Kittens-style “gamification” (for lack of a better term from a more civilized age) helped with engagement?
AN: Without a doubt! Some of our trophies have been to gain Facebook likes and Twitter followers, which has worked. Putting the focus on community build rather than funding dollars has given this years campaign a different tone. We have some awesome fans!
SP: Oh, yes, I think so! Some of the submissions we've gotten have been pretty amazing. My favorite so far has been having folks submit a photo of the one thing that they would save from their house in a fire. Some were funny, some were touching. I only wish I had required more of them to unlock the Trophy. :)
How big a difference would the stretch goal staffing make?
AN: A HUGE difference! Adi Shankar is the jewel in our crown and we're determined to have him unlocked by Friday. We strategically selected our stretch goal people last year with Mike Monello, Brian Clark, Jan Libby and Blair Ericson and we've been as strategic this year too. We've developed a process where I write the story overview, focussing on triggers and rabbitholes and Steve dives in and waves his experience design magic wand over the entire thing. Our meetings with the stretch goalers takes makes us step back from the coal face and takes us out of our comfort zone as we brainstorm ideas and concepts that really help us punch it all up!
SP: It'd make a huge difference to me, as each of the four people (Jay, Hazel, Maureen and Adi) bring such unique talents to the table. I'm all about surrounding myself with super smart, creative people with different perspectives and can't wait to see what our brainstorming Skype sessions are gonna bring! And Adi Shankar to top it off? Holy crap, Dredd is one of my favorite films!
Plus, there's the added bonus of them bringing their own fanbases into the project. We want as many people to experience the fun/horror this Halloween as possible.
TS: What’s been the big surprise this time?
AN: The advocacy of the community and willingness to help spread and share our quest to gain trophies and unlock our stretch goals. We've been sent some hilarious and awesome videos in response to our trophy challenges – that's been a heart-warming and funny surprise…
SP: I think I'd agree with what Alison said, in that it never ceases to amaze me how creative people can be, given the chance. Our lives are all about community, even online, and it always amazes me to watch people come together to contribute to and share something that they love.
On a lighter note, I've been surprised by the reticence of people to post selfies of themselves. That actually gives me hope for humanity…
TS: Will this be a yearly affair?
AN: That's the plan! We'd originally intended for Dark Detour to be an annual event, but wanted to see how last year rolled out first. As long as we have players that want to take part, we'll keep creating freeky, creepy Halloween story experiences.
SP: That's the plan, for sure! We'd love to start getting some sponsors involved so as to not need to do a crowdfunding campaign every year. But then again, part of me likes the idea of continuing to do it this way, because then more people get to feel like they've taken part in making something fun happen.
Either way, Dark Detour is gonna be around for a while. If I have anything to say about it! :)
The Dark Detour 2 campaign, which is now focused on playing the audience as opposed to soaking up more dough, wraps at midnight on Friday the 11th (Thursday night), West Coast time.