And now it is a regular. Below you’ll find the latest on the PC Kickstarters that have caught our eye over the last week, including many that people have contacted us about. Want to let me know about your/a vital Kickstarter? There’s no promise of being included at all, but send an email via the link in my name above, and it’ll go in the pot. I think the theme that really comes out this week is just how much money half a million dollars is. When Schafer pitched at $400,000, he thought he was being crazy. That he made $3.5m I think made it look too easy. A few aren’t going to make it, because the numbers are simply too high for the accompanying interest. On the other hand, smaller indies looking for more modest targets are reaching their totals this week. Which opens up the next question of whether these modest targets are unrealistically low… I think there are going to be a lot of interesting tales told in six to eight months time. So as usual, please understand that our listing games here doesn’t mean we endorse them, or think they’re definitely worth your money – it’s your gamble to back anything.
With only six hours to go, the steampunk 2D platformer has made it. The animation is looking quite stilted, but there’s a lovely distinctive style. There seems to be a lot of passion going into this. Also, in informs that robots poop. The man behind it, Eric Provan, has worked on various movies like Alice In Wonderland, and the next Spider-Man project, and clearly has a vision for the surrealist world he’s building. It was a relatively teeny target, and it’s swooped over it by a couple of extra grand.
Things have really slowed down on this reuniting of the Space Quest developers, at $231k the particularly enormous target of half a million looking troublingly far away. Getting a bit confusing in their updates, going on about “Prototype 2” when a game of that name just came out, I think the loss of focus hasn’t been endearing. Fortunately by their fourteenth update they realised they should probably discuss the game they’re actually brainstorming. And then didn’t, saying it was all too soon. Two guys who seemingly haven’t spoken for twenty years saying they’re going to make a game, half a million bucks please, isn’t perhaps enough. They’ve hinted the protagonist may be female this time around, and confirmed it will not step on the Space Quest license at all – not even a cameo from Wilco – and promised space-based dogfights. I’m a little concerned by one line in their update, “No recent sci-fi/fantasy related movie, series or video game is safe from our parody scope. We’re looking at you Avatar, Firefly, and Halo.” That’s not a particularly inspiring use of “recent”.
I’m still bewildered how the Kingdom Of Loathing community hasn’t instantly funded this one a thousand times over. Looking for $100,000, the guys behind the daft MMO are looking to gather funding to develop this new single-player word-based RPG into another online world, essentially selling this one to fund the next. There are still four weeks to go, with nearly half the money raised, but it seems like madness this isn’t draining the world’s wallets more quickly.
To describe this as Terraria in space doesn’t really do justice to the fact that this looks just like Terraria, but in space. But this one is a multiplayer explorer. It’s certainly an interesting take, and the video shows an awful lot of original ideas. There’s also the odd twist that another incredibly similar game is in development in the form of Starbound, that has one of the Terraria artists on board – this could get interesting.
With 11 days to go, and a big push from GOG.com, there’s no doubt this will make its target now. At $384,000 of a $400k total, it’ll sail in I’m sure. It seems there had been some grumbling about its being Steam-only, so they’re creating a DRM-free independent version that will work without Valve’s robot arms that will release later on. And it costs the same. The videos have been fairly tacky, but perhaps that’s par for the course with this series.
In the middle of its run, the usual (gosh, there are now things about Kickstarter gaming projects that are “usual”) slowdown is in place. Stalled at over halfway to its target, they’re going to need to do a big push to pick things up on this one, but with just under three weeks remaining there’s still plenty of time.
I have to admit that Portal (no, not that one) is one I completely missed. The formerly mostly text game is to be reinvented as a third-person adventure, featuring a returning astronaut discovering he’s the last human on Earth (apart from all the ones trying to kill him). It’s asking for a massive $530,000, and while only in the very early stages, hasn’t yet made it to $20k. Which makes their decision to hide half their updates from non-backers a pretty bloody stupid one.
With hours to go, the $20,000 target has been reached for the deliberately incredibly difficult platformer, which they’re claiming has an AI that can develop its own levels. There’s a beta available for those who pledge, to get an idea if it’s as utterly impossible as the video makes it look. $2k over and climbing, there are seven more hours at the time of posting to get in on the tiers.
Drifter has also made it, clearing its $50k goal with over a week to go. Of course, I’m sure they’d be keen to stress that the more they get, the better their space trading game could be, but I’m sure they’re equally happy knowing there’s a big financial injection coming their way.
Things weren’t looking too good for the space-blamming sim, with not a quarter of the hefty $200k goal reached with only five days to go. So they’ve cancelled the whole thing and started over. A bit of a risky move, that. Obviously they weren’t going to get the cash, but it might perhaps test some people’s patience. However, it seems a big part of the relaunch was to address issues with reward tiers (something Kickstarter obviously doesn’t let projects change after they’ve been set.) The game looks splendid, and is almost complete. You can play a demo of it here. They’ve been rejected by Ubisoft, EA, and Square, and are looking to be able to publish it themselves. The issue with their starting again is they’re now on less than half what they’d previously raised, barely a tenth of their goal. But they’ve given themselves 60 days this time, and 57 of them remain. I’ve a feeling this game will come out either way, but if they’re $200,000 short, not making this target means it could be heftily delayed.
There are only four days left for this emergent space explorer with its incredibly varied ships, and it’s still not halfway to its modest $60,000 goal. I’m surprised by this one – I thought it would easily exceed the 60k, but it seems it’s struggling. The last couple of days have seen a healthy extra $6k or so arrive, but it’s going to need a big push from somewhere if it’s to make it.
One that really hasn’t caught any attention so far, with just over £8k made of its rather big $175,000 goal, Always Outnumbered comes from a team that have had publishing success via Konami. This time they’re looking to go it alone, with a tower defence game based on competitive multiplayer. But its funding has been pretty static for a week now – are people willing to fork out for another tower defence game, no matter how big the twist?
It’s not doing itself too many favours by showing most of its in-game footage on an iPhone screen, but Kitaru certainly looks impressive. Astonishing CG seems remarkable for an elaborate RPG project asking for only $25,000, but this is a team using Kickstarter really to gather pre-orders and a beta crew. There’s eight days to go, and they’re almost there. It looks very professional, with motion capture, voice talent and seemingly a ton of cutscenes. However, despite a promised PC release, the offered preview versions seem to be on iPhone alone.
Only asking for a teeny thousand bucks, this very cute-if-primitive-looking 2D RPG obviously owes a bunch to Paper Mario. It’s not quite halfway to its goal, but there are still 15 days on the clock. The final game will be free and released on PC only, which makes for an interestingly altruistic funding model – certainly there are tiers, but the lower end are mostly stuff you’d expect to be dished out for free as promos. Although the maximum $200 is splendid – you get to be the main villain in the game!