My only concern for this game is that Bill has a tale worth telling. The implication is that a prequel is only something he's pursuing because the sequel is tied up, legally, with a publisher that won't/can't publish it. How does the year Mona spent at Castle Warg prior to the events of the first game justify its own game and serve as a necessary installment in the saga as a whole?
The game is basically going to completely spell out the backstory that AVS1 would merely allude to in dialog in what I thought was one of the better storytelling choices in a game people love to beat up for its on-the-nose writing. Is this material crying out to be explicated, or are we getting the result of Bill's desperation to make an AVS project at all? It's impossible not to suspect the latter because if the days of Mona's captivity were so important to depict, why weren't they in the first game?
If Bill was going to go independent I kind of wish he'd have gone with an all-new IP or at least Ghost Pirates. After all, isn't the benefit of having to resort to the arduously slow (it's already been two years since Year One was announced) process of making the game on your own time supposed to be the freedom to do whatever you want? Why not that robot assassin game he's mentioned he has in his head, or whatever that rejected adventure game proposal was involving a ship?
My suspicion is that Bill's passion for AVS and perhaps his belief that an "established franchise" was his safest bet for breaking even were the motivating factors here. Of course, as you've pointed out, Autumn Moon has made promising games and look to be on a course for improvement, and what little we've seen of the art looks incredible, so I can't not be excited about any project they've got in the pipeline. I'm just dubious of "Well, we can't make a sequel, so let's make a prequel!" as the soundest of foundations for a narrative-driven game. AVS1 ended on a huge cliffhanger; how are the fans going to react to a game that takes place earlier in the chronology?
Day one pledge and day one purchase for me, by the way.