Ryan Green’s semi-autobiographical tale of losing a child to cancer has exceeded its goal on Kickstarter, with a little under 3 days left to go. At time of writing, the narrative-based game has raised $89,835 – a little over its initial target of $85k.
The game isn’t being solely funded by supporters – Green and his wife have taken out a loan to the tune of around $75k to supplement development.
If you haven’t heard of That Dragon, Cancer, then you might want to steel yourself – its origins are more than a little heartbreaking. A little over 4 years ago, the Greens’ son Joel was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor. Despite brain surgery and years of radiation therapy – which must have been devastating for the family to go through – the tumors kept recurring. Joel sadly passed away earlier this year.
Parents Ryan and Amy announced That Dragon, Cancer before Joel’s passing, hoping to raise awareness of the disease and the devastating effect it can have on families. Earlier last month, the pair took to Kickstarter to secure the financial backing they need to finish the game.
Taking the form of a first-person point-and-click game, That Dragon, Cancer is described as “an adventure game that acts as a living painting; a poem; an interactive retelling of Ryan and Amy Green’s experience raising their son Joel”. Eschewing any kind of puzzles, players instead simply observe and interact with the environment, immersing themselves in both their surroundings and the events around them – as well as the emotional heartache such a terrible situation evokes in a parent.
As you might expect, it’s not going to be for everyone; some will likely find its subject matter too difficult to deal with. But there are plenty who want to see the Greens’ story come to fruition, as the support for the Kickstarter campaign attests.
In response to hitting the funding goal, father Ryan Green posted an update on the game’s Kickstarter page. “Since we have surpassed our original goal, we wanted to offer some small tokens of thanks for helping us reach our future goals,” he wrote. “Every dollar that we raise beyond the original goal will help us avoid $75,000 in debt as we complete the game. That means we’ll be even closer to working on our next project: a special gift we have in mind, a Top Secret feature that we can’t wait to share with the world.”
If the game reaches $95k before the end of the Kickstarter, backers will be rewarded with a real-life recreation of a poster that hangs in the in-game nursery – itself a recreation of a real-life piece of artwork created by Ryan Green’s sister, Stephanie. The poster depicts a number of trees, with the foliage comprised of fingerprints from the Greens’ children. You can see the artwork below.
At $110k, the Greens hope to gift a PDF artbook consisting of concept art from the game, as well as artwork donated from supporters and fans.
You can see Ryan Green’s reaction to hitting the funding target in the video below: