Rising Higher: Guns Of Icarus Online Kickstarter II

By John Walker on April 17th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Airship MMO Guns Of Icarus is to receive an adventure mode. The original game, Kickstarted in February 2012 (before it was cool), was released in October with the promised skirmish play. Over a year later, Muse Games returned to the crowd-funding beg-me-up to fun an expansion of the project, fleshing out the world the game takes place in, and adding an Adventure path. This second Kickstarter has just dinged its $100k, so that should now be a thing that happens.

Sort of. The team are openly hedging their bets with this project, putting their funding target far below what they actually need for the full plans. Which is often frowned upon, but Muse are stating that this minimum funding will make significant differences to the game – just not the full Adventure Mode it’s all about. Hmmmm. That doesn’t seem the ideal route. That first one hundred thousand will fund an AI director for a co-op mode, and the missions you’ll be able to play, but won’t cover the “econo-political” stuff, nor the world-building that seems pretty central to the point of this campaign. And those stretch goals to get them? $350k and $500k respectively. Five times the target… I think my primary concern here is that none of this is mentioned in the main video, and that never sits right. (And there are obviously questions to ask about why the released game isn’t funding its own development.)

However, they do emphasise the point that they’ve a proven track record. With a Kickstarter in 2011 (CreaVures) having resulted in a released game, and last year’s first kick on Icarus having produced the game it promised (a real rarity so far, from last year’s KS explosion), they argue they’ve earned some trust here. And the funding raised so far will be adding missions for co-op play, which will be a significant change for the game. They’re not being bad guys here – they could just be clearer about it.

(Which is a lesson they really ought to have learned after not being clear that the previous Kickstarter didn’t cover the Adventure Mode itself. They explain that the funding raised – just $35k – only covered a portion of what it took to make Skirmish, which also drained all their own finances on top.)

There are 34 days left for the campaign to reach the half million it needs to achieve all of its stated ambitions. And just take a look at the game to see why that’s something worth paying attention to:

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14 Comments »

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  1. Jerakal says:

    Well seeing as how I’ve already purchased this game, I don’t really think I’m going to be keen on giving them any more money. Especially since from what I’ve experienced, skirmish mode is 100x more frustrating than it is fun.

  2. Kitsunin says:

    Hmm. It seems to me that the “Right” way to do it in this case would be to run two Kickstarters, the first funding the co-op missions, while stating that should they go beyond funding that, it will carry over into a second kickstarter, whereby they actually fund the complete adventure mode. This way, if you don’t want only part of the package, but do want the complete package, you aren’t forced to blindly donate, hoping you didn’t just throw your cash away.

    If you’re like me, you really don’t care much about there just being some added co-op missions, so I absolutely will not put my money in when I will have it taken regardless of whether or not the full product will be finished.

    Of course, there are issues with this idea too. It’d be much harder to market, and there might be Kickstarter related financial reasons it isn’t a good idea.

    • musehoward says:

      @Kitsunin, thanks for the comment! We are giving everyone who backs the project everything we’ll create for Adventure Mode.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Hmm, if you mean that you intend to figure out a way to finish the adventure mode regardless of the Kickstarter’s success…then I guess that would address the issues that there are.

        • musehoward says:

          Yes, we do intend to figure out a way, any way, to finish adventure mode development. So far, it’s what we have been doing as a team. It’s been a tough road, but we got this far! :) I think with Kickstarter, people would always be worried about whether a project would deliver or not, and that’s absolutely right. It’s people’s hard earned money. We’re humbled that people would want to back our project, and so far, against a lot of odds, we’ve managed to deliver the current game, and we definitely intend to finish adventure mode. Thank a lot! Howard

  3. CaBBagE says:

    I was very underwhelmed by the game they released, quite nice ideas but really didn’t gel into an enjoyable experience. I hope them well with their second KS but I won’t be putting any more money or time into it.

    • musehoward says:

      Sorry about that, totally fair. We’re continually working on improving the game, so hopefully the experience is better now than when we first launched. Also, if you have specific issues with the game, please let us know! And we’ll do our best to improve. Thanks!

  4. Firkragg says:

    “to fun an expansion”

    Please do not change this, this is a brilliant way to describe what an expansion should be.

  5. yazman says:

    I’m not sure how you could call this game an MMO o_O That’s a bit like calling Battlefield 3 an MMO. Although to be fair I guess this kickstarter will add elements of that to it.

    • Artist says:

      If it gets any kind of online meta-campaign and more than ~400 players it can be considered as MMO. Not every MMO has the same design concept as the EQ or WoW branch.

  6. Premium User Badge

    lorddon says:

    The state of the game on release versus how it plays now is very different. They cleared up a lot of annoying issues and it’s something I’ll hop on and play a game or two in the evenings nearly every night. There’s something about the way it forces teamplay, and when you find a crew that gels and is able to knock airship after airship out of the sky, that keeps me coming back.

    Their aesthetics are pretty amazing as well. I love the blend of steampunk, high seas, and post-apocalyptic.

    • Nurdell says:

      This is the game which taught me how to “teamplay” – with microphone and stuff. Which is why I want this kickstarter to get all the money it can possibly collect. I want to also point out that there is a [fan] russian translation of the kickstarter page, more projects should do that! (And yeah, bloody gorgeous)

  7. Artist says:

    Seems theres a misunderstanding: The stretch goal for “World Building” is defined as “World Building Tools” which does not mean that no world building will happen without reaching that stretch goal!

    “The last two pillars are the Econo-Political System and World-Building Tools. The stretch goals for each of these pillars are based on our actual financial estimates of what it would take for our team to develop and complete these systems. With your support, we’ll go as far as we can.”

    and:
    “Our world map is pretty ridiculous. Realizing just a small portion of that map means generating a whole lot of gorgeous terrain for you to fly and fight through. A team of our size needs to be smart and invest in R&D, developing tools to work more efficiently. This is why we’re pursuing a procedural system to generate terrain and decoration to speed up the map creation process.”

  8. musehoward says:

    @John, thanks so much for the post! On the point about hedging our bets, we are not a big studio or celebrity game designers, so we felt that we’ll set the funding threshold lower so that we have a chance to achieve something. If we set this at $500K, and we don’t make it, then we will have disappointed everyone who backed us. If we are able to get over a funding threshold, everyone who backs us will get everything that we will ever make for Adventure Mode, and we’ll have to scrounge up funding to get us the rest of the way.

    Point taken that we can be clearer or more specific about the tiers in the video, but we do make it pretty clear on the page. For the video, we wanted to convey the idea of Adventure Mode in a short time. And to your question about using the money we made from the current game to fund, we haven’t made it rich with the release of the current game. The money that we made are sustaining the team and improving the current game. We’re not even at a point where we can pay back the money that we borrowed from family to fund the development current game yet. With Adventure Mode, we do need more help in a lot of different ways, whether that be art, music, or programming.

    Thanks again for the post, and we’ll be sure to update you on our progress! Best, Howard