Kitching Up With Catchstarter’s Big Names

By Alec Meer on April 16th, 2012 at 7:30 pm.

Delicious money

We’ve posted about exactly this many Kickstarter projects recently: a few. But what’s been going on lately with the likes of The Banner Saga, Leisure Suit Larry, Shadowland, Starlight Inception, Wasteland 2 and Bionite: Origins? In order to find out, I’ve just turned up unexpectedly at each of their doors, stared creepily at them for a few seconds and then wandered on to the next one.

Shadowrun Returns:

$1,133,209 pledged of its $400,000 goal. It’s just added a new reward tier at $125, which gets you a deluxe boxed edition including USB dog-tag, and if they can hit $1.5m they’ll add in a backers-only mission with will tie together plotlines and whatnot from the previous games.

Wasteland 2:

Wasteland has all the money at $2,704,832 of its $900,000 goal, and with 19 hours left on the clock it’s added a new $30 tier which’ll get you “An extra digital download of the game in any format; Access to a collection of exclusive Ranger portraits that will double the pool of character portraits you have to choose from at the start of the game when you are rolling up your Rangers; Access to a four-episode Video Development Blog; A novella by Chris Avellone based on the universe of Wasteland.”

Bionite: Origins

The Battlezone-like has raised its target from $15,000 to $30,000 – and currently sits at $19,000.

Leisure Suit Larry

The remake of In The Land of the Lounge Lizards is now at $350,000 of $500,000 target, with 15 days to go. Al Lowe recently did an AMA on Reddit.

Starlight Inception

This space sim doesn’t seem to have fired up public affection to the extent of its peers, with $30,737 pledged of its $150,000 goal. To try and help things along, they’veBig old FAQ and pics of the intended physical rewards.

The Banner Saga

This is doing rather well at $542,281 of $100,000 goal. A recent development of note is Journey composer Austin Wintory joining the team, and is providing new, music-based rewards for backers.

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76 Comments »

  1. subedii says:

    If Relic wants to kickstart Homeworld 3, I would probably be OK with this.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Hell, if Relic wants to Kickstart Relic so THQ tanking doesn’t kill them i’ll pinch in…

      • Torgen says:

        I wonder, if THQ goes under, and in the unlikely case they owe Relic money, if Relic could demand their IP back in payment as a creditor?

        • Ignorant Texan says:

          Sadly, this won’t be possible. From the Wikipedia page for Relic Entertainment:

          On April 27, 2004, publisher THQ announced it was acquiring Relic for close to $10 million in an all-cash transaction, completed around early May, 2004

        • Werthead says:

          In theory, sure. Whether the HOMEWORLD name would be judged to be worth anything is another question altogether. They’d probably be better off trying to get the COMPANY OF HEROES name (since the DAWN OF WAR name is probably tied up with GW as well as THQ).

          EDIT: Or maybe not. I forgot that Relic was bought outright. It is possible that THQ could offload them onto another company though. Relic games make enough money and have enough name-value that someone else would probably be interested.

          • Optimaximal says:

            At the end of the day, if THQ went under and took Relic (as an entity) with them, the entire team could shoot off under a new name and likely acquire enough capital on past success (kickstarter, venture funding etc.) alone to keep going.

    • Xune says:

      I NEED Homeworld 3 in my life but it’s not coming from Relic and even if it did it wouldn’t be the game I crave. They just aren’t the same studio that produced Homeworld and haven’t been for some time now.

      I’m holding out hopes for Rob Cunningham’s (homeworld concept artist and relic co-founder) new outfit, Blackbird Interactive, and their project Hardware. Not the catchiest or easily googled names but there ya go.

  2. lordcooper says:

    “Austin Wintory”

    Why doesn’t anyone want me to have money?

    • RedViv says:

      That does mean your money is nice. Surely that must a good sign.

    • opawqsa says:

      It’s called Nekro, it looks like a really promising game that deserves more attention. You play as a necromancer who can summon various demonic monsters in order to fight the kingdom. It sort of feels like a mix of Diablo, Dungeon Keeper and Little King’s Quest to me.

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  3. Taverius says:

    I put money on starlight, I hope they make it.

  4. Stormtamer says:

    Was just looking at the Starlight Inception and Yogventure Kickstarters and was gonna email you guys to mention them on the site again before they close.

    Not sure on Wasteland or Shadowrun, because i havent player the previous games, but when its only $15 to get a copy of the game, why not.

    • Zeno says:

      I’m a little wary about Yogventure, due to the fact that they seem to just be remaking Minecraft.

      • wccrawford says:

        If it’s MineCraft with a story and goals, I’m okay with that.

        I backed it, but it remains to be seen what it’ll actually be. I have a feeling I made a mistake. Time will tell.

      • Stormtamer says:

        Yeh, i thought the same, but the “build your own adventure” side of it is getting me more than Minecraft versions did.
        The art style reminds me of Escape from Monkey Island too, which i enjoyed, and i think it can go abit more in-depth than Minecraft.

        See what happens, i vaguely remember a ‘create your own videogame’ game i played once, that just made basic FPS’s, so if i get the same enjoyment out of the Yogventures as i did as that, i dont mind backing it.

      • PacketOfCrisps says:

        Even if it was a remake of Minecraft (seems more like a re-imagining to me) you have to remember that Minecraft itself was just an Infiniminer clone. Sure, it has evolved a long way since then but that is how Minecraft got started. I’m more worried that the project itself is perhaps a little too ambitious. It’s the developers first game and $250,000 really isn’t a lot of money to make a game, although that amount will likely increase before the end of the deadline. The pricing also seems problematic, $30 for an indie game? I don’t know how well that will sell. Those are bigger issues than it “supposedly” being a Minecraft clone.

      • Xocrates says:

        These are the guys who make a living by playing minecraft adventure maps. Is anyone actually surprised at what the game appears to be?

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Might just be me, but it looks a bit too much like self-worship. :/

      • fish99 says:

        I’m wary too, but for a different reason – to me it seems like an attempt to cash in on their fanatical young fanbase. Plus their announcement video made it sound like they were making the game themselves when they aren’t.

        • malkav11 says:

          I assume they’d be involved in the process, but they aren’t coding it, no. Which, since they aren’t professional game developers, is almost certainly a positive rather than a negative. That said, I’m one of the handful of human beings on Earth that’s not actually a Minecraft fan (I don’t -dislike- it, it just didn’t have anything that hooked me last time I tried it), and I’m not convinced they’re asking for enough money, and their celebrity has nothing to do with the ability to make a good game, so I personally am not interested in backing their project.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Starlight seems kinda meh. Now, if it was Starflight, I’d nerdgasm money out of all of my orifices.

  5. RedViv says:

    I’m required by my conscience (since I can’t say that it’s my desire to play an evil overlord, which my conscience does not allow in turn) to mention Nekro, which will sit somewhere between Dungeon Keeper, Myth, Sacrifice and Giants, whenever this topic comes up: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/343838885/nekro

    • TehK says:

      Ah, yeah – my money’s on that as well. I actually just registered to post this, but alas, I am too late (still my first post in the elitist circle that is the RPS community ;) ).

      Sadly it seems that either not a lot of people know about this or people just aren’t interested enough, which would be a real pity. The pitching video isn’t really great, but the concept looks quite good.

    • Dizzard says:

      Ooh I missed this.

      Still it’s great to see there are people out there really rooting for the game. :)

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      It does look like a clever concept. But I think an unknown studio (I can’t even find a website for them other than a blog) needs more to show for their project than some concept art and a couple low-poly models. Especially when asking for $100,000.

      That said, I think it’s problematic when so much of the money is going to those already established in the industry. It’s in our interest as consumers to spread the cash around a bit, to give these younger creators a chance to try their new ideas. If the only projects to get successfully kickstarted are nostalgic sequels, then this new model will wind up just as conservative and risk-averse as old corporate publishers.

      Still, I think these new companies need to work to earn the consumer’s trust; releasing free/cheap test-of-concept minigames, that sort of thing.

      • Torgen says:

        I agree. I really think that unknowns need to put *something* functional out, just to prove that they *can* make something (however small) before asking complete strangers for $100,000 with no guarantees.I think your idea of a minigame is excellent, as it shows more than a tech demo if the people involved can put all the pieces together.

      • malkav11 says:

        While your larger point is fair enough, I am bemused by the way people keep asserting these projects are all “nostalgic sequels” (or remakes). Most of the people involved are trading on their good name, yes, but Double Fine Adventure, Jane Jensen, and Banner Saga are all pitching brand new games, and while Shadowrun Returns is certainly tapping into nostalgia for a venerable RPG setting, the game they’re proposing is not a direct sequel to any previous Shadowrun videogame (though they’re proposing to make a bonus mission that will reference the two console RPGs) and should play dramatically unlike them as well. In fact, of the currently operating Kickstarters, I think the only two that are directly going back to the well are Wasteland 2 (duh) and the Leisure Suit Larry remake.

  6. felisc says:

    well that was a lot of grey hair.

  7. wccrawford says:

    “With all that said, $150K isn’t enough to do this game right.”

    I hate it when projects say something like this. Ask for what it really takes. Don’t try to cut corners and take chances with my money. I know you want to build it and are desperate to get funds, but I’m not okay with the extra risk that this sentence adds.

    • Torgen says:

      Really. That seems a sure-fire way to scare off donations.

      • EscapeHatchEntertainment says:

        Just a clarification on Starlight Inception’s budget of 150k – the reason we ask for that amount is because we are making up the rest of the budget through sweat equity (myself and the producer, my wife are taking no salary) and our own funds (i.e. bank account). The 150k seemed a fair number for what we needed to get a great game with all we’re throwing into it. It wasn’t meant to portray the entire budget of the game. Sorry if that wasn’t entirely clear…:)

        Kindest Regards,
        Garry Gaber

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          Uh, well that was new….I dont have a credit card, is there a way to use my paypal account to convert my mexican pesos into ussable funds?

    • EscapeHatchEntertainment says:

      BTW, Rock, Paper, Shotgun rocks – this is a great site. :)

    • Smokey_Samson says:

      It’s the same thing Brian Fargo said for the start of the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter. He needed a million to do it but only asked for 900K, he was willing to foot the rest. He didn’t want the full total to jeopardize the chance of making it.

      I am supporting the Starlight Inception Kickstarter. We need more space combat games. At least I need more space combat games.

  8. fiddlesticks says:

    Why does Scrooge McDuck need Kickstarter? Greedy duck’s rich enough already.

  9. Tretiak says:

    We need Sin.

  10. asshibbitty says:

    Make this a regular feature.

    Kickstarter needs to go international. I’d love to see what the Japanese or French can do with more breathing space, plus the same money can mean a lot more for teams from less well-off places. I’d also rather have a couple big international crowdsourcing sites, than follow a dozen anemic regional ones all with their quirks.

  11. wodin says:

    Looking forward to W2. However Mr Fargo is starting to grate as every Video I’ve seen he asks for even more money. Surely he should be made up he has the amount he has got?

  12. CaLe says:

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen any mention of http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/460275866/valdis-story-abyssal-city anywhere. It looks pretty great if you ask me!

    • clumsyandshy says:

      Agreed. I am myself a backer of Valdis Story since about a week or so ago.
      Good that you pointed it out, well done!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      If I get this right, it’s actually been around for a long while before it popped up on Kickstarter.

      I didn’t back it, as it’s not really my type of game… but I still look forward to its release because I think it actually looks pretty good anyway. I certainly think it deserves success as they seem to be handling the kickstarter, and overall project really well.

  13. JFS says:

    Backer-only missions? Really? This is turning the same ugly way as bonus DLC varying with retailer and pre-order modus. I was one of the first to pledge for Wasteland 2, but that thing with the extra portraits sort of turns me off. If they make them in the first place, why not give them to all the backers? Stuff that isn’t directly related to the game, okay, hand that out for collectors and connaisseurs, but extra portraits or even extra missions (in Shadowrun’s case)? Really, that sucks. Especially if all that stuff will show up via the pirate road anyway. What’s the point?

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Agreed. While I like most of the business philosophies behind the Shadowrun kickstarter (i.e. releasing the mission editor), the idea of having unique backer-only missions is troubling. If you asked the backers, I’m sure the vast majority would respond “just give the mission to everyone, why would we care if only we can play it?”

      Hopefully they’ll reconsider that one, and make it available to all. I think things like the Doc Wagon card, early editor access, and the thumb drive dog tags are much better backer rewards.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      The comments to that update were pretty unanimous that that was a terrible idea.

    • kud13 says:

      they posted that update on friday. over the weekend there have been about 400 posts, with about 350 people telling them it’s a bad idea in one way or another.

      the important bit not given much attention is that the game will now have 2 city-hubs, since aside from the original Seattle, as of 1 million there will be another setting, to be chosen by backers. Also, Linux version.

    • mwoody says:

      I agree entirely. And it makes me feel a little bad for having already pledged my support, even where I qualify for the extra content.

      I signed on to help you guys make a great game for everyone, not just me and other people who gave you money early.

    • D3xter says:

      I was just about to post this and I full-heartedly agree, for both Shadowrun and Wasteland 2 but especially Shadowrun.

      On the off-chance that any of the responsible might read this… STAY AWAY FROM “EXCLUSIVE” FEATURES FOR CERTAIN PORTIONS OF PEOPLE IN YOUR GAME, leave that to the likes of EA, Activision, UbiSoft and so on… it shouldn’t have a place in fan-funded projects just as much as most games seem to be DRM-free and include Linux versions.

    • Emeraude says:

      http://gamepolitics.com/2012/04/14/shadowrun-returns-backers-reject-exclusive-content&sa=U&ei=kt-MT8PXF-TF0QXFtMHWDA&ved=0CCMQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNGUiR9ww0IAGsWCL4s4TSfopxIEPQ

      Yeah, the general consensus was that exclusive mission was a bad idea. HBS updated the FAQ to say they got the message.

  14. Dizzard says:

    I just have to give this a mention here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/343838885/nekro

    It’s called Nekro, it looks like a really promising game that deserves more attention. You play as a necromancer who can summon various demonic monsters in order to fight the kingdom. It sort of feels like a mix of Diablo, Dungeon Keeper and Little King’s Quest to me.

    • PacketOfCrisps says:

      It does look like a good concept, I am not sure why it isn’t getting any attention. Hopefully people will start to notice it soon because it’s not looking good at the moment.

    • mwoody says:

      Looks neat. I hope no one gets their highest tier of support, though:

      “Add your own (tastefully displayed) Ads within the game to be hung on the side of townie buildings”

      I mean… I guess if it’s a little fan site, or for a cause, or something, but that has the potential to be annoying. I dunno, I guess if it’s done in-universe it could be amusing rather than distracting.

  15. Crimsoneer says:

    Future money is so easy to spend…

  16. marlowespade says:

    I wonder how much of Starlight Inception’s thunder was stolen once Wing Commander Saga: Darkest Dawn was made available.

    • wodin says:

      Which uses an old version of the SCP and looks very poor compared to how Freespace 2 SCP looks now, many features missing. A shame.

  17. dude163 says:

    wow Bionite is the spiritual succcessor to Battlezone 98!! man, too many games at once!

  18. Kektain says:

    The reason Bionite isn’t doing well is probably addressed in their first FAQ response:

    Is there going to be a subscription cost for the multiplayer?

    Yes, in order to keep our servers running smoothly, we will have an affordable subscription based multiplayer.

  19. mwoody says:

    It’s a pity Larry’s not funded yet. Here’s hoping for a last-minute push. Really, I think their mistake was going for a remake rather than a whole new thing.

    • RakeShark says:

      True, it is a pity. Same with the FMV Sherlock games. They’re asking for a measly $55k, and they’re not even halfway there. I seriously nerd-gasmed when I saw it.

      Hope the kick it forward things the other projects are doing help those two projects out.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think it’ll make it. They’re 70% there, and if Doublefine is any judge, you get 20% of the total in the last two days. If they can make $50-$70k in the next ten days I think they’ll make through.

    • malkav11 says:

      As far as I can tell, Kickstarters like Double Fine, Shadowrun, and Wasteland 2, where things immediately shoot way past the funding goal, are not the norm. Fairly steady progress like LSL and Jane Jensen’s project are much more usual and still on track to get there in the end, even if I’d be surprised to see them hit much in the way of stretch goals. Then, too, any given update might be that one thing a whole horde of potential backers were waiting on. I’m backing a Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands campaign (from Dennis Detwiller) right now called the Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man and it was ticking gradually up towards the $5,500 funding goal. Then it finally hit said goal, and Detwiller was able to announce the availability of print-on-demand physical copies of the book.. In the next couple of days it jumped over three thousand dollars and as of this writing is currently nearing 200% funding.

  20. andytt66 says:

    Heh. “This will be the only time you’ll be able to purchase Wasteland 2 for $15″…

    sounds like someone has been reading the Double Fine forums…

  21. D3xter says:

    It’s strange that this hasn’t turned up anywhere: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/policewarfare/police-warfare/ , but they don’t seem to be stirring the drums about it :P Looks a lot like a more ambitious Payday: The Heist though xD

    • Hoaxfish says:

      well, it did pop up on PC Gamer.

      Not something I’d back as it seems to be multiplayer only.

  22. D3xter says:

    Oh yes, and there’s two other oft-overlooked projects (aside of Nekro that was mentioned earlier) that might be worth a look:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sandswept/the-dead-linger/
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2dawngames/ravaged/

    • malkav11 says:

      The Dead Linger didn’t really say much to differentiate themselves from the pack of other zombie games, and their funding goal seems really underbudget for the sort of game they’re proposing.

      Edit: Though now I see that it’s just to get them to playable alpha state, at which point they apparently plan to offer alphafunding. I’m still not convinced, but if they do make it I might check out their alpha.

  23. InternetBatman says:

    There’s an fairly good chance that Wasteland might just hit three million. Personally I think they’ll get somewhere around 2.95 but I’d like to see it get up to a nice round number.

  24. Shadram says:

    Shouldn’t the title be “Kitching up with cackstarter’s big names”? Although I can see why you probably wouldn’t want to do this…

  25. GewaltSam says:

    You clearly forgot to monitor the status of Your World, the greatest MMOANYTHING ever!

  26. EBass says:

    Maybe we can get Volition to kickstart Freespace 3?

  27. Hulk Handsome says:

    The creator of Chip’s Challenge also has a kickstarter! For a spiritual sequel to Chip’s Challenge, no less:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/niffler/chucks-challenge-3d