Retro football game Gridiron Heroes raises funding via Kickstarer

Fledgling developer Pixel Rampage has managed to secure funding for Gridiron Heroes, an NES-style football game that will launch on Facebook in beta mode this April.

Gridiron Heroes is a football team-manager sim inspired by Tecmo Bowl. Players establish their own football franchise and handle almost every detail imaginable: choosing the team name and logo, managing the player roster and training athletes are only a few of the tasks that have to be accomplished. Ultimately, players will be placed into leagues with their friends and then start playing one another. Seasons last four weeks at a time, with each player getting to play one league game a day.

American football on Facebook is dominated by two titles: Madden NFL Superstars and Quickhit NFL Football. While both of these games are still operating, Quickhit NFL Football has never really managed to take off (at its peak, the game had 90,000 MAU, now it’s down to 20,000). Madden NFL Superstars, meanwhile, is holding steady at around 600,000 MAU, though that’s a far cry from when the game had over 2 million MAU back in 2010.

Pixel Rampage sought $7,500 on Kickstarter, the crowd funding website that helps groups raise money for creative projects. In order for a Kickstarter project to be successful, the stated financial goal has to be reached within one to two months. Pixel Rampage needed to raise the money to cover fees for software licensing and server costs. Up until the last minute, the likelihood of the game getting the support it needed looked doubtful. However, enough backers came through and Gridiron Heroes wound up with $7,613 pledged when the time frame closed.

According to Pixel Rampage co-founder David Murray, those who backed the game will have character customization options available to them, but only while the game’s in beta. Other than that, there are no other immediate bonuses planned for backers, though these players will have extra content made available as the game expands.

“We reached out to our fans, because ultimately they will be the ones playing the game,” said Murray. “Letting them name players and create content for the game seemed like a fitting reward — something they’ll really appreciate when they see the character named after themselves winning our version of the Super Bowl.”

The developer decided to pursue crowd funding because it wants to remain totally independent. Murray explained that he hadn’t tried to work with a publisher on the game and that they have no plans to.

“We’re indie through and through, and we love it this way,” he said. “As we grow we might consider looking into it further, but right now we’re happy where we are.”

Kickstarter is proving increasingly popular with independent developers looking to get their dream projects funded, especially now that Double Fine made headlines across the Web and broke records with the millions it raised.