Industry Spotlight: Luke Crane, head of games at Kickstarter

In our series of interviews of industry personalities Luke Crane was the natural next installment. Luke is the head of games at Kickstarter, and a very visible evangelist of what allows indie publishers to create games not otherwise possible.

Kickstarter is an undeniable force for creativity in the tabletop space, with board games being a huge part of Kickstarter’s own success in encouraging new works of art ranging from movies to music, and from literature to performance art, as well as gadgets and many other projects that make life more interesting.

Luke lives and works in an emerald cave in New York City with his cat Danzig. He makes games like Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard and Inheritance. She fake murders a tiny duck.

How did you get involved with Kickstarter?

I was very lucky, and just in the right place at the right time in 2012. Games were blowing up on Kickstarter and they wanted to hire a dedicated specialist to cover the category and work with creators. I was speaking at PAX that year and met with the Head of Community about the potential job.

What kinds of games interest you the most? Video games, board games, tabletop RPGs, miniatures…? Themes? Styles?

I like RPGs and war games.

Can you name some of your favorite games in different media and describe what you like about them?

Mario Kart, D&D, King Arthur Pendragon, Darkest Dungeon, XCOM, Memoir ’44, Command and Colors: Napoleonics.
Mostly, I like games with very tangible goals—not scoring points, but achieving an objective, overcoming and obstacle or vanquishing a foe.

How has your experience as an RPG developer affected how you view the games industry? How does it affect your work with Kickstarter?

I am completely biased and will always love RPGs the most. Forever.
But working at Kickstarter has exposed me to thousands of games I would have never seen before. Like Darkest Dungeon. That’s a great game!

What are some of the most exciting trends you’ve observed in games recently?

I love that being an independent creator is so easy in 2018. You don’t have to go hat in hand to a publisher. You can build up your own network, create your own fans, collect your own money and publish your own game. I think we take for granted how powerful a force this is. Not just that some cool games got made that wouldn’t have been made otherwise. But that we’re creating a foundation for these creators to continue to build on for the rest of their careers.

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the games industry?

Don’t worry about “the industry.” Just make games.

Do you share our obsession with Nutella? If not, is there something else that might inspire you in the same way?

I like Nutella. But I like chocolate too. And curry. And falafel.
Great, now I’m hungry. Off to grab some food!