Meet the Devs: Gears for Breakfast

A Hat in Time

Meet the Devs is a new series of articles where you can get to know Denmark’s games industry from the inside.

Taking your game to Kickstarter is not easy. Today’s official stats show that more than 65% of the games-related projects never get to be successfully funded.

But then on the other hand you have A Hat in Time, a Kickstarter project that, with the promise of bringing back the gameplay and magic of the classic Nintendo 64-era titles such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie, has managed to secure its funding in a really short amount of time.

Actually, scratch that. It hasn’t simply secured it’s funding quickly. In just 12 hours after the Kickstarter page went up the project was already 50% funded. Less than two days later the game had reached its goal of $30.000. And the counter keeps going up with over $95.000 at the time of this writing and still 23 days to go before the project is closed and the developers Gears for Breakfast get the money. And with every new donation the project gets closer to more stretch goals such as extra chapters in the game, full voice acting and even a song by music composer Grant Kirkhope of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong fame.

And while the developer is composed of members from the UK, US and Australia, the founder and director of the project is from Aalborg, Denmark.

Jonas Kærlev

Jonas Kærlev is a 22-year-old software development student juggling between his 4th semester of studies and developing A Hat in Time. A year ago he decided to start working on a new project that he could put on his resumé and that fueled his determination from the very beginning, but according to him it was not until December of 2012 that he knew where he was heading with it.

Starting the project wasn’t easy either. His biggest obstacle at the beginning was “art assets, definitely!“, says Jonas, “it’s difficult to sell your idea when it’s all boxes moving around, haha!” Luckily he knew Trey Brown, who two months after the project started helped create the vision with his 3D assets, which drink from the influence of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

One quick look at the game’s current alpha build and it’s clear where the game is drawing inspiration from. Jonas makes it very clear that he has always been a fan of Nintendo and the classic Rare games and some of his past projects, such as his Team Fortress 2 mods, try to reenact the experiences of classic games. On the Kickstarter page for his game he claims he is trying to push (but cannot promise) the game for the Wii U console. “We all wanted to have [A Hat in Time] on a Nintendo console because the genre’s root is so close to that company. But it never really evolved to more than wishful thinking until the Kickstarter campaign exploded!“, he explains.

Chapter 1

One of the biggest hooks of the project that is helping it gain such a massive amount of fans is the promise of bringing back that Nintendo-styled magic. What did those games have that are missing in today’s AAA titles? “It’s fun to explore areas instead of just running through them“, clarifies Jonas, “and I think the N64 did contain a lot of exploration due to its limited ability to render larger scenes. There is a lot of charm to exploring an area in depth and becoming familiar with all corners of it!

We asked him what advice he would give to other indie developers looking to take their game to Kickstarter. His reply: “If you’re going on Kickstarter, make sure to have something presentable! Have made significant progress on your game before you show it, and not until then is it time to show the world what you’re capable of!

You can see in-game footage of the game as well as Jonas’ Kickstarter presentation below:

Gears for Breakfast Founded: 2013

Location: Aalborg / Worldwide


Notable games
A Hat in Time (Under development)
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