Interview: The Trials And Tribulations Behind Bringing Avant-Garde Stealth Horror Tangiers To Life

On July 16, 2013, Jess Harvey launched a Kickstarter campaign for Tangiers, an original game which she pitched as “stealth gameplay meets the darker avant-garde of the 20th century.” Tangiers looked to be a surrealist take on the stealth genre, featuring abstract visuals, unsettling set pieces and a reactive world that changed based on your approach to missions. Everything about it interested me.

Unfortunately, the game missed its original release date of August 2014. But I’ve followed this project for years, never giving up hope that it would avoid falling into the void alongside other cancelled Kickstarter projects. I caught up with Jess to learn more about the game itself and the numerous challenges that she faced throughout its development — homelessness, health issues, and more. Against many odds, Tangiers is still coming.

Check out our interview below, which also includes some never before seen images from the game!

Q: To start, when can we expect Tangiers to ship?

Goal is to get it out by the end of the year. Weighing health and workload, that probably means the last quarter.

Q: Tangiers has been a part of your life now for about five years – how has your drive to complete the game shaped your day to day?

Oof. I wake up, spend a few hours dealing with external obligations then grind on Tangiers ‘til late. This project is all consuming, most facets of my life revolve around it or exist to support the game. Healthy? Probably not, but the game is everything and it is only appropriate that Tangiers’ production is a grand act of mortification.

Q: Over the course of development, additional rounds of financial backing fell through – what was your approach to finding funds to complete the game? Was a publishing deal with indie-friendly publishers like Devolver, Raw Fury, etc. out of the question?

The big hurdle for the past year or two, following the collapse of what should have been our package for finishing things up has been external. I’ve mentioned it in the updates but my health and living conditions have been tenuous at best in recent years. It’s hard to follow up with negotiations and quite disingenuous to commit to an actual deal when I don’t know if health will allow me to actually do any work for the next month, or if I’m in a situation where the presence of a roof over my head the following week is highly questionable.

Getting a funding deal in itself is a huge bit of work; managing that against a scenario that’d be hellish in isolation has been… hard to say the least.

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