Fallout-Inspired After Reset Reboots Kickstarter

By Ben Barrett on July 14th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

After Reset, an RPG which emulates in unequal parts Fallout, Neverwinter Nights, Planescape: Torment, first showed up on Kickstarter last year. It was after a whopping $900,000 but missed the early 2013 bubble where basically any game with concept art and an idea could get funded, so fell vastly short. Black Cloud Studios and lead developer Richard Nixon, who has an understandable fascination with using his own name, went dark until they set up another, more successful project for a prequel graphic novel for the game.

That now forms one of the rewards for the “rebooted” game Kickstarter, which has managed to drop its target by 96% to $35k. Predictably, there’s a trade-off: this is to fund only the prologue chapter of the game, hoping to then use sales or further crowd-funding means to complete the entire thing. Hmm. Quite a significant drop to still develop all the major systems behind the game. Have a look at the pitch video and some additional thoughts below.

Far from the best pitch video I’ve ever seen. Simply uploading an intro or trailer is not good enough for Kickstarter, where you’re expecting people to put down real money and not see a return for many months, at the earliest. Decisions like this are likely why the first project, much of which’s content has been brought over to the new one, failed. Black Cloud are doing some things right, there’s daily updates with extraordinary amounts of detail on how the game’s world operates. There’s even more over on the official forums.

Projects like this always cause me to frown. On the one hand, it’s obviously not against the rules of Kickstarter and some of the most impressive and successful projects have come out of failed attempts from years before. People are free to use their money however they wish and the risks and challenges of every project have to be spelled out. On the other – is this really going to be as good a game as it would have been making the whole thing for $900k? Sure, the length is lowered, but that can’t account for that amount of money and presumably the plan is to build the systems on which to develop the rest of the game. The new Kickstarter is almost identical to the old one, promising the same end goal with only a couple of mentions of the new nature of the project. It makes me a little more uncomfortable than usual, and there isn’t a massive threshold for that in the already muddy waters of Kickstarter.

It is mightily ambitious and makes a lot of assurances to retain an “old school, hardcore” feel – mostly by disparaging the directions MMOs have taken the RPG genre. It’s a way to garner interest but I’d far rather see project leaders express the merits of their own game as clearly as possible, instead of ragging on others. By the looks of things it’s going to make its target, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops in the future. I’d love for my suspicions to be unfounded, since it’s a setting/genre combo I’m in constant need of.

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37 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Does it still say you’ll be giving money to a vast team of artists and “workaholics” under the lead of a furniture sales marketer?

    Indeed it does. Delightful.

    • khalilravanna says:

      No, no. He’s an *international* furniture businessman. From Russia With Loveseats.

      I will say, on the topic of being sold things by people who sell furniture, if this was the Montgomery Flea Market video guy I would be funding this immediately.

    • Premium User Badge

      aleander says:

      Did they just *proudly* announce they hire workaholics? Like, implying that abusing workaholism is a good thing? Sheesh. I mean, I guess that’s de facto standard in IT, but eurgh. You’re supposed to call it “enthusiastic” and “people who love their jobs”.

      • Sleepy Will says:

        I’ve flushed all your workahol down the toilet. It’s for your own good. Yes, I found your stash in the pants draw, flushed that too.

        • Wildeheart says:

          It may be the workahol speaking but I’ve never laughed so hard. All my base are belong to you good sir!

  2. Dawngreeter says:

    He is not a crook.

  3. Keyrock says:

    I’m not sure if I trust Tricky Dick to be 100% on the level.

  4. Koozer says:

    A massive RPG made by a furniture business owner, with grammar mistakes on the Kickstarter page, asking for a suspiciously small amount of cash? Where do I sign up! Ooh, there’s also the promise that they will do a full ‘super CGI’ trailer for $20k, when in the very same sentence say that they know CGI costs over $100k per minute.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      It’s obviously going to be a 10 second log super CGI trailer. With furniture, probably. Maybe I in CGI stands for IKEA.

    • p14c3b0 says:

      hopefully this game will finally feature true next-gen furniture

      • Koozer says:

        I hope the vast barren wastelands of the apocalyptic future hold an unusually large quantity of tasteful furniture at reasonable prices.

        • The Random One says:

          Make sure you allot plenty of skill points into Ottoman Repair.

    • Gamboni says:

      A $20k CGI intro? How can that possibly be a priority for an oldschool, hardcore RPG? The pitch states “…for us, graphics aren’t a key factor in roleplaying games”, yet a CGI intro makes it in as their first stretch goal? If anything, it should be the last one. Ill-thought-out and bizarrely out of touch for someone who clearly does have a passion for oldschool RPGs.

      • teije says:

        Of the many things that struck me as “off” in the KS pitch, this was the most smelly. Who gives a shit about a CGI intro, regardless of how much it costs, in an self-proclaimed old-school RPG? That should be not just at the bottom of the priority list, but not even on it, definitely not the first stretch goal,

    • MrNixon says:

      Thanks for pointing. We’ll change it to “cinematic intro” so that it looks less confusing.

      • Trudel says:

        Then why haven’t you done it yet?
        Edit: And anyway, the point still stands. Why use $20k for an intro movie? Surely there are better stretchgoals to be had or other uses for the money (should you raise it)?

  5. Nibblet says:

    Wrote this off as a scam after seeing the pitch so did not pay too much attention to it but i do remember one update where he described the alignment system.
    He quite literally ripped off Baldurs Gate’s alignment system complete with the ingame descriptions of the various alignments.

  6. Gilead says:

    Reading the pitch does not give me a good feeling about this.

    Also, according to the Kickstarter pitch ‘Mr Nixon’ worked on a Neverwinter Nights 2 ‘Fallout D20′ mod. After a minute of Googling I found a forum thread on No Mutants Allowed from back in 2011 where the indomitable Mr Nixon requested help from people to complete the mod.

    One poster had a look at the screenshots and then said “fairly sure you can’t use Fallout 3/New Vegas assets? Because I can spot a damn lot of them in those screenshots.”

    Mr Nixon replied with “There’s no law problem: 1st, it is free to play fan mode; here, among the mountain villages of Asia, we don’t have any copyright’s law ”

    I don’t believe I’ll be giving any money to Mr Nixon.

  7. Truck_Rockpec says:

    I don’t know anything about programming or game development, but isn’t it odd that he claims After Reset is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux simultaneously? Doesn’t this make for a significantly more challenging project? And how do you get Greenlit on Steam if you don’t actually have a game to sell?

    I did enjoy that trailer, in a wry sort of way. It struggles mightily to prime its audience into associating AR with well loved games; some of the language was lifted directly from the Fallout 1 intro, which in my line of work would be considered plagiarism.

    • Premium User Badge

      onesandzeroes says:

      If you’re using a game engine like Unity that supports all 3 platforms, then as long as you stick to what the engine provides, you can have more or less the same code working on Windows, Mac and Linux. If features you need aren’t provided by the engine though, you have to start using external libraries or writing your own, which is where platform-specific issues will start to crop up.

  8. lordfrikk says:

    Nope, thanks.

  9. nrvsNRG says:

    well that was crap

  10. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    First he does Watergate, then he wants our Kickstarter money?

    No thanks.

  11. MrNixon says:

    Guys, no need to be so rude. I’m a common gamer like you who once decided to do smth. good instead of chatting and complaining. And there is no mystery, I’m quite open person. Feel free to write me directly in case you wan to say or ask smth: mrnixon@afterreset.com

    • thebigJ_A says:

      If anything, this comment makes you seem *even more shady*.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I especially like “ask smth”. Makes me want to ask. You know. Smth.

        • Gilead says:

          Everybody knows Smth. Nice man. Lost the ‘i’ in his name in a tragic yachting accident. If anybody can sort this mess out, it’s him.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            True, true. Though I’m vaguely worried that MrNixon decided “to do Smth”.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            That kind of action will have your i out

    • TheTingler says:

      I think people are worried about After Reset because of some warning signs, notably the massive price lowering and the fact that this is just for the Prologue of the game. Sorry Mr Nixon, people don’t back Episode 1s or Prologues of projects.

      I’m also a bit perplexed about how you say that you want to make After Reset because people don’t make proper Fallout-style RPGs anymore, and yet Wasteland 2 is out next month.

  12. paddymaxson says:

    I really like their promo picture of Walter white http://afterreset.com/ARMEDIA/PR/Monsters.png

  13. Crainey says:

    They are obviously hoping they will get significantly more than their target, which is probably a safe bet, but one has to wonder if setting the bar so low (especially after already failing) reduces people’s expectations of quality thus resulting in less funders [correction: it does].

  14. Darth Gangrel says:

    People have the right to be suspicious, although calling it a scam is perhaps overdoing it. Like any kickstarters, I’ll wait until it’s done before I pass judgement and decide if I want to get it. Although, with my backlog that’s not very likely and when it comes to successful kickstarters, Divinity: Original Sin is already waiting for me. Shadowrun Returns also seems great and then there are the multi-million dollar kickstarters like Project Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera coming in a year or two.