BR, N.O. game developers turn to Kickstarter

A group of Baton Rouge and New Orleans video game developers has taken to Kickstarter to raise money to create a new version of a 1990s video game.

The nine developers, working under the name DarkSeas Games, have raised nearly $110,000 in more than three weeks through the crowdfunding website. That’s nearly 70 percent of the $160,000 DarkSeas said it will take to launch its new version of “Road Rash,” called “Road Redemption.”

Road Rash was a game for the Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation video game systems in which players raced motorcycles while fighting off other racers with fists, crowbars and nunchucks. Several versions of the game came out in the 1990s.

Jason Tate, a senior programmer with the Baton Rouge firm Pixel Dash Studios, said all of the developers working on Road Redemption had worked with each other before.

“We came up with the idea for the game at first,” he said.

Tate and Claire Fontenot, a brand manager at Pixel Dash, said a game like “Road Redemption” hasn’t come along in a while.

“This represents a shift in a game being challenging and players having to use and develop skills in the game,” Fontenot said.

That’s why “Road Redemption” is being developed independently, without input from a big video game studio.

“We want to appeal to hardcore game fans” Fontenot said.

So far, the response to “Road Redemption” has been good.

Dan Geisler, who co-created the first three versions of “Road Rash,” has endorsed the project.

And there has been good feedback on Steam Greenlight, Valve Software’s distribution site where gamers vote on which independent games they would like to see funded.

The “Road Redemption” team is embracing the crowdfunding aspect, encouraging fans to suggest what they want to see in the game. Once the game is released, the developers will release the source code so players can customize “Road Redemption.”

“We want to develop a community around this game, with people having their own versions and extensions,” Tate said.

If the funding goal is reached, the plan is to release the game as a digital download by July 2014 to the PC, Mac, Linux and WiiU platforms. And if the campaign raises more money, it could expand to other video game systems, such as the Xbox, Tate and Fontenot said.