Next Car Game Crashes Kickstarter

By Craig Pearson on November 4th, 2013 at 11:00 am.


BugBear’s Next Car Game is the spiritual successor to their FlatOut series. And by that I mean it’s covered in ectoplasm and knocking on the pipes and oh no it’s grabbed television’s Sarah Greene! But in another sense this is the game they’ve always wanted to make. One which conveys everything they’ve learned and put into their car crashing racing games, but in a new engine and without the FlatOut name. Up until a few days ago, the team had been attempting to fund it through their own pre-order website in a scheme that seemed like the spiritual successor to Kickstarter, but now they’ve moved onto an actual Kickstarter. Pitch is below.

It looks like a fun game: mashed-up cars, plenty of customisation, and lots and lots of crashing. But the previous pre-order site is now gone, vanishing like Slimer through a hotel wall, which is actually annoying as I can’t compare the Kickstarter rewards to what they were initially offering, and I can’t see how much money they took in before everything was moved over to the daddy of crowd-funding sites.

They’ve been live for a few days and only taken in about $20,000 of a $350,000 goal. What’s going on there, then? Kickstarter fatigue? Was it not widely known? Are people just not fussed with the game?

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62 Comments »

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  1. MaXimillion says:

    I wonder what loophole(s) they’re using to get around the restrictions on fundraising/donations in Finland

    • Detocroix says:

      Looks legit.

      The earlier Finnish crowdfunding issues have been with tier rewards that were the same in terms of content but with a different name and price OR not appearing to be “purchases” at all (e.g. thank you letter is not a purchase, but a digital postcard is).

      The Next Car Game kickstarter also mentions that kickstarter wasn’t possible before their pre-order campaign on something like that, which suggests that you are actually buying this game OR various goods related to it.

      These make it legit. Crowdfunding is legal in Finland, however there are certain words and things you can’t use, e.g. charity (definitely not), donation (I think it falls to the charity as a term), also the price of certain good must always be same (So standard edition for 5 bucks is fine. Standard edition as a tier and another tier with standard edition + “Warm feeling of knowing you did the right thing” for 10 bucks breaks the rules.).

      Basically a customer, no matter who, is supposed to pay the same price for the same good. And their money should always either give some kind of goods or services. You are not allowed to just give away money.

  2. Brumisator says:

    Okay, I’ll be a good little patriot and give them some of my hard earned money.

    Probably it’s not been funded properly yet…because sites like RPS didn’t tell us about it. lowly humans like us can’t intuit that projects like this are happening.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    Kickstarter fatigue isn’t a thing, and shame on you for saying so two articles up from a story about a game that asked for $27k and got $645k.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Well, there are exceptions. Doesn’t change the fact that Kickstarter fatigue IS a thing. Seen at least few decent projects that weren’t raised. And some of the recent failures (Clang and Double Fine being two most obvious) made people slightly more cautious.
      Oh… and timing… Xmas present season… not really best period IMHO. Especially for a game that will be ready god-knows-when.

      BTW: ” Add $20 USD to ship outside the US ” – and they got studio based in FINLAND?! WTF?!
      How about “Add $20 USD to ship outside the European Union” for one time?

      • InternetBatman says:

        There have always been decent games that didn’t get funded, but they are still generally the exception to the rule. A few games that probably shouldn’t get funded do too. Out of five games I was interested in that ended last week, four of them were funded. That’s a pretty strong showing. If you go back on the main page, about 20% of the first three pages is articles on kickstarter games. Writers will sometimes profess their surprise when an indie game isn’t kickstarted. Fatigue isn’t an issue, but now it’s a mundane success and we barely notice it.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        Absolutely right. Kickstarter fatigue is obvious to any of us who still try to follow new games on there. Sure, the odd game will get funded and even go over, but most languish at 10%, despite having playable demos(a sign of significant progress).

        • InternetBatman says:

          It’s not just the odd game. If you look at the numbers on these two posts:
          http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/the-year-of-the-game
          http://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats
          It’s pretty clear that the amount of total funding for games this year has doubled from last year and the negligible previous years combined (188m total game funding vs. 53m). If you switch the month imbalance around, and use this post, 2013 still getting $3m more in funding a month than 2012. Now you could argue that there’s been a recent slowdown, but Project Phoenix, Phoenix Project, Hyperlight Drifter, and Mighty No. 9, all beg to differ.

          You could argue that there’s been a shift, and most of the money is now going to huge projects, and I don’t have hard data to argue, but Hot Tin Roof and Octopus City have been successful at low levels; Sunless Sea and the Long Dark have been successful at mid levels; and Mighty No. 9 and Project Phoenix have been successful at high levels.

          We don’t see how many successful games there are anymore because RPS doesn’t do a katchup, and they will do articles about how a game is in danger of not being funded.

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            Cinek says:

            Kickstarter fatigue refers mostly to people who already backed few games in last 2-3 years. Not to newcomers (and these are mostly people who make all of these stats).
            From all of the game you mentioned I heard about only one – Hyperlight – and backed it. Meanwhile crowdfunding campaigns start to stand on their own legs (most funded gaming project ever – SC – gathered huge majority of founds on it’s own, with KS backers being small minority) and after few loud delays, failures, etc. media don’t run so quickly pissing their pants over every single KS game like it used to be last year. You might choose not to see it, but it doesn’t change a reality. Boom for crowdfunding is over. Now it’s slowly maturing market (doesn’t change a fact though that huge amount of money still gets pumped in there). And that’s fine, cause I much more prefer mature, more reasonable project than simple “give me money, I’ll make a game” like it used to be last year.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I’m just looking at the numbers. Every single one of those games were featured on RPS, many were featured multiple times. 60% of videogame funding on kickstarter came from repeat backers. Mighty No. 9 and Project Phoenix both made over $1m a little more than a month ago. Shantae made $700k+.

            A market maturing does not mean that it has reached the point of fatigue or that some bubble has burst. Furthermore, the numbers don’t lie. I don’t see how you can look at 150% to 200% yearly growth and saying fatigue has set in. If growth was 0%, but not negative, I would still have a hard time saying fatigue had set in.

            I have yet to see a reasonable argument that shows the existence of said fatigue, only people saying “well I’m tired of hearing about kickstarter so it must be showing fatigue.” Look at the numbers and make your point, or find a more accurate set of data, but qualitative stories and anecdotal data is a very poor way of discerning long term patterns. So yes, I am looking at reality, and not what I choose to see.

      • tomimt says:

        I wouldn’t call Double Fine’s Broken Age a failure. Sure, it went over the budget, but the game is still in production with the companys own money from their other sales. It’s perhaps a failure in budget management, but as an overall project it can’t yet be called a failure.

        Clang in the other hand is a definitive failure, as is Code Hero (though not that many people know about it as it’s much smaller project) as well.

        • InternetBatman says:

          If he hadn’t released that smarmy letter, I think its failure would have gone over better. The pitch for Clang! was flawed, even though I wanted it to succeed. They didn’t strongly commit to whether they were building a prototype or a full game, and you could believe one or the other from looking at and reading the pitch.

          I think a bigger issue is that a lot of companies are purposefully underestimating the amount of money it takes to make a game so their pitch is successful and then not paying people/putting houses up for mortgage/ etc. to make the game.

          The real fatigue is going to be creator fatigue, when someone loses everything because they failed the kickstarter, not funding fatigue.

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            Cinek says:

            “The real fatigue is going to be creator fatigue,” – that won’t happen. There over 7 billion people in the world, and pretty much anyone can go for KS asking money for whatever he wants to do tomorrow. Creators always will be there.

        • PegasusOrgans says:

          Double Fine is absolutely not a failed project, but the Internet Hate Machine loves to attack everything. Hell, even Code Hero is chugging along, having released a build a couple months ago. I only pledged a small amount to CH so I don’t feel ripped off, but then again, I have so many unplayed games thanks to the insane GoG, Steam, Greenman Gaming ETC sales that I can wait till these guys finish developing their product.

          Most people seemingly have nothing else to do but obsess over what their 20$ “donation” was used for, as if it gives them some kind of power to push around the developer and scream at them. Hell, I have 200$ pledges and I’m just letting the dev do their thing without getting hot and bothered about when the game’s getting released.

          Everyone seems to have forgotten what the entire point of having these Kickstarter based investments are for, and have adopted the very same personality traits of the publisher executives they supposedly “hate” so much.

          The feelings of entitlement are so obvious and bloated, the cries of “scammers” so loud, that I wonder why these very same people can’t understand the mind of your average publisher, cuz, guess what? ALL developers have trouble getting games released on schedule and often games have their release windows pushed back, thing is we don’t hear about most of it. The publisher often share the same sense of entitlement the backers do, and thus you see many games forced out the door. It’s easy to blame the devs, but how many of us could do what they do?

  4. aldo_14 says:

    Perhaps they need a better name?

    ‘Next car game’ might imply, to a lot of people, something that is very incomplete and ergo not worth looking at.

    Or maybe it’ll pick up rapidly once people report on the ‘surprisingly low pledges’ or something.

    • P.Funk says:

      Its a term thats clearly meant to convey that its going to be THE evolution of car games. That people might be too dim to understand this is possible, but I’m not sure.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Following Occam’s Razor is dim now?

      • aldo_14 says:

        If you say ‘next dinner is meatballs’, it doesn’t imply meatballs are the evolution of dinner.

        To me it implies ‘internal development codename for something that we’ve not settled on a name for yet’. Which is ok, but people glancing at the name alone might not feel particularly enticed, any more than they would if it was ‘car game’.

    • dE says:

      To me, the next something always has a rather cynical tone to it. Kinda like here:
      1:25-1:55 -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=CWrMGXwhFLk#t=85

      So yeah, in a way I wouldn’t be surprised if it really is their name, which is a problem here.

    • Detocroix says:

      “Mind you, Next Car Game is just a working title for us. As a matter of fact, our every game is referred internally as ‘Next Car Game’ or ‘NCG’ for short when we’re developing the game. Since our efforts in coming up with a credible name were pretty rotten we will give you as a backer a unique chance to participate in choosing the final name for the game!”

      They do say this, but if they go public with such a name, they’ll probably have to stay with the name…

      …and it’s dreadful.

    • Necroscope says:

      Simple. Take the deathtraps shown grinding the car up in the demo reel, add them to an evolution of the FlatOut tracks like the sawmill(!), perfect match oh yes!, and call it GrindOut!

  5. MrJohann says:

    They haven’t yet told those of us who pre-ordered from the site that everything had moved to kick starter. Does this mean that the pre-orders are now null? Does this mean that I should/shouldn’t kickstart this?

    No idea. Not sure they’ve said anything on Facebook either. Monthly email update is a week late too. Tough love, bugbear, tough love. What do you want from me? :”(

    Edit: Looks like the two are planned to run concurrently. They must have just worked out how to do kick starter legally.

    • Wezz6400 says:

      This has been adressed in an e-mail send out to everyone who pre-ordered the game.

      We’re definitely not forgetting our early supporters either. Everyone who has preordered the game will receive the same sneak peak demo as the Kickstarter backers after the campaign, and should we meet the initial goal, the extra content that has been added to some of the reward tiers. We will also make sure our preorder customers have access to new goodies such as the t-shirt (which is going to be totally awesome, by the way!). Should you want to upgrade your order, please hold on until the end of Kickstarter, after which we will arrange you a method to upgrade should you so wish. THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, WE LOVE YOU!

  6. rustybroomhandle says:

    I think the phrase “Kickstarter fatigue” is in the same family as “the devil made me do it”.

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    Keymonk says:

    I thought this article was going to be about a game that got so much attention it crashed kickstarter. Aw. :(

  8. wodin says:

    Backed..the FlatOut series is the only driving games I’ve ever really enjoyed. Surprised this is a slow start though maybe few have heard about it..hope it doesn’t fail though.

    • skyturnedred says:

      FlatOut 2 is my favourite racing game of all time, but I Carmageddon is my favourite car game. I just love the destruction and mayhem in those games. Driver was great too.

  9. Dermott says:

    hey craig,

    i wrote about the normal pre order and ks start in german language here: http://indiecrowd.de/flatout-entwickler-starten-pre-order-fuer-next-car-game/ and here http://indiecrowd.de/crash-boom-bang-next-car-game-jetzt-auf-kickstarter/

    it was $25 for the game through pre order and now on kickstarter $20. Both had a small “pre alpha demo” within. So they went to a better price for kickstarter…

    • tapio says:

      Actually, the lowest preorder level also included early access version, which is not the same as sneak peak. The corresponding kickstarter level is Weekend Smasher.

  10. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    On the Kickstarter page the ‘Your Choice’ silhouette car is a Fiat 124/Lada Riva/Vaz 2104/5/7 I do believe!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m trying to think which third area would be interesting.

      Which is also kind of worrying me; I’d rather they didn’t put decisions in the hands of fans. Fans are terrible. I don’t want what some vocal forum-goers think they want; I want what the guys who made FlatOut think is best.

  11. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I don’t like that in the pitch they say they have a tech demo ready to hand out to backers as soon as the kickstarter finishes. Surely if they had confidence in their product then putting that out now would increase donations?

  12. Love Albatross says:

    Mmm…yes. Flatout UC remains my all-time favourite racer so I’m all over this.

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    Gap Gen says:

    Wait, so spiritual successor doesn’t mean it’s about gospel music? No sale.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      A Spiritual Successor is part of god, part No.1002047/2. It’s part of the Rapture suppression system!

  14. Jason Moyer says:

    As great as FlatOut was, I wish they’d make another, better Rally Trophy game.

    • ChainsawCharlie says:

      Logged in just to say this. Rally Trophy was amazing!

  15. kekstee says:

    I have very fond memories of the first FlatOut, with the series kinda going downhill a bit from there. So as long as they promise just cars and dusty tracks to race on, I’m in :)

  16. Darkhorse says:

    Car game – Ghostwatch reference(?) Good work

  17. PegasusOrgans says:

    “Kickstarter fatigue” is at least partially the fault of big sites like RPS failing to show the same interest in big games or interesting projects like they used to. What happened to the Kickstarter ketchup? That was what I relied on a while ago, and you guys dropped that particular ball. Here, want to do a new list? Try these games.

    Lords of Xulima
    Obduction
    The Mandate
    Lords of Discord
    Graywalkers: Purgatory
    Steam Works Video Game
    Mark of the Old Ones
    Super Roman Conquest
    Supreme Ruler 1936
    Bolt Riley
    Timothy Zahn’s Parallax
    Trials of Ascension
    Unsworn
    Hollow
    Red Baron
    Fright Fight
    You Are Not The Hero
    Max Gentlemen

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s not much, but I do a weekly round up on the forums, and Revisor does a great one over on reddit.

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?11523-Kommunity-Kickstarter-Katchup-Kollektiv

    • tomimt says:

      i think rather than fatigue it should be asked if the general audience is really that interested about any given project. After all, that’s what KS is about: to see if people are interested enough. It really should tell the devs something if they’v tried to Kickstart their game three times, always failing well short. Some times it just happens that the audience might be on the same page with the publishers about your game.

    • dE says:

      I will get so much Flak for it, but I always thought that Kickstarter isn’t the big leap it seems to be. Instead of pitching your game to publishers, it’s now pitching the game to journalists. Instead of trying to satisfy the jaded business side of gaming, you’re trying to satisfy the jaded journalist side of gaming. While it will be players that fund the game, a mention on a big news site has enough power to make or break a kickstarter.
      It shifts the power from the Publishers to the News Outlets. It’s a different power, a fresh wind indeed, but in essense it has just moved from one gatekeeper to another.

      While I’m grateful for all the different games that come out of it (after all, journalists seem to be on the polar opposite side of taste from the business people), I have to wonder if it is really such a glorious and liberating experience after all.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I don’t think that’s quite true. There are a ton of minor successes on kickstarter that we never hear about on the main sites like Cities of Gold, Knite and the Ghost Lights, HuniePop, Steam Squad, and Edo Superstar, but together they’re worth over $250k.

        I think the larger issue with that argument is that you can’t determine the causal relationship; some games aren’t picked up until after they’ve raised a substantial amount (Universum War), and some games are funded before they hit any or all of the main sites (Mighty No. 9). Certainly the press helps, but I would say they only have clear positions of power over medium sized projects; they don’t cover small ones regularly, and large ones normally have their own fanbase or won’t be successful otherwise. In the publisher model, the publisher has a clear position of power and they are the reason a game gets made or not; crowdfunding probably judges the needs of the market with greater and more accurate efficiency.

        Furthermore, the media are not a monolithic block, so while Adam can unwisely push Dropsy and make it (twice), for larger projects the creators themselves could possibly provide more benefit to the sites than the sites provide to them.

        It’s certainly more beneficial for both the devs and the journalists than the publisher model (while being a mixed bag for the customer).

        • Premium User Badge

          Cinek says:

          InternetBatman – erm… you read the same RPS I do? They still post plenty of stuff about indie games INCLUDING these that got founded through KS.
          What’s up with these accusations out of nowhere InternetBatman? Did RPS denied publishing news about your game, or what? Cause you sound oddly frustrated for no apparent reason.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I’ve never sold a game in my life, and never been on kickstarter. There are no accusations (except Nathan being irresponsible by promoting Dropsy). I’m just really into kickstarter. Always have been. But there are hundreds of kickstarter success that RPS can’t, shouldn’t, and hasn’t covered. There are many more failures that RPS can’t, shouldn’t, and haven’t covered.

            Does RPS readership really care about Drayt Empire or Monstermatic? If not, then they probably shouldn’t cover it. Yet, the two were successful. This post was just a recognition of the differing priorities between the backers of a project and RPS, yet many projects are still there, successfully funded but unseen.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Wait, what was the problem with Dropsy?

          • InternetBatman says:

            The guy making it has an abysmal track record: four failed album kickstarters; an original successful kickstarter for Dropsy ($255 to buy some software licenses) which claimed the game would be given out for free at the end; a failed $25k Dropsy campaign which changed it to be text free; and this campaign, which is about half of the last asking price. All of this was handwaved away in the article covering the newest campaign. I’m sure you know what a good sign wildly oscillating cost estimates and scopes are in software development.

            If you assume that the press should watch out for the interests their readers, then that was a pretty serious failure on Nathan’s part. It shouldn’t have been covered, at all.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Eeesh, yeah. That’s a rather egregious failure of investigation.

          • gaspyconana@gmail.com says:

            Hi, this is Jay. I totally get your apprehension, but I’m going to try to respond anyway because I care a lot about this:

            I’ve admitted many times that the first campaign was naive. I wasn’t coming from a game design background, and I only had a character and the idea to “make an adventure game” with him. I made a mistake. I’ve since done two years of research and planning, finished a TON of art and music, and have the structure for the game totally finished. It’s making me super sad to see someone using something I’ve worked so hard on over the past few years as a negative footnote in some argument.

            This is what I’m all about, it’s what I wake up in the morning to do. I can’t NOT think about this game. What else do you want me to do!? I’ve not given up on it, and all of my original backers are still getting their rewards.

            (And you’re right, I did have a few failed music projects. Failed means that I didn’t get the money to record them. I did, however, end up recording ALL of them myself, with my own money. You can find them online. I don’t get why having failed campaigns is a strike against me unless you think I’m just looking for a cash grab or something. I’m not paying myself with this money. At all.)

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      Cinek says:

      PegasusOrgans – you got things other way around. Ketchup stopped being posted BECAUSE OF Kickstarter fatigue. People weren’t interested in it any more so they stopped wasting time on it. They never caused Kickstarter fatigue.

      • The Random One says:

        So why did people keep asking on other articles where the Katchup went for weeks after it stopped?

  18. ColonelClaw says:

    True story: Sarah Greene’s younger sister Laura was in my class at school. Never liked her much.

  19. Megakoresh says:

    I have a feeling a lot of people have forgotten what Flatout is. Personally I never enjoyed Flatout, because the car movement felt too floaty and uncontrollable, the cars felt way too heavy for how weak the traction and steering responsiveness was. But Flatout was a fun game anyway, especially in multiplayer. I don’t think I will be backing this just yet, but this game is on my radar nonetheless.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I have a feeling you’re just trying to give your opinion more weight by projecting it out to “a lot of people”.

      • fooga44 says:

        Given the horrible track record of the developer of games with serious bugs and the fact that many players complain loudly about Driftopia’s poor car physics, we can safely say the car model used by bugbear is balls. All bugbears games inherit code from the same engine they’ve been using for a long time.

        Ridge racer Unbounded had show-stopping bugs even after it was patched with you not being able to smash through shortcuts. Normally a target appears showing you where to drive through but the target would disappear too early and re-enable collision detection as if it was a solid wall. So you couldn’t smash through and just stopped dead/crashed. This was after many patches and it still exists in the game.

        Bugbear has serious problems as a game developer, the games it develops have huge bugs in them. Ridge racer unbounded was a sloppy port with so many errors it is maddening.