HAVANA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a country where most video games are pirated from U.S. studios and shared on flash drives, one daring developer is bucking convention by creating Cuba’s first independent video game, funding it through a first-of-its-kind crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Josuhe Pagliery, a Cuban multimedia artist and founder of Empty Head Games, is launching the campaign for Savior, a fully-animated 2D platformer featuring artwork and animation influenced by Pagliery’s career in Cuban art. The $10,000 Indiegogo raise will fund development, animation, and art design for the game.
This is a bold step for Cuba, where a lack of banking infrastructure, limited internet access, and strict government regulations still prevent most forms of free enterprise. Undaunted, Pagliery is one in a new breed of innovators who are developing technologies and products under trying circumstances.
“Cubans are just as fascinated by video games as anyone else in the rest of the world,” said Pagliery. “Players share games on hard drives and jury-rig their phones to play Pokemon Go in the country’s slow, scarce, and expensive Wi-Fi.”
Not only is creating the game in Cuba out of the ordinary, so is the game itself. Early in the story, the characters discover they’re inside of a video game that’s falling apart, and their existence unravels from there. Players set out to save this world from total collapse, encountering many strange creatures and worlds along the way.
The game is intended to entertain, but it’s a serious step forward for the state of innovation in Cuba. The country only recently made internet access available to regular citizens via public Wi-Fi hotspots. Many Cubans can only access their favorite games, many of which are American, via the illegal but tolerated “Paquete Semanal,” an offline internet in the form of a weekly hard drive that customers pay to have delivered directly to their door.
“The limitations in Cuba, especially the lack of internet access, make it very challenging to develop a video game,” said Pagliery. “But we’re confident that we can overcome them, especially with the help of the Indiegogo backers.”
The campaign kicks off Monday, October 24 and will run through the end of November. Donors to the campaign can receive early access to the game, original artwork created by Pagliery, and VIP tickets to the Savior demo event, hosted at an art gallery in Havana early next year.
“For us, this isn’t just a video game,” said Pagliery. “It’s a chance to show Cuba, and the world, that something like this is possible. It’s our opportunity to set the course for video game development in Cuba and create a model for tech innovators in the country.”