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Kickstart - The Future of Gaming?

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Kickstart - The Future of Gaming? Empty Kickstart - The Future of Gaming?

Post by Dass on Thu 27 Sep 2012, 6:31 pm

I've not posted much in this section in a while, so thought I'd restart with someone that might be bringing back the gaming days of the 90's I so long for.

It all starts with Tim Schafer (I can see the confused faces), a major face at LucasArts during the 90's he's responsible for Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and the much adored first two Monkey Island instalments. He decided 15yrs after leaving LucasArts he wanted to return to making the adventure games he had back then, sadly the industry has moved on and unless he fancied making a Monkey Island concept into a FPS he wasn't gonna get much love (money) from publishers out there. This is where Kickstart came into Mr Schafer's mind, you may now be wondering what exactly Kickstart is and in essence its a fairly simple thing. It's essentially a funding site for various projects namely to do with filming or music, it allowed people to put their ideas on display and ask for a specific funding level for the project via a pledge system over a set time period (normally a month, if the amount is met the pledge money is charged). Yet Schafer felt why not a video game, so early this year asked for $400,000 funding over the next month for his project to create a game in the spirit of those he'd made back in the 90's. His goal was met before he went to sleep on that first night, 8hrs was all it took to reach the required amount and by the end of the month the project had earned $3.3m.

This success has lead to numerous video game projects being funded through the same method from many small new franchise name games to projects much like Schafer's trying to bring back the experiences of a generation past. Below I will list 3 games that may interest those with a desire for some game genres to roll back the years and not just be turned into a FPS version.

Broken Sword 5 - A hark back to the graphics of 1 & 2 this will be, no more 3D but 2D will once again rule the roost. A great number of the voice actors from the original game are being brought back including Nico. $400k asked for $771k pledged.

Wasteland 2 - The original was a Black Isle (Fallout, Icewind Dale & Planescape Torment) game made in the late 80's and in many ways the pre-cursor to the much more successful Fallout series. Brian Fargo one of the main guys at the studio back then decided he wanted another RPG with his new company Inxile and inlisted his buddies at Obsidian (Alpha Protocol, Fallout: NV and KOTOR II) in on the action ( for a background reference most of the Black Isle team ended up with Obsidian eventually). $900k asked for $2.9m pledged.

Project Entery - After seeing the success of Wasteland 2 Obsidian decided to delve into the sphere as well. Looking to create a game in the same image as Fallout II, Baldurs Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment they launched Project Enterity a game that would bring back isometric RPG gaming back to us once more. Obsidian tried something a little different in that any excess money they got through the 30 days of funding they would add new stretch goals for every $200k or so they made, these goals would include new races, companions, regions, mac/linux, player housing and various other improvements. A $1.1m goal was set currently with 19 days still to go $2.05m has been raised.

So it's been quite a nostalgia boomed year for Kickstart projects, you may be wondering why some of these studios didn't go the conventional route in making these games and it comes down to publishers not will to give funding to a game that while making a decent profit will never bring in the big numbers that many are looking for these days. Publishers also demand to much control over projects due to it being their money and are often afraid of taking risky approaches in game design preferring to try and appeal to the widest audience even if that means a game is compromised at the core. The fact any new game or relaunch of a franchise is seemingly turned into a FPS or the fact many have noticed a dumbing down of certain game series either through less challenging puzzles or a more action orientated approach to the game (Tomb Raider & Resident Evil come to mind).

Is Kickstart the jolt the gaming community has needed to breathe new life and variety into a industry getting more like Hollywood in mentality by the day to afraid to differ from the norm now money has become the bottom line to the exclusion of all else. Will this tool give the developers the chance to create the games they want to play without the pressures of external influences and allow a closer interaction between themselves and their new backers, namely you.


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Post by pscott on Fri 28 Sep 2012, 10:58 am

Good work highlighting this, I read Gamecentral on the Metro free newspaper so was aware of these.

The stagnation of games is worrying, Resident Evil 6?, though you do get some smashing novelties on PSN and Xbox live so studios are still trying newish ideas but a lot of these are download only.

If somebody wants to start a kickstarter campaign for Elite you can count on me.

Again well done


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Post by Guest on Fri 28 Sep 2012, 11:10 am

Fascinating read.

The question is console technology fast outgrowing game development? This is where I think the crux of the matter is. So many games are advertised nowadays with the little message at the bottom which says 'not actual gameplay' this from a viewer perspective leaves me feeling cheated that they are using 'Hollywood' glamour to plug a game and yet the display and trailer does not in anyway match the game. Look at EA Sports who stick to a simple formula which makes annual releases so successful. In a sense I cry for console like the Lawnmower Man. Living and experiencing the game.

I think there is room for Kickstart. Question is will it's position be strong enough in today's development technology?


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Post by randy-poffo on Wed 03 Oct 2012, 3:54 pm

I would say todays market is the best for things like kickstarter.
With the likes of steam, who are opening there doors to more indy stuff, Apples ios, android market all have a place for this sort of project.


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