You might know about Cyanide & Happiness from their web comics online, their random comic generator, or their YouTube show. You might also know them by their incredibly successful Kickstarter for their new game, Joking Hazard. They started out hoping to achieve their goal of $10,000 dollars and have smashed it currently standing at $2,533,634 dollars. Joking Hazard comes from their random comic generator and allows you and your friends to come up with the funniest three panel comic you can think of. I had the opportunity to talk to Dave McElfatrick of Cyanide & Happiness and ask him about the campaign and what they see themselves doing next.
Talking Comics (TC): You started out from web comics, to a show on YouTube, to Kickstarter, what do you think is the next step?
Dave: We could go in any direction in 2016. We’ve been discussing the possibility of videogames, which is something we’re all very enthused about. The last thing we want to do is make a shoddy licensed game with the C&H name tacked onto it that’ll end up in the bin along with most license adaptations- we want to make something truly great. We all have cool concepts for different games, so we’ll see what the future holds. We’re looking to expand upon our Youtube channel this year too, so keep an eye out. We’ve got some cool stuff in the works.
TC: Do you have any other ideas for games based on Cyanide & Happiness?
Dave: As mentioned above, videogames, definitely. Card games, nothing on the horizon, yet. We wanna focus on fun expansions for Joking Hazard once it’s released. We have a ton of ideas that we find funny.
TC: How will your game be unique from other card games?
Dave: Joking Hazard is very visual compared to similar games, and allows you as a group to build and tell a funny story. There’ve been comparisons to Cards Against Humanity, which is flattering, but I think where we stand out from everything else is the ability to sit in our seats as comic creators- you get to use your imagination and try to make your friends laugh, and then you can look at the finished piece and try to discuss the whole story amongst yourselves. To try and make sense of it. That’s what makes it so much fun for us- Joking Hazard throws a LOT of absurdity at you, and trying to make sense of it is half the humour for us. It throws curveballs at us all the time.
TC: What inspired you to turn the random comic generator in to a card game?
Dave: Pure chance. Rob printed out all the generator panels, cut them out and started screwing around with them. We sorta made rules from there, and it turned into a game that we found fun. We’d take it to parties and such and get people to play it there, to test it out. People were into it, and we wanted to see what the world thought of it.
TC: Your approach to the stretch goals is interesting, getting people to do stuff as opposed to just monetary milestones. Why did you decide to format it that way?
Dave: Monetary milestones is no fun. You can’t get excited behind the message “make us more money and we’ll give you a thing”. No, that’s a corporate approach, and it’s cold and it’s not us. We’re making a fun card game, so let’s spread awareness of it in a way that can get everyone to do fun goofy stuff that makes everyone laugh. We even approached the levels in a videogamey kinda way- complete these achievements to see the next world, and what achievements it holds. I would charge on in a videogame when I was younger because I wanted to see the next world- the same principle applies here. You want to see what comes next in terms of the challenge.
TC: Why did you decide to crowd fund the game as opposed to doing it independently?
Dave: We wanted to see if people were truly into the idea- we didn’t need a whole lot to try and get the ball rolling into making the game a reality, but we wanted to test the waters and see if people were into it- but the support has been insanely overwhelming. It’s been absolutely bonkers crazy, and people are going ape-sh*t for it.
TC: How does it feel to see this Kickstarter receive such an overwhelming amount of funding and support?
Dave: Intense, man. It’s been crazy intense and amazing to see that people are still as excited about Cyanide & Happiness after all these years. We’ve been doing this for 12 years now, and to see that the cartoon’s jumped to newer generations, essentially, is incredible. We’re stupidly thankful and humbled.
TC: After the success from this game, if you were to make another game, would you use crowd funding or do it independently?
Dave: I honestly couldn’t say, it depends on the landscape at the time and what opportunities are available to bring what we want to do into reality. I definitely don’t think Joking Hazard would’ve garnered the attention it has through a traditional deal, so in the long run, crowdfunding has been better for us. Somethings great new opportunities come to you, and sometimes you gotta dip your toe in the water and find them for yourself. In this instance, we tried something out and it’s been beyond successful.
You can still support the Kickstarter but need to be quick as there are only a couple days left until the Kickstarter is over. They have great rewards and the stretch goals are the most imaginative and best ones I have seen so far. The game will be available on their website after all the ones for the Kickstarter have been produced but will be missing out on the Kickstarter exclusives.