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American McGee's free-to-play Akaneiro: Demon Hunters already exists, but needs Kickstarter to be fully realised

"The problem is we're out of time and money."

Remember Alice creator American McGee's Akaneiro: Demon Hunters? Perhaps you've even played it as it's been in closed beta since November.

If this is the first you've heard of it, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is a free-to-play action RPG that blends Japanese mythology with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. It's also gorgeous. Its painterly aesthetic owes a lot to Clover's Okami, and while not entirely original, it's still beautiful and far surpasses the lackluster presentation we're used to with free titles.

While Akaneiro is already slated for an open beta later this month, developer Spicy Horse ran out of funds realising this ambitious project. "The problem is we're out of time and money," said the developer on its recently launched Kickstarter, where it noted the game has been in development since mid 2011.

Though Spicy Horse already has a playable beta build, it's not satisfied with simply releasing a game then waiting eons to spruce it up. "We want to provide players with an ARPG that doesn't ever end, and doesn't have you waiting around for a year on an expansion that you finish in two weeks," said the developer. "After release, we'll strive to push the boundaries of our world further with each passing month."

"What's been achieved both artistically and mechanically is fantastic... but it's just not enough to call the game complete, to satisfy our fans or ourselves."

So what will Spicy Horse add if it meets its $200,000 funding goal?

For starters, it will be able to make iOS and Android versions of the game, rather than simply limit it to PC and Mac. It will also add co-op, equipment crafting, and hire more community managers to keep the audience engaged. These are the big changes, but Spicy Horse will also add loads of smaller features like extra dungeons, dialogue, weapon classes, spirit helper pets, and leaderboards.

Regarding the payment model, Spicy Horse was adamant that it "will never apply prohibitive costs to core gameplay content or character progression" and "nothing will be off limits to non-paying players." Instead you'll simply be able to purchase in-game currency with real money as a convenience.

As far as rewards go, Spicy Horse is granting early beta access to the iOS and Android versions of the game for $10. Those who pledge $20 will gain access to a digital version of Dark Horse's Akaneiro: Demon Hunters comic book along with an exclusive Clever Huntsman's Axe and Little Red Cap's Hooded Cloak, and those who pledge $30 will get all of the above along with an exclusive Golden Inugami pet and a digital soundtrack.

As of now the Kickstarter is at $10,250 of its $200,000 goal with 29 days to go before its deadline on 2nds February. Fans of Akaneiro can vote for it on Steam Greenlight where it's currently sitting at #3, so it will most likely come to Valve's popular distribution portal.

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