Night, Night: Project Awakened Kickstarter Falls Short

By Nathan Grayson on March 7th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Project Awakened is ostensibly a game about everything ever. All the places. All the powers. All the graphics. It also heralds from a bunch of former Psi-Ops and Stranglehold developers, who originally got the superpowered idea off the ground while Midway, well, existed. And it’s still going to happen! Just, you know, eventually. In maybe a long, long time. Phosphor still plans on realizing its ridiculously all-encompassing vision, but – out of necessity – its focus for the foreseeable future will be on things that involve slightly less of everything.

Much as Awakened’s Kickstarter seemed destined to leap tall orders in a single bound, it instead fell slightly short of its goal – huffing and puffing across the finish line at $338,498 of a needed $500,000. An impressive last-second rally nearly saved the day, but sadly, it didn’t generate nearly enough interest.

Phosphor does, however, have a backup plan. It explained to Joystiq:

“If we don’t make the $500K we have to keep making the game very slowly in our spare time, if nothing else comes up for funding elsewhere – we will keep looking. We would not be able to promise a 2014 beta, and it would likely take a long time to complete.”

“We will keep talking about it with everyone, but we have been doing that for years, and it has always been a scary prospect for publishers. Maybe seeing how excited and dedicated the fanbase is will change some minds. Only time will tell.”

So it’s tough to say what exactly comes next, but Awakened at least has options. The idea that a publisher or other third-party could give it one last, much-needed push isn’t entirely far-fetched, either. Most recognizably, Wildman (or, if nothing else, Gas Powered Games) got a second lease on life from Wargaming, so the prospect’s not without precedent. Plus, a little interest goes a long way, and being able to tangibly demonstrate it is a potentially powerful tool that we’ve yet to see the full extent of.

In the meantime, I’ll continue concepting Crowdfunderman, whose powers include opening portals to the past, stretching to incredible lengths, and randomly dropping the people he rescues. Also, his lair is called the Crowdfunderdome, and that’s pretty much all I’ve got.

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20 Comments »

  1. lordcooper says:

    :(

  2. racccoon says:

    Most stupid idea yet. no wonder its been flawed.

    • Paroxysm says:

      Point doesn’t say you will did?! I can not agree with you Sir!

    • Domino says:

      Which just goes to show graphics are not everything in a game. While it’s an interesting idea as a small mod to play on the side I don’t see how this can be made into a fully fledge game by iteself – it’s just more of a demo of what the Unreal engine can do..

  3. Cinek says:

    This game was so wrong in so many ways.

    I wish authors would focus on creating something worthwhile, as they obviously got a lot of talent but right now: they WASTE IT on this project.

    I don’t know… join other kickstarter project as a developers to help them out? Come with some concrete idea of actual, fun game instead of a little bit of everything randomly mixed together?

    • UmmonTL says:

      I think we should look at games like this that failed to make their mark yet still generated a lot of interest and analyze why it failed. It at least wasn’t a completely half-assed effort by someone completely unknown. So did it fail to reach enough people, did it fail to make those people interested in the game or is the game concept itself just uninteresting?

      I honestly never knew this project existed (not really that surprising) but judging from the trailer it seems questionable that it would be a good game. It looks like Garry’s Mod on a modern engine and making it possible for players to do anything might be fun but it doesn’t exactly give the game substance. Saying the world reacts to what I do sounds like there will be a bunch of enemies spawning and civilians running away when I use my powers. I can’t see them making such a universal superpower sandbox and craft a compelling story as well as make it a fair challenge.

  4. Iamerror says:

    Always sad to see a Kickstarter fail. Didn’t back it myself because I’m not a fan of the pure combat focused gameplay, but good luck to the developers, they seem a talented group.

  5. SanguineAngel says:

    Games should be fun. This looked like it might have been a lot of fun so it’s a shame it didn’t make it.

  6. PeteC says:

    The first Kickstarter I’ve backed which didn’t make it. A shame because I’d have liked to have seen how this one turned out.

    I’m a little perplexed as to where this vitriol is coming from in some comments. At least they were trying a fresh take on things which is what gamers are constantly asking for. Plus I thought it looked fun, despite the game probably being a nightmare as far as getting the gameplay balance right, but then that would have been an ongoing thing, tweaking and fixing over time. I never expected them to get that 100% perfect right off the bat.

    Hey ho. I suppose not every KS project can be like Torment.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Death Inc finished yesterday as well, which is my first unsuccessful project. Now I have the spare money to put on Torment.

      • Klydefrog says:

        I backed both quite late on, although mainly because I was pretty sure at least one of them would fail so I wasn’t really expecting to have to fork out for them. Sad to see them both go but yes I have some money to put into Torment and Dreamfall Chapters now… Yesterday was a mixed day for Kickstarter really.

  7. abandonhope says:

    What interested me most about the project was seeing what sort of game they could create with so much freedom at its core–if it was even possible. They never really got around to explaining/demonstrating what that game was. I was specifically looking for them to contrast in detail how a level might play with–and the game world respond to–two totally different characters with vastly different abilities.

    Unfortunately, I think they got too wrapped up in the “create-a-player” thing, repeatedly asking “who do you want to be?” without ever supplying the sort of concrete context that would make the question interesting. They didn’t get much further than a “modern AAA action game”–one that could be and seemed intended, with modding, to be anything.

    The heavy focus on modding and UE4 also seemed to attract an odd assortment of techmology/moar graphics backers, and it took far too long for its community to coalesce and stop arguing about what was important about the project. This is one of the first mainstream-ish, modern AAA-like projects with far reach to show up on Kickstarter, and I think it showed in the disparateness of that community.

    The project did manage to get a fair number of backers–many of them first-timers. However, ultimately I think Phosphor presented too many reasons to climb on board, not enough of them having anything to do with the game itself. Hopefully the project moves forward in some way and a compelling game comes out of it, but I’m honestly happy that they’ll be shedding the baggage of much of their Kickstarter community.

    • gwathdring says:

      I agree completely about the game idea never really being presented properly. I was waiting and waiting for information on how it might play–they already have tons of assets and systems in place, so surely they have some idea of how a level might go by now?

      It just seemed scatter-shot at every turn. They seem so determined to bring about their vision I was sure they had something more detailed to present other than game assets and hyperbole, but that’s pretty much all we got. I’m honestly surprised that they have so much love and motivation for the project if we really saw the best of what they have to say for now; different strokes, I suppose–I’m utterly uninterested in a game that offers you a billion hollow choices over a more deeply resonating experience with very few choices.

  8. DarkFenix says:

    Not surprised it failed, they pitched a lot of ‘cool things to put in a game’, but as far as I’m concerned their pitch didn’t actually include a game. It kinda strikes me as being basically a mod in that regard, where someone takes a game and shoves some cool stuff into it, that only works if there’s a game to put things into though.

  9. Zeno says:

    There was never a game in the pitch, just a character creator and some super-generic enemies.

  10. Buttless Boy says:

    I backed this purely for the character creator and mod support, but the modding was a stretch goal and there was a shitty-looking action game stapled awkwardly to the character creator so I’m not surprised it failed.

  11. Trithne says:

    This wasn’t a game so much as it was a toolkit. Basically paying 500k for a copy of UDK.

  12. Shuck says:

    “Maybe seeing how excited and dedicated the fanbase is will change some minds.”
    Sadly, if they couldn’t manage to get even get close to half-a-million from the fanbase, I don’t see that publishers will exactly be positively swayed by the outcome here. Seems like their best bet is to try Kickstarter again, using the awareness they generated in this campaign.

    • gwathdring says:

      I don’t know … you don’t want to get a reputation as “That game that always fails kickstarters” with too many failed attempts. Could backfire. They’ll have to tread lightly if they want to bring it back to Kickstarter.

      Well … that or they could actually pitch a game concept instead of a bunch of customizable assets in a pile. That might improve their chances, as that seems to be the reigning complaint.

  13. Greggh says:

    Sorry, but I won’t be missing this… :\

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