Afterfall: InSanity Demo, w/ Preorder: Insanity

By John Walker on November 15th, 2011 at 5:16 pm.

Quick, let me throw away my dollar first!

Remember Adam’s time with Afterfall: Insanity? Well, you can see for yourself if he was right to struggle to get along with its peculiar ways. How? By what means is such a thing possible, you ask, leaning over your spectacles in utter astonishment. By the means of a demo!

A demo I say!

This is of course the game you can pre-order for a single dollar, in a very strange experiment. Strange, what with their belief that they will only start taking their cut of this pile of single dollars once it reaches ten million high. 10,000,000 pre-orders. You know – massively more than most AAA games get. You know – a million more pre-orders than the most pre-ordered game of all time, Modern Warfare 3 got. They’ve had 18,460 so far. It’s out in ten days. And it’s an experiment that is a little confusing when you look at the small print. Which reveals that you won’t actually get the game for a dollar.

I honestly can’t tell what their plan was. If they meet the obviously impossible target of 10,000,000 pre-orders, then the game will officially cost $1, and they’ll give 10% of their fortune to charity. If it doesn’t, which it obviously won’t, then they’ll give 100% of the dollars they’ve received to charity, and then charge $33.90 for it. So, not honouring the pre-order price, but rather taking your dollar, giving it to a charity, and then asking you for another 30 bucks to play the game. Erm. It’s a “bet”, they explain in the accompanying video:

So what’s going to happen is they’re going to get the kudos of giving a couple of grand to charity, and you’re going to have to pay full price for the game. I’m all in favour of supporting innovative ideas for sales, especially with indies, but this time I think they’ve got it wrong.

(Oh, and it’s not a dollar, either. It’s $1.11, because of some extremely spurious “key generating” fee.)

Well, I guess people throw their one pounds down the National Lottery drain every week, so it’s not that far-fetched. But unless Afterfall manages to garner 9981540 pre-orders in the next ten days, you may as well give your own dollar to the charity of your choice. But still, now you can check out the demo (alt link) to see if you think your dollar is worth the gamble.

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29 Comments »

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  1. RF says:

    The guy in that video looks a bit… Out of it.

  2. Bharg says:

    But is the game any good?
    Do I have to buy it if the goal of 10 million sales isn’t reached? (And is this game on console, too? Because otherwise… 10 million? Nah, not going to happen.)

  3. JackDandy says:

    Oh, those Polaks

    What will they think of next?

  4. mikmanner says:

    Why on Earth did they set the bar so audaciously high?

    • diamondmx says:

      As a guarantee that they’d never reach it – and on the offchance they did reach it – they just made a fortune anyway.

    • Hellraiserzlo says:

      BTW selling 294,985 copies gives them the same 10mil $ from pre orders, it’s just some scam bs selling method that failed for them or possibly sold more then they would have without it, I think that I have seen so far more news about their pricing method then on the actual game.

  5. diamondmx says:

    That video irritated me on many levels.
    The statement that the game is being effectively sold for $1 is basically a lie made to create interest – the worst kind of advertising, imo.
    The powerpoint style of putting up headers next to his chatter is ugly and annoying.
    He has a high buzzwords to content ratio – “by gamers for gamers” for example, is a meaningless statement without some kind of supporting logic.
    Donating to charity is nice and all, but this mad scheme is just a stupid way to do it, and it’s basically just a cheap publicity stunt (because their fans pay for the donation – but the company gets the credit and any associated tax benefits).

  6. Igor Hardy says:

    For the last time, Afterfall is not an indie game in any sense of the word “indie”. Please check your information before you put them into articles.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m going to pretend you wrote that politely, so I don’t just ignore you.

      Please, define “indie” for us all.

    • Igor Hardy says:

      I’m sorry about the way I said it, but I wrote it politely here on RPS before and I was ignored.

      I will give you an example of what (in my opinion) is definitely not an indie game – a game with a 3 million $ budget, set to compete sales wise against the likes of Call of Juarez and Witcher 2:

      http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.parkiet.com%2Fartykul%2F972883.html

      If this is an indie game, then what game isn’t one?

      Why are not games made by EA called indie for example?

    • TCM says:

      I don’t think you fully understand what Indie means.

      It means not attached to a major development studio, basically, developed “independently”.

      The size of the budget or the team doesn’t have any real effect on that.

    • nofing says:

      Well, I’d say a game, that is published by 1C and CD-Project is not an indie game.
      Source: http://negroup.eu/#/games

    • Igor Hardy says:

      @TCM That doesn’t make any sense – you are deemed independent based on, if you company’s name is known well enough or not? Where do you see the financial (or any kind of) independence in that?

      Also, please define a major development studio for me. Afterfall is developed by a major game publisher in Poland. I believe that makes it major enough. Or does the categorization of which companies are indie vary from country to country?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Surely it’s something like:
      Are you receiving funding from a publisher you pitched your idea to, who in return are thus gaining control over high-level design and release timing so they can be confident that their investment in your game will be fruitful?
      If yes: conventional games development.
      If no: independent development.

      The whole ill-defined “is it hip and pixelley and out of the dreaded MAINSTREAM enough” use of the term is annoying.

    • Salt says:

      Trying to define “indie” in terms of financial structures doesn’t really work. You end up with Valve being indie, as they’re financially independent from any big mean publisher.
      Pretty soon really tiresome arguments ensue about how almost no one is really independent because either they’re seeking to make a living off their games and so are held in place by what they think the customer wants, or they’re doing it as a hobby in which case their time is being controlled by their “real” job. Neither of which are good ways to go about creating an artistically independent work.

      Indie is either a general do-it-yourself approach to game creation or a marketing label, depending on how cynical you’re feeling. I spend my time making games on my own in a one-bed flat, but don’t really like the term “indie” due to its lack of clarity and how it can be abused.

      Support interesting innovative games that you find valuable rather than blanket supporting “indie”. I think very few people would actually do something like give blanket support to indie games, but using the language of indie games as being some great hope wrongly indicates that excellent games cannot still be made by big evil corporations. Skyrim’s pretty good.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You end up with Valve being indie, as they’re financially independent from any big mean publisher.

      You mean you end up with correct answers? Valve even meet one of the big check-box criteria: make what they want to, release it when they want to.

      You even say “do-it-yourself” in your second paragraph. They pulled their whole de-facto standard digital distribution platform up from their bootstraps. What do you want from them; to live in “proper” artistic squalor eating cold beans from a can?

      If people want a word for “developer you should feel sorry for and donate to because they’re poor”, “indie” is not it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yes, Valve are a good example that you can be successful and indie.

    • Consumatopia says:

      “The whole ill-defined “is it hip and pixelley and out of the dreaded MAINSTREAM enough” use of the term is annoying.”

      Annoying or not, that’s pretty much what the term means, even outside when applied to media other than video games. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indie

      At the very least, to be remotely useful, the term has to refer to the independence of the actual developers–i.e. the actual breathing human beings doing developing, not of the corporation that happens to employ the developers.

    • Salt says:

      Valve is indeed an independent developer, and a great one at that.

      The issue I have is that the term “indie” as it is in common use doesn’t point toward Valve. I’m not sure what definitions (if any) the common person would offer for what makes a game indie but the closest to a criteria I can see is for the games to be made by small groups, and the games themselves to be in some way quirky and not mainstream.

      To define a little what I mean by common usage: The range of titles that the indiegames.com blog covers, the range of titles covered on TIGSource’s front page, the titles listed on the Steam store under the genre Indie.

      To qualify the “not mainstream” thing: People who make the millionth match-three iOS game are rarely called indie. Perhaps that is just a result of them not getting coverage on news sites (because another match-three game is not news), but these developers tend to also not identify themselves as being indie in online communities.

      We’re rather stuck with what “indie” is seen to mean to most speakers of the language, as it is the meaning as received by our listeners which is usually what concerns us rather than what we as the speaker think the word means.

      It is my view that what the majority of people think “indie” means is inconsistent and poorly defined, so I don’t like to use the word.

      (As an aside I think defining “indie” to mean just the financial independence of the developers is an odd way to go about things.

      Valve itself is financially independent and able to do what it likes, but the person tweaking the physics of Portal 2’s fling plates isn’t necessarily so. I hear that Valve is a great place to work and so all employees probably do have a good level of input into the creative process. But there is no a priori reason why the employees of a not-independent developer couldn’t be given just as much freedom: a good middle manager is after all meant to insulate and protect the creative workforce from the pressures of the money-men. Similarly half of a two-person development team could have no freedom at all in their work and has to just produce the content they’re told to.

      If “indie” were defined in this purely financial way then it would be a valid means by which to categorise games and their developers, but I don’t think that categorisation would be very useful.)

    • mseifullah says:

      I think there are “independent” developers and then there are “indie” developers.

      An independent developer means that, as a company, you’re not owned by a parent company, you’re not held hostage by a publisher’s design constraints or release dates, and optionally, you’re publishing your own titles.

      An “indie” developer means that you’re a relatively small working group that doesn’t have much of a catalog of prior games if any at all, you don’t have a wealth of financial backing or a budget like a AAA title does, and usually (but not always) your game is genre-bending, abstract (or exceptionally stylized), or hyper-focused around a particular concept.

      I think I could stand by those definitions. When I hear “indie” game developer I don’t think it’s the same as an “independent” game developer. And going by that criteria, I think everyone that we collectively recognize as indie or independent would fall neatly into the correct bins.

      For goodness sake, by some of these rigid definitions mentioned above, id Software was an “indie” developer until last year. Which we all know isn’t the case (rather, they were independent developers).

      In reference to Afterfall, with a budget in the range of $3,000,000, professional hardware all around, and a big development team, I wouldn’t call them indie. I’d call them an independent developer that has strong financial backing to fund their first title (which is attempting to be a standard AAA play-it-safe game).

  7. Highstorm says:

    I feel a bout of insanity coming on after falling for this deal.

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This seems like a nice idea. If they’ve only recently announced the pre-order deal it’s just.. silly. Okay, it’s nice if (IF) they donate all that money to charity, but such a short timespan for such a large amount of preorders? And even if they’ve announced it earlier, then they should have really ramped up their pr to go with the pre-order idea.

    While it may be well-intentioned, this is a great way to get people to distrust you. After all, there’s no way the target will be met and it probably wouldn’t with a quarter the number. This is no contest, it only becomes a way to see if people trust you with their money to give it to charity.

  9. olala says:

  10. Shooop says:

    Of course they don’t say what charity they’re giving to…

    • Salt says:

      Some time after they posted the video, they made a blog entry indicating that Amnesty International was the chosen charity.

  11. cronach says:

    Am I the only one on here who actually played the demo? I liked it…once you get past the terrible dialogue, I thought the game looks and plays great.

  12. Araxiel says:

    I somehow waited for a “I am games developer guy, and this is my game. It is sci-fi FPS and costs one dollar. But if not one million preorders are made, it costs thirty-three dollars to play this game… in 10 days.”

  13. fuggles says:

    Wow, this game affected me badly. I think it may have been the CONSTANT flickering from the fearlock but I was getting really bad nausea playing this demo.

    Working through this like the pro I am then the game is alright. It’s basically a hamfisted dead space where you are a doctor who can fix everything that goes wrong, much like a certain engineer. The melee combat lacks weight and my hammer kept disappearing from the game when I picked up a gun, which sucked. The cutscenes were hilariously wobble-headed and I have no idea what happened in the build up to the boss.

    That said, the last level intruiged me as it had ideas about what the world it had created and was a huge contrast to the first level. It’s a mid-level budget game in quality and from this would be worth a punt, although not for me as I feel ill still from the demo and need a rest.