Robots Fight Robots: World War Machine Now Crowdfunding

By Alice O'Connor on May 16th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

ROBOTS

A small tip for games developers consider crowdfunding: if your video game is about big stompy robots gallivanting around blowing up other, even bigger robots, your pitch video should probably skip straight to that. Don’t, say, open with some logos, a quote from Carl Jung, and slow footage of a robot ambling about while orchestral music plays. Stompy robots. Guns. Go.

So! World War Machine is about eerily organic robots stomping around and fighting. You can upgrade and customise your robot to make it a cooler, stompier, fightier robot. Your friends can come stomp around too! It’s now crowdfunding, looking for $50,000 (£30 grand) on Indiegogo.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Yes, World War Machine is an action-RPG-y top-down shooter starring giant stompy robots, with local and online co-op. Collecting materials and blueprints will let robots craft new weapons (or 3D-print them, as this is the future) and modules giving abilities from dashes to orbital strikes. Boom bosh, that’s the game.

Those 50 seconds of uninteresting stuff at the start of the video were to set the tone: everyone on Earth died but loads of people uploaded themselves into computers first, then forgot they were ever people, and now like to have fights by making robots. Then one remembers “Hey, we were people!”

World War Machine has come through the Square Enix Collective, which is a weird thing. Developers submit their games to be listed on the Collective site, then if Jo Public likes one enough, Square Enix will vet the dev team to see if they know how to make a video game. If Squeenix believe they do, they launch an IndieGogo campaign with them. Yet they seemingly don’t even offer basic advice on trailers. What’s in it for devs? They get publicity and feedback from the listing, but one imagines it’s less than they could with a minor marketing offensive.

The central service the Collective performs is supposedly vetting dev teams, but Square Enix still don’t guarantee a game will be finished. The reason games don’t net crowdfunding isn’t typically because people think the devs are cheats who don’t even know how to make a game. People either don’t know about a game and therefore can’t back it, or do know and don’t want to give it money. The Collective is a solution for the problem of ‘publishers feel left out of crowdfunding.’

It’s a weird thing.

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20 Comments »

  1. Michael Fogg says:

    “everyone on Earth died but loads of people uploaded themselves into computers first, then forgot they were ever people, and now like to have fights by making robots. Then one remembers “Hey, we were people!””

    Story apparently ripped off an 80′ cartoon ‘Robotix’.

  2. ran93r says:

    Meh. It so wants to be Mechcommander but doesn’t quite get there and decides to be generic ARPG instead, for shame!

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Could you, uh, point me at the part where it tries to be Mechcommander? Cuz I really can’t seem to find it. I’m genuinely confused, I am not getting that vibe from it at all.

      Whether or not it’s going to manage to be a good ARPG is another matter entirely.

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        Cinek says:

        2 legged robots with guns instead of arms shooting.

      • ran93r says:

        The general look and feel is very Mechcommander in my opinion, even the upgrade screen could be confused for a loadout menu. Make the combat turn based and I would be hard pressed to call it anything other than Mechcommander.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          So, it’s got robots, it’s got explosions and it’s got customization? Sorry, I’m still not seeing it. Stylistically it is entirely different, the robots are much closer to existing organic designs like humans and animals, and less like the walking tanks of mechwarrior, the weapons look very different, the enviroments are more near-future-post-apocalypse, the customization window, from that brief clip, is nothing like Mechcommander 1 or 2. Add into that the fact that it’s a seemingly fast paced ARPG in which you (unless I’m mistaken?) control one unit at a time, compared to Mechcommander’s squad-based, pause-able tactics, and I’m just stumbling to find any similarity beyond “big robots you can customize”. Which, y’know, is very nearly every mech game.

          Don’t get me wrong, if you’re seeing that, fair enough. I just don’t think the comparison is fair myself, especially if you’re criticizing them for NOT taking Mechcommander’s route. They just don’t seem to be aiming for that, as far as I can see.

  3. frightlever says:

    I think they’ve gone down the wrong road with the art direction, but the premise is fine.

    • roryok says:

      Are you being sarcastic or something? The art direction is the best thing about this. In fact, the game itself looks kind of shit, but the art direction elevates it.

  4. XhomeB says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind when I read or hear about “robot vs robot wars” is Z. Bitmap Brothers was such a good studio, every game they made back in the day was a gem.

  5. Simes says:

    I quite like that cloak. Even in the age of robots fighting robots, one can still take the time to try to look dapper.

    On the other hand, “Escort Mission Unlocked”.

    • Felixader says:

      Oh yes, indeed. “Escort Mission Unlocked” is something your probably should keep as far away from your game’s trailer as possible. X-P

  6. roryok says:

    The yellow paint on those taxis is holding up pretty well after 500 years.

    The art on this game’s site looks absolutely stunning. The game, on the other hand, does not. It just looks like an average PS2 shooter.

    I think they should abandon the entire project and start a new one where they just draw cool robots all day.

  7. roryok says:

    FYI the concept artist for this project worked on District 9, Avatar and Elysium

  8. secuda says:

    Oh though for a minut it was going to be a new RTS of some sort.

  9. DanMan says:

    Amen @ that first paragraph. That is all.

  10. buzzmong says:

    Crikey, I’ve not seen gameplay like that since the mid-late 90′s when those types of 3d fixed isometric view shooters were quite popular.

  11. TechnicalBen says:

    Wow, this is scaled down a lot. If I remember correctly, the concept art for this included some massive robots. Though that art could be from a similar project or just musings from the current artist. I was expecting something on the scale of Hawken or larger.