Kickstarter – successes, failures, and hopes
Kickstarter has risen to become an important platform for video game development; at present, six of its ten highest funded projects are gaming related, and it works as both a test of the waters for developers for how much interest there is as well as a convenient form of pre-order.
Peter Cooper, writer of the Telikos Protocol, explained the benefits of Kickstarter on episode #15 of Nerds Assemble. Among specific advantages he mentioned were Kickstarter’s large community and how progressively more funding comes from within the community itself as attention to a project grows. However, this double-edged sword also gives the community the power to end projects they have little faith in.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous breakout successes, new projects are announced every day. With the need to convince investors in the ability to deliver, many emphasise their links to older titles and companies. Here is a selection of those from today alone:
Spud’s Quest developer Chris Davis has announced that his target, a modest £5,000, has been comfortably reached, meaning his “labour of love project spanning ten years” should now be going ahead. Heavily inspired by the Dizzy series of yesteryear, Davis’s release says he hopes it can “re-ignite the dormant adventure puzzle genre”.
This is not the only adventure puzzle project though – the Oliver twins, developers of the original Dizzy series, last Friday launched a project to fund a new game following the intrepid egg. However, Davis suggests that their goal – £350,000 – may well have helped him, with backers finding his target “a more appealing alternate option”.
Xsyon: Apocalypse is seeking $250,000 to develop a sandbox MMORPG, allowing players to not only fight creatures and run quests, but farm for crafting materials, level land and build towns. Aiming to expand on the currently-running Xsyon: Prelude, described as a simplified version of the game Apocalypse intends to be, it remains to be seen if Notorious Games have attracted the reputation from this earlier work to raise this level of funding.
Intersteller Marines developer Zero Point Software have made an announcement, essentially conceding defeat at raising the funding hoped for. With a $600,000 goal finishing tomorrow but currently only reaching $150,000 of that, the pair released a video last week, acknowledging “that the adventure of Interstellar Marines might just be over – before it’s even begun!” This, shortly after announcing that the project now involved Terri Brosius, voice actor on numerous games but most prominently SHODAN in System Shock.
Finally, and for something slightly different, a project has been started to fund “the definitive Ocean book”. Simply called The History of Ocean, it seeks to be the history of Ocean Software, one of the major players in the UK game market in the 1980s and 90s. To be written by Roger Kean, formerly editor of Newsfield gaming magazines such as Crash and AMTIX, and has been announced by Retro Fusion magazine – a title itself that has itself used crowd sourcing in the past, funding its relaunch earlier this year via Kickstarter’s rival, Indiegogo.