Here Comes The Sun: Grim Dawn Kickstarter

By Adam Smith on April 17th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

I wasn’t sure what the polite level of enthusiasm for action-RPG Grim Dawn was but as it turns out it’s perfectly acceptable to perform a small dance while saying “it appears to combine the best of the developers previous game, Titan Quest, with a pleasingly unpleasant new world to discover and factions with which to side and war”. Alternatively, just holler wildly and punch the air whenever it’s mentioned. John spoke with Crate Entertainment and they explained much but now, after two years in development, the game requires a swift kick up its grim awning to help it along the way. Yes, gentlepeople, to Kickstarter once more.

My initial reaction was one of confusion. How can I kickstart something that’s already been going for so long, I thought? Not a very sensible reaction, since it’s feasible for a thing to grind to a halt, stall or even go into reverse. Grim Dawn’s problem is that only two of the development team are working full time on the game, with the remainder employed by other studios. It’s all well and good for us to expect them to finish their job and then come home to work on another job but their families and friends probably care more about spending time with them than they do about the rest of us receiving Grim Dawn at the earliest possible opportunity and in the best possible state.

Here’s the thing though; if enough money is pledged, maybe those same family and friends will be happy to pocket the proceeds and allow the programmers, artists and animators to work through every evening, night and weekend. As long as they’re bringing home the sweet pecuniary lettuce and Grim Dawn turns out as well as it possibly can, perhaps the very idea that these brave labourers should have any free time is not to be entertained at all.

For $18, pledgers receive a digital copy of the game at release but could also help ensure that the game is as good as it can possibly be. There’s plenty more about the development in the latest state of the game post, enough to make it clear that there’s still a great deal to be done, but also that a lot of the core work is already in place.

I never really understood the point of preorders when the incentive was directed at me: the promise of a game on the day that it launched, a bit of collectible tat or a DLC code that unlocks a reskinned gun. I’m more than happy to put money down early if the incentive is to create a better game, in better conditions, for everyone.

In short, I was a little cynical when I first saw this, convinced by the time I finished reading the project page and I’m now considering whether I really need a boxed edition and which piece of collectible tat I might be able to flog in order to prepurchase one. All the details are here.

Thanks @XanderBennett for the early tip!

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50 Comments »

  1. frightlever says:

    “Not a very sensible reaction, since it’s feasible for a thing to grind to a halt, stall or even go into reverse.”

    The Project Zomboid school of development.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I’d wager that the vast majority of developments, games or otherwise, are far more turbulent than most people outside will ever realise. Indie developers are allowed to share the experience though, for better or worse.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ve put my money down on this one. I want this game, and I want it to be good.

    • mondomau says:

      Me too, I was a bit underwhelmed by Path of Exile and this looks looks like a safer bet. Plus it’s gorgeous.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Agreed. Done so at the earliest opportunity. More than two years ago. Eventful two years, and now this whole Kickstarter business is shaping up grandly. Exciting times.

  3. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    Have been watching the game for quiet some time now, looks very promissing.
    Maybe I finally throw my bucks in.

  4. Belua says:

    I’ve already preordered this two years ago or something like that, because I wanted this game so badly. It’s been so long already… it’s depressing. But yay for Kickstarter! Maybe that’ll speed things up a bit.

  5. Lemming says:

    Wasteland 2 just closed not 15 minutes ago

  6. djbriandamage says:

    If RPS’ article didn’t convince me, the earnest text on the project page certainly did. What humble, great guys. I’m proud to back this PC-centric project. I’ve always preferred Titan Quest to Diablo (1 and 2) and I mourned the closure of Iron Lore so for $18 I’ll surely get in on this.

  7. wodin says:

    Anyone starting to get the feeling that kickstarter is really not kickstarting recent projects more like giving them abit of money to tied them over rather than get the game of the ground and actually made.

    Pre Kickstarter this game was going to be made anyway now suddenly they’ve seen they can get some money upfront they’ve gone the kickstarter route.

    To me it feels like it’s away around the paypal pre order problems indies have had, rather than funding to finish or complete a game.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Personally I’m much happier to “kickstart” a game which is already in process of being made, or at least has an early proof-of-concept alpha knocking around. I feel that if the developers have sunk some of their own time and money into getting things rolling, I’m much more confident in giving them an infusion to allow them to get serious about the project.

      I considered giving money to the Wasteland 2 fund, for example, but I found myself unwilling to without knowing specifics about the gameplay – which could have been answered by the roughest of mock-ups. I don’t have enough money to fund (pre-pre-preorder) games I won’t even want to play down the road, and I’m pretty picky about my RPGs when it comes to their presentation and mechanics.

      Similarly, I’m much more likely to fund a band recording a studio album if they can supply some live recordings, or a writer publishing a book if they’ve put some sample chapters up first. In short, I think the system works best when the creator can meet the backers half way, instead of just tossing together a video and offering a few rough concept scribbles, or the first draft of a skeletal design document.

    • Medierra says:

      I’ve seen some people express this sentiment before. That Kickstarter should only be used to fund projects that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. I can see how some might object to a studio with an already funded project just looking to pad their budget.

      That isn’t our situation though. The only reason Grim Dawn is possible now, is because two guys were willing to dedicate themselves to creating a game without being paid. We set up the pre-order system on our website about 5 months later and, while it has been helpful, it only generates an average of about $3k a month, which, after taxes and fees, isn’t even enough to hire one full-time person.

      So, I don’t feel that we should be seen negatively because we had the dedication to start on our own. Otherwise you’re basically saying that an established company that won’t invest any of their time into something until they’re paid are more worthy of donation then two guys willing to invest their own unpaid time into a project they care about. If you’re going to invest in a project, wouldn’t you want to know that it’s creators were willing to invest in it too, even before you did?

  8. brkl says:

    It’s impossible to find who’s actually involved with Crate Entertainment. That’s a shame, because I know someone who worked on Titan Quest and would be interested in finding out whether he’s in.

    • mondomau says:

      You could ask maybe?

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah if you know him why not just ask him?

    • Medierra says:

      Unfortunately, most of our people who work part-time can’t be revealed yet for fear of upsetting their day jobs. Once we reach our goal, we’ll introduce some of the guys who are coming on full-time. There aren’t that many us from Iron Lore though, we’re just a very small group.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Skeletor68 says:

    I’m in on this one. I’m an awful sucker for thinking about these poor dudes pressing refresh on the Kickstarter page.

    Game sounds great though. So far I’ve backed:
    FTL
    Double Fine
    Banner Saga
    Wasteland 2
    and now Grim Dawn.

    I’ve only gone over initial reward tiers for Double Fine and Banner Saga though. Their extras were partiuclarly tasty.

  10. Buttless Boy says:

    This is looking very very nice. I’ve upped my pre-order to the slightly lame $50 tier… Maybe they’ll add something later, that seems to be what the cool kids are doing.

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m now considering whether I really need a boxed edition and which piece of collectible tat I might be able to flog in order to prepurchase one.”

    I haven’t bought a boxed PC game in three years. Now, thanks to Kickstarter, I currently average about one a week.

    Well, technically I need to wait a bit before they’re actually shipped but wow, they’re starting to accumulate.

  12. Premium User Badge

    hellboy says:

    I’m in, but my wallet is reaching the end of it’s Kickstarter (and indie bundle for that matter) tolerance.

  13. ran93r says:

    I’m in for this I think, I enjoyed Titan Quest and I haven’t started many kicks yet.

  14. Strange_guy says:

    Having already backed DFA (despite not having played any of the adventure games made by anyone participating) , Wasteland 2 (despite having never played Wasteland), FTL (despite having not played the onlive demo), The Banner Saga, and Shadowruns Returns (despite, well you’ve got the idea) I’m not sure I should back another kickstarter, but this one does seem bit tempting… The only real experience I have with ARPGs is Torchlight, which I did somewhat enjoy but thought had some issues. This one looks good.

  15. Kamen Rider says:

    Fuckin’ Kickstarter.

    • Tony M says:

      As in “Fuck Kickstarter and all they stand for”? or “Fuck. Kickstarter just got $18 more of my money, and I swore I was done after Shadowrun”?

      • Kamen Rider says:

        The latter. Definitely the latter so very hard.

        • Fumarole says:

          2013 is going to be one hell of a year for gaming. My wallet doesn’t know whether to cheer or cry.

          • ChainsawCharlie says:

            Well it should cheer since you already paid for all these games.

  16. mr.ioes says:

    “it appears to combine the best of the developers previous game, Titan Quest, with a pleasingly unpleasant new world to discover and factions with which to side and war”

    So let’s just hope they are talking about the incredibly awesome skillsystem here …

  17. Blackcompany says:

    With Torchlight 2, Path of Exile and that other, big one, with the Spanish devil in it, I was sort of…on the fence…about whether kickstarting Grim Dawn would be worth it. Especially since my wallet could also, at this point, use a Kickstarter.

    After reading both their own home page and their kickstarter appeal to fans, however…I am in.

    This game seems sufficiently different from the more typical ARPG that contributing is worth it. Some of the mechanics they mention are actually innovative and more typical of major RPG releases than of ARPG games. In a good way.

    So yeah…I will participate in one more kickstarter.

  18. Freud says:

    This is the first Kickstarter project I’ve been interested in. The others seem a bit too high on nostalgia and a bit too low on substance for me to get into.

    I enjoyed Titan Quest, enjoy the genre and absolutely love the setting for this game.

  19. Tams80 says:

    I would be up for getting a boxed copy, but VAT and Royal Mail charging £8 just to temporarily store it on top of $110 is rather a lot.

  20. Baresark says:

    I loved Titan’s Quest. It was a highly underrated game. So, I committed. As an interesting aside. I went to the page, picked my funding amount, payed through amazon, and when I went back to the page the amount it was funded had almost jumped by $1000. Crazy shit.

  21. UncleLou says:

    This will be the first Kickstarter I support.

    Considering the many, many hours I enjoyed Titan Quest, I basically robbed these guys with the measly 60 € I paid for the game and expansion.

  22. Jeremy says:

    Seems to be doing well so far, already up past the 20k mark, and I’m definitely going to get on board with this one.

  23. spindaden says:

    I’m going to launch a kickstarter to fund my wallet so i can invest in all these kickstarters

  24. rocketman71 says:

    Ok, I’m putting money in, and I hope this time we get no stupid DRM and no stupid cries about piracy.

    And for the love of god, LAN support.

    Edit: 2 out of 3 already.

  25. MikoSquiz says:

    $18?! I’m pretty sure I paid a lot more back in the day when they first started doing support/preorders.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      You’re not wrong. I remember intiially their pre-order prices were way over the odds and then they toned it down. Seems to be hard cheese in terms of upgrading to the next tier on kickstarter if you were one of the earliest adopters.

      Still you could email them and see what they say.

  26. Iconik says:

    I bought the “gold” (think it was $49.99 US) edition to this, which gave me an unlock key, when it was announced they were taking pre-pre-pre orders. That was in ’09.

    Being the TQ nerd that I am, I lootgasm’d at the prospect of playing another game by these guys. But dammit….HURRY IT UP!

  27. Medierra says:

    Hi, I’m Arthur Bruno, the designer on Grim Dawn

    So far, RPS is by far the highest source of people coming to contribute on our Kickstarter. I wanted to stop in and thank everyone here for the amazing support! Thank you so much!

  28. Ludomation says:

    “As long as they’re bringing home the sweet pecuniary lettuce and Grim Dawn turns out as well as it possibly can, perhaps the very idea that these brave labourers should have any free time is not to be entertained at all.”

    Really?? I’m sorry, but as a fellow game dev there is no way I can support this. You’re asking these guys to give up whatever life after work they have left to work like slaves at Foxconn on your game, so long as they ‘bring home the benjamines’ and ‘pay off the loved ones’. Really guys?

    I can’t believe no one has objected to this yet, and I hope I am wrong in the manner I have interpreted the quoted sentence above. I’m waiting to be corrected.

    • Angel Dust says:

      I’m pretty sure that was just Adam joking around because if you actually watch the video they are wanting the money to bring new people, with particular skillsets like art/animation, that are currently being covered by others less specialised, to work fulltime on the project. While I’m sure some of the money will be used to compensate those who choose to work on it in their free-time, there is nothing in the pitch about people working 40 hour days.

      • Ludomation says:

        Ok, wow. Don’t I feel like a Jack-ass. I (happily) stand corrected.

        That will teach me for maintaining such an itchy keyboard trigger finger.

        After watching that video, the game looks even more spectacular than the screenshots above (They’re horrible low-res grabs that are doing the game no justice, btw). I better go pony up that $$!

  29. Gormongous says:

    After all the consumer-unfriendly news from Blizzard and the increasingly empty feeling I got playing Path of Exile, this is definitely going to get some of my money and soon. The only real question in my heart is whether I can satisfy my propensity towards being a physical media connoisseur for under three figures. Doesn’t look like it. Ah well, I’ll figure something out, because these guys deserve something for their passionate and upfront approach to Kickstarter.

  30. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    I feel somehow sad about not really wanting to kick in another 50 bucks for this game (I did around 6 months ago after hearing about it.) The Titan Quest community is pretty good about getting the word out, which is great.

    So maybe I can talk someone else into proxying for me? Show them the love!

  31. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Sorry, but this kickstarter is not very well put together. For one thing, it seems like people who already pre-ordered have been left out in the cold- what happens to people who pre-ordered if the kickstarter isn’t successful? Secondly, there’s a minimum amount of information about what the game actually is, the setting and so on (minor quibble, but still).

    Third, the $18 tier wording is a bit vague as to whether that gets you the game at release, or gets you a discount on the game at release (I’ve emailed them to clarify on this last point).

    EDIT: Received the following reply:

    $18 is for the full game, downloadable upon release. You don’t pay anything extra later. Our thinking was that we’d probably sell the game for around $20 after release, so you’re getting a little discount for buying now.

    • Renevent says:

      @Ninja Foodstuff

      They address the pre-orders on the first page of the kick starter under the section:

      Existing Grim Dawn Key-Holders – Please Read!

      Basically they didn’t leave pre-order folks in the cold, in fact the exact opposite.

      Also, there’s tons of info for the game on the kick starter page, including game play videos and features.

  32. mrsamsa says:

    Hey Arthur, if you haven’t already, you should notify other sites like Destructoid, Kotaku, and Joystiq. Titan Quest gets a lot of love around gaming sites, and so do Action RPGs. Plus there’s a lot to show of Grim Dawn, it’s not some pie in the sky kickstarter project.

  33. SometimesYou says:

    Hello friends!

    Please take a look on our KickStarter project – it is artful game “Inner Dream” made from photo/video/music together. This is one of a kind game exist in the world and we really needs yours help to finish it till next year.

    Hope you’ll like it: http://kck.st/HWjj5s
    Sorry if not :)
    Have a nice day anyway!