The Last Guardian director Fumito Ueda is opting for a non-traditional publishing and funding set-up for his next title with GenDesign. Though Ueda will eventually look for a publisher, initial backing will be provided by new funding group Kowloon Nights.
Polygon reports that Ueda spent some time considering publishing offers for an upcoming project, but opted instead to take a longer prototyping period before signing on with a publisher. To fund that time, GenDesign has partnered with Kowloon Nights, which focuses on backing small projects while taking a hands-off approach, far more so than a traditional publisher.
Kowloon Nights is the result of a partnership between ID@Xbox and Tencent veteran Alexis Garavaryan and consultant Jay Chi. Funds are provided by Asia-based investors in the game industry and, as part of its backseat approach, the fund allows developers to maintain IP and sequel rights.
In total, Kowloon Nights has signed ten projects generally budgeted between $500,000 and $5 million, including Darwin Project, A Place for the Unwilling, GenDesign's upcoming game, and one of the four games on the horizon for recently announced Too Kyo Games. GenDesign's game is the only one of the ten that is only receiving starter funding, as opposed to funding for the entire project.
"Generally, I think we do prefer to sign titles that we'll fully fund all the way," Garavaryan told Polygon. "There are just odd cases where we're just really passionate about the team or we feel like we can provide something that will ultimately help them. In titles, for example, that are larger than we can typically fund, I think for them coming in to see other partners, like a publisher or platform holder, with a prototype that's quite advanced, that's playable, can help them secure a much better deal.
"Ueda is obviously a huge exception to the way we typically work. When there are creators like him that we all admire and, like, grew up playing his titles, we'll do it. But I think it's not something that we'll do for a lot of people."