Monday, 16 April 2012

Kickstarter, Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun

Kickstarter - "We’re the world's largest funding platform for creative projects."

Over the last few months gaming circles have been discussing the new phenomena of crowd sourced game funding. A series of games (Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun) have gone through kickstarter for development fund raising. These projects have offered a series of rewards for backers with the ultimate bonus of seeing these games made.

The current state of the gaming industry has seen a massive shift towards casual gaming. Angry birds, pop cap games and different iphone games have been creating a lot of money for very little development expense. In comparison, old style and AAA games take years and millions of dollars to make and they also carry the risk of being panned by critics or not selling well. It is only logical for publishers to back easy money with less risk. Unfortunately this trend has caused a steep decline in harder, deeper, core games and the sullying of beloved older series; XCOM and SYNDICATE as an FPS for a recent example.

Two months ago Double Fine's Tim Schafer launched the double fine adventure kickstarter project. In around a month DF adventure raised over 3 million dollars from gamers around the world. Very impressive, very inspiring for a lot of developers. Tim's rallying call was the death of old Point-and-Click adventure games. Tim pointed out(pun) that large publishers don't back these games anymore and without kickstarter these types of games would remain dead and buried.

Coming off the success of double fine adventure inXile's Bryan Fargo launched the wasteland 2 kickstarter. A sequel to the legendary 80s RPG wasteland; a precursor to the fallout series and definitely a trend setter for all RPGs on the PC that followed it. Bryan reiterated Tim's message about publishers not willing to back these riskier type games and that only with kickstarter would it be possible to produce games true to their source and core audience.

Shadowrun is another game being crowd funded on kickstarter. Another old school RPG, like wasteland, that would have no chance of being made in the current climate of game publishing. Shadowrun is offering a return to its RPG roots after creating a more cookie cutter FPS for the Xbox and PC.

The success or failure of the above games will probably determine the viability of kickstarter as a game production agent. I'll leave you with some stats about the games at the time of writing.

Double Fine Adventure                 Wasteland 2                          Shadowrun
Game Type: Point-and-Click             Game Type: RPG                    Game Type: RPG
Backers: 87,142+                            Backers: 56,000+                    Backers: 24,000+
Raised: $3.3 million+                       Rasied: $2.7 million+                Raised: $1.1 million+
Time Remaining: FINISHED             Time Remaining: 18hrs             Time Remaining: 12 days

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