100 Mile House developer, 22, raises millions for Friday Night Funkin’ video game – Houston Today

Helping create Friday Night Funkin’ changed Cameron Taylor’s life.

A little over two years ago, Taylor started the video game project, enlisting the help of her friends on the Newgrounds website. It was meant to be a fun homage to Taylor’s childhood rhythm games and a chance to practice his programming skills.

But after raising $2.2 million on Kickstarter, the project launched Taylor into a full-time role as a video game developer and CEO of his own company.

“I’m just a small town boy from 100 Mile House, but now I guess I’m the CEO of a small video game company as I deal with this crazy situation I got myself into,” said Taylor, 22. “Since I was a silly little teenager at PSO (Peter Skene Ogden Secondary) I just wanted to make video games with a bunch of different people and now it’s like ‘go, this is it.’

Taylor and the game’s co-creator and artist David Brown had originally hoped to raise $60,000 so they could turn Friday Night Funkin’ into a full game. Their goal, however, was achieved within hours and everything started moving at “lightning speed”, with one million raised within days. The campaign ended at US$2,247,641 with 58,561 backers from around the world.

Over the past seven months, the duo learned how to manage that money by creating the Funkin’ Crew, a Philadelphia-based C-corporation. Taylor said he became CEO in a coin toss with Brown becoming company president. Two other friends form their core team, while others get involved on a contract basis or collaborate on music.

He said they sometimes felt like “kids in dress up” and attending online shareholder meetings with his friends was a surreal experience.

“We’re just kind of these young, creative little people. So far, our normal lives haven’t prepared us for the logistics of managing all these people and this money,” Taylor said. “It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but that’s the life of game development.”

Friday Night Funkin’ is a music based rhythm game in the style of Rock band where players hit the keys to sing along to the music. The plot follows the player-controlled boyfriend who engages in singing battles with his girlfriend’s evil father and mother and their various multi-tiered henchmen.

Friday Night Funkin cassette style soundtrack by evilsk8r. (Photo submitted)

The band has spent the last few months writing a variety of new songs for the full game. The popularity of their initial demo led to “crazy collaborations”, Taylor said. He keeps the identity of the artists secret until the game is ready for release.

The best part, Taylor said, is that he got to work with a musician whose style heavily influenced the game’s music. Taylor didn’t name the musician, who was well known in the late ’90s, and said working with him was “as beautiful as you imagine”.

“It reassures us that, damn it, this is going to be a good video game that we’re going to make. It may take a while to get there, but in the end, it’s going to be something very refined and of refined taste, ”said Taylor.

Taylor said the experience taught him a lot about programming tricks, helping the entire team transition from amateurs to professionals. He feels blessed that the project was able to move them all forward.

Concept art for the Friday Night Funkin soundtrack by PhantomArcade and HellKat.  (Photo submitted)

Concept art for the Friday Night Funkin soundtrack by PhantomArcade and HellKat. (Photo submitted)

Some of the new features Taylor is working on following the Kickstarter include the addition of several new levels, a custom character creator, a mobile version, online multiplayer, and modes that would remix songs and make the game more challenging.

“The plan is now much larger than originally envisioned just over a year ago,” Taylor said. “The pieces are starting to fall into place and that makes developing the game a little less scary.”

Taylor hopes her story will inspire others in small towns to pursue their dreams, regardless of size.

“People can do anything they can think of. Coming from the small town of 100 Mile House, you can really make a game a project like this from the internet. You don’t have to need to be from the big city, you don’t need to go to college, anyone can shake things up however they want.


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Week 4 by Phantom Arcade.  (Photo submitted)

Week 4 by Phantom Arcade. (Photo submitted)