For the past 7 years, give or take a few breaks, I’ve poured everything I have into Hanako to try to make it as great as possible. Since we picked it back up in 2013 a lot has changed, we’re an entirely new team with new faces, new talents and better perspectives we didn’t have back in school.
We all found time to sneak in hours here and there to get things done, started building a new foundation and at first we were a team of volunteers. It was a group of talented individuals that bought into my dream of honoring my mother, and later one of my mentors.
After some letdowns of not being selected for different conventions and opportunities to show what we were building, even though it was early for most of them, we worked towards Steam Greenlight and had no idea what was coming for us. Four days after one of my closest mentors, and the very first supporter of Hanako passed away suddenly, we launched our Greenlight campaign with a video that to me was the turning point of something…
Before I get into that, for months previously, I’d stream development on Twitch and got to know a dozen or so extremely loyal viewers and supporters. They watched hours and hours of environment art, unreal fidgeting and ultimately grew into what I consider to be the original fans of the game.
Back in November, we started filming the Greenlight video over holiday breaks and those fans, some from overseas in really crazy timezones, stayed up all night to help us film. They did the same for our Kickstarter video, without a hitch, without complaint and an open willingness to help out where ever needed.
When our Greenlight launched, the hard work from everyone paid off, but something else happened too. Our campaign, which we expected to require patience, immediately took off. Our stats were off the charts, twice the average numbers and hundreds of glowingly positive comments. We were blown away by the reception and it led to us getting the Greenlight in only 9 days.
What happened through this process was the start of a family. Our development team has always been tight knit, some of us have been best friends for almost a decade now, but as I mentioned earlier, there were many fresh faces too, some I still haven’t met in person. It was at this time that it became abundantly clear that a dream that I thought was my own, a dream that all these wonderful individuals were so gracious to donate their time, effort, and stress levels to contribute to, in order to help the project.
Now it has become a collective dream, an ideal embraced by the growing Hanako family made up of developers and supporters. I’ve stepped back and watch these group of the most amazing people I know, flourish under everything that’s come their way. I get asked a lot about the project and those close to me know how important the essence and spiritual connection to the project are, but over the years of leading this project I’ve learned that its not about me, and I can’t do it all. Its about this team, this family, this brotherhood of dreams and fiercely determined artists, coders, fans, friends and family.
For the past three months, I’ve watched while our team has been deep in the trenches doing all sorts of preparations for our Kickstarter campaign. We came up with the plan for what we wanted to do, we wanted it to be perfect, we wanted it to be just right and whatever it took to make it so. So we started putting things together, revision after revision after revision of everything, every word, every image on the Kickstarter; every shot of the video; an extreme amount of focus and nitpickiness over all of the things.
As I sit here writing this at 1AM, now less than a day before our Kickstarter launch, I look at our body of work and I’ve never seen anything like it. Not the Kickstarter page, or the demo that we literally accomplished every single thing on our list and then some more. What I see, is what I need the world to see in this moment and what you all who are reading need to be introduced to, my brothers and sisters, my family:
(I left myself in so the image would stay even).
This is my samurai clan, our samurai clan. These artists, programmers, composers and so on are the ones responsible for what we will show the world Tuesday, March 24th at Midnight just as the Spring of 2015 begins. I’ve never seen a group of people put forth the collective effort necessary to make our Kickstarter what it is. The campaign and everything associated with it hasn’t even launched and its one of the things I’m most proud of in 26 years of life. Not because its one of my biggest dreams in life to finish Hanako – Soul of the Samurai or that I did a whole bunch of work on it and its a bunch of my ideas. It’s because it would not have been possible without every single person pictured above, our supporters, our own families and our fierce, undying determination to achieve what has become our dream.
My mother taught me to give credit where its due, always. She taught me to tell people when they do a good job. This is my thank you, my sincere gratitude and humility to my clan and my family for their amazing effort towards getting our Kickstarter ready and this is only the beginning. I’ve never had so much faith in a group of people to accomplish as much as we have, and we still have an amazing journey ahead of us. What I’m most grateful for is that I have experienced true oneness with this group of people, a harmony that has allowed us to push past what any of us are capable of as individuals.
Thank you for reading this mini-novel, I sincerely hope as many people as possible enjoy our Kickstarter and our Demo, not just so we can get funded, but hopefully so our family can continue to grow.