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Developer Jason Rohrer puts ‘Diamond Trust of London’ away and forges ahead

It was a process riddled with publisher swaps, hairline profits, and uncertainty.


The work onDiamond Trust continues, but not in the way most would expect.

Three years ago, Jason Rohrer began down a tumultuous path that would eventually end with the release of Diamond Trust of London, the first ever player-funded Nintendo DS game. It was a process riddled with publisher swaps, hairline profits, and uncertainty.

But despite the project's many hurdles, Diamond Trust released to the world, and by August 28th, the packages were away. Rohrer shipped 861 copies stateside, and an additional 302 internationally. As noted on Rohrer's Kickstarter page, he left the post office with a 26-foot receipt and an international postage bill for $4,927.95.

Rohrer hasn't had the chance to play against fellow Diamond Trusters yet — not beyond the board game mock-up he and his wife used to hammer down rules and scout problems — but is curious to see how others adapt. People are still tinkering with the game, and as Rohrer says, there's a lot to learn about the mechanics.

"I don't really even know how to play it well," said Rohrer. Although he can tackle the game's AI just fine, Rohrer doubts his abilities to best a truly talented player.

"I'm interested to see over time what a really good player of Diamond Trust is," said Rohrer.

"Are we going to be doing this for years?"

The work on Diamond Trust continues, but not in the way most would expect. It boils down to logistical work: getting everything packaged, labeled, and shipped.

"At this point, I'm just trying to hopefully get the rest of the cartridges out to people who actually want to play [Diamond Trust]," said Rohrer.

Consideration is given to the remaining cartridges still boxed up in his garage, all of which have already been funded by Kickstarter. They're not what Rohrer calls a lost cause, or even a push to make a profit. Rather, they're simply waiting to be sold, says Rohrer. How long that will take remains a mystery.

"Looking at this mountain of boxes in our garage, wondering how many years we'll actually be shipping," Rohrer mused. "Are we doing to be doing this for years?"

One thing is certain in the developer's future: his next project. Diamond Trust was three years of work, but not three years of solid work.

"It was almost sort of a hobby I was pursuing while doing other things," said Rohrer. He's still keeping a tight grip on the details for his newest game, The Castle Doctrine, but did reveal that it will be a massively multiplayer game.

"It's definitely the most exciting thing I've worked on in terms of, ‘Oh my god, what an opportunity to make this crazy, amazing thing,'" said Rohrer. "It was one of those ideas that came to me out of the blue ... nothing like it has ever existed before."

Rohrer expects to put out a call for testers in the upcoming months. Until then, more boxes wait.

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