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Treasure Hunters FanClub formed to fund indies

Devs behind Hyper Light Drifter, Crossy Road, and more team up with Surprise Attack to scout and publish promising games

A group of indie developers are teaming up with Melbourne-based label Surprise Attack to fund some games. Surprise Attack founder Chris Wright today announced The Treasure Hunters FanClub today, intended as an alternative funding source for promising indie developers.

"As someone that boot-strapped a publishing label into success, I have an intimate understanding of how hard and intimidating finding funding can be and how that process is often at odds with remaining independent," Wright said.

"I wanted to create a funding option that suits the modern indie, letting them keep their creative independence and focus on the development rather than finding or managing investors whilst also partnering with them on bringing the game to the market and supporting them at every step along the way."

The FanClub will provide money, marketing, and perhaps most notably, mentorship from its roster of indie developers. Already on board are Alex Preston (Hyper Light Drifter), Andy Moore (Fantastic Contraption), Morgan Jaffit (Hand of Fate), Andy Sum (Hipster Whale), and Scott Reismanis, founder of digital media network Dbolical. Scouting for new games is being headed up by producer Felix Kramer (Super Hyper Cube).

In addition to scouting for projects, the FanClub will also accept pitches from developers who have a playable build. Surprise Attack will work out a potential deal with promising developers, and then call upon the FanClub's members to determine their interest in supporting a project. If the members pledge enough funding for the project, Surprise Attack will finalize a deal to publish the project. At the moment, it will consider funding up to $350,000 per project, but there's no minimum.

The group says its typical deal will see developers take 70% of the revenue Surprise Attack brings in from publishing the game, with Surprise Attack itself getting 25% and the FanClub splitting the remaining 5%. However, that's only true after the FanClub has recouped its investment and then some.

The entire developer's share will go to the FanClub until the initial funding is repaid. After that point, 20% of the developer's share (14% of the revenue Surprise Attack sees) will go to the FanClub until the developer has paid back twice the original funding amount.

The FanClub's first funded project is the co-op tactical shooter Tear Through, from two-person Australian studio Walk with Kings. The game was inspired by Irrational Games' SWAT 4, but has an emphasis on arcade-style accessibility.

Disclosure: Reismanis' Dbolical network includes sister sites ModDB and IndieDB. Both are commercial partners of Gamer Network.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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