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Kickstarter Katchup 9th June 2012

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Another week, another inbox stuffed full of Kickstarters people believe are worth a mention. So below you’ll find the latest on the status of all the projects that have caught our eye, successes, failures, and the in-between.

As ever, two things. Firstly, our including a link to a project here does not mean we endorse it, or believe it’s worth giving your money. That’s your choice. Secondly, if you think there’s something that should be in the list, email me at the address behind my name above, rather than leaving comments. (And can I suggest not being rude about, or titling your email, “I can’t believe you forgot…”) Sending us a link is no guarantee it’ll appear in the Katchup. The value of Kickstarter projects can go down as well as up. Your home may be at risk if you do not keep up your payments to Tim Schafer.

The Winners

Tex Murphy: Project Fedora – Aaron Conners and Chris Jones

The big success this week was Tex Murphy: Project Fedora. Chris Jones and Aaron Conners’ attempt to relaunch their well-loved FMV detective has flown past the $450,000 goal, and currently sits just shy of half a million. With six days to go, and some pretty smart tactics in how they’ve encouraged attention, I think this could even get as high as $550,000 by the time it’s done, which means a few of their stretch goals will be realised too.

Edge Of Space – HandyMan Studios

With the most remarkable surge toward the end, what looked like it might stall ended up clearing a $25,000 target by another $10,495, meaning a very happy indie team is going full steam ahead with their Terraria-a-like space-based multiplayer platformer. With sharks.

Xenonauts – Goldhawk Interactive

Obviously this one was successful about fourteen seconds after it launched, but it’s just winding up now with 30 hours to go. They’ve made an amazing $134,311, nearly tripling their $50k original goal, but now’s your last chance to get any of the reward tiers, should that be a thing you wanted to do.

The Losers

Rob Swigart’s Portal (1986) Reborn v2.0 – Subliminal Games

With no doubt at all that they weren’t going to make a massive $530,000 target, the project was cancelled this week, despite there still being three weeks to go. It stalled at around $20k, and had been stuck around that number for nearly two weeks. While it would have been fascinating to see this mostly-forgotten 80s adventure brought back to life, their ambitions seem to have far exceeded people’s interest. This was already their second attempt, with a massively reduced target. But of course, as I imagine will always be the case with failed Kickstarters, they aren’t giving up. And wisely, the first part of that looks likely to be an attempt to educate people who Rob Swigart is, and why they should care about Portal. And, I hope, come up with a flipping name for it. That could well involve another Kickstarter some time in the future.

Always Outnumbered – SRRN Games and GO Gaming

This attempt to create a new angle on a multiplayer tower defence never caught fire, and eventually stumbled over its deadline with only $9,483 of a $175k goal. They report the experience was positive, and have taken on board a lot of feedback. And of course are still working on the game anyway. They spent last week at E3 showing the game to publishers, so we wish them the best of luck in finding funding that way. They also released a new video:

The Runners

Dead State – DoubleBear Productions

Zooming up to $80k in their first week, the $150,000 total looks easily reachable for this incredibly ambitious zombie RPG. There are almost four weeks left, too, so they’re rather cockily already announcing their stretch goals. But that cockiness will likely pay off. You can find out an enormous amount about the project from our gargantuan interview with the developers.

Lily Looking Through – Geeta Games

I’m very pleased to see that the lovely looking Lily Looking Through is almost funded. Adam fell for it completely when it caught his eye last week. They’re only after $18,000, and they’re already over $16k. With three weeks to go, it seems inevitable that this’ll get funded, but it’ll be nice to see how much over that target it can get. If they can double it, the game will also reach tablets. Their video makes the mistake of spending too much time talking, and not enough time showing, but the goggles bit is great. (Also, they probably learned the lesson that you need to mic yourself, not the camera, a bit late.) Fortunately there’s a footage trailer too:

Two Guys SpaceVenture – Two Guys From Andromeda

Oh boy, this one’s going to be close. I think it was just bad luck for these guys that their launch caught a bit of a Sierra veteran project fatigue, coming in the dust of Jane Jensen and Al Lowe, and as great as some of the Space Quest games were, they haven’t been remembered nearly as favourably. Not having the ability to use the Space Quest name, nor characters from it, also can’t have helped. But that all said, they’re damned close to reaching their goal. With just three days left, they’re at $417,000 of their half million desires, and plenty of projects have seen that last lump come in in the final moments. However, I think they’ve somewhat blown their load with incessant, irrelevant and damned annoying updates throughout – 45 so far – meaning gathering attention at the end is going to be tougher for them. I know I unsubscribed from their bloody emails a week ago.

Haunts: The Manse Macabre – Rick Dakan

Despite a month’s advertising on the My Brother, My Brother And Me podcast, Haunts has been slow to get to the (apposite) $13,666 it’s gathered of its $25,000 target. A turn-based horror game, it’s a multiplayer haunt-em-up, where you can play as either the intruders or the ghosties. It’s only $5 to secure a copy, and then despite other rewards in the higher tiers, each extra $5 you donate nets you another copy. The highest tier of $250 gets you 50 copies. Which is mad. Also important to note is just how spoooooky Rick Dakan looks in his video.

Sam Suede In Undercover Exposure – Wisecrack Games

After a real mess of a launch, with very misleading suggestions that Al Lowe was actively working on the game, the project page eventually received a rewrite that, well, seems to say the same things but slightly less overtly. Of course, Lowe did work on the game years ago, and the character is partly his creation. And they’ve got Broken Sword’s Steve Ince secured to write on the project should it succeed. However, that’s not looking enormously likely, even with well over a month to go. Despite the considerable publicity the fuss gave the page, it’s still shy of $9,000, when aiming for a ludicrous $500,000.

TorchShips – John Carl Gillespie

Bearing in mind just how many people have contacted us about this one, I’m astonished it doesn’t have more than the $6k it’s raised for a $40,000 goal. With only 8 days left to go, it’s going to need a big turnaround in fortunes, but blimey, a lot of our readers seem keen that it will happen. It’s a space combat simulator that looks super-hardcore, with copies going for $10 pledges.

Skyjacker – DIGITILUS

I think I’ll be leaving this one off the list for a few weeks now, since there are still 43 days to go. They’re over a quarter of the way to their second attempt to make $200,000, but I imagine things will be quite for another month before a bigger finish.

Zombie Playground – Massive Black Inc.

Even though they say “plethora” in their video, and calling themselves “Massive Black [chicken picture]”, this online action RPG has already raised $55k of its $100,000 goal. Although it features playing as kids, it won’t be a game for kids. Instead it’s about capturing the imagination of childhood play, as you use children’s toys to fight real zombies. And thankfully they’ve just shown some footage in a recent update, with some pre-alpha code to see. And it looks super-cute. Nerf-batting zombies is something I like to see more of.

Word Realms – Asymmetric

Word Realms continues its glacial movement toward its $100k goal, now at $65k. With 12 days left, and hopefully some perceivable activity from the Kingdom Of Loathing developers, it could get there. But it’s going to involve more than telling us what the t-shirt design will be after silence since May. While you can certainly go too far the other way with updates, actually acting like you’re there is probably a good idea too. Especially when the game looks so ace.

Auro – Keith Burgun

I think pretty much guaranteed to make its teeny $7,500 in the next 20 days, since $6,355 of it is already raised, the turn-based strategy should be coming to PC by this Christmas. Although again, I always have a real concern when goals are this small. After Kickstarter and Amazon fees are paid, and then the total is taxed, it’s hard to see how far such a small sum can go in game development. Although although, with so long to go and already most the way there, people could see this one far better funded by the time it’s done. It’s a shame the video only shows phone footage, but the cutesy tactics game looks appealing.

Ground Branch – BlackFoot Studios

Alongside TorchShips, we had a ton of emails about this one. A former Red Storm employee, disappointed by the direction the Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon franchises have taken, is working on an impressive-looking tactical shooter, built in the Unreal engine. There are huge volumes of details on the KS page, and the video reveals just how detailed this plans to be, with plenty of in-game footage. At $33k, it has a long way to go for a $425,000 goal, but 27 days to get there.

Cold Fusion – Dustin Gleaves

“A steampunk inspired post apocalyptic indie RPG” is an excellent way to get our attention. A video filmed on a calculator is not. I really do despair at how little effort so many indies appear to put into their Kickstarter videos, putting up low-res, fuzzy footage of themselves talking and not showing. Only aiming for $15,000, they’ve so far made $1,781 with three weeks to go. But without even editing in a shot of the game in the top video they’re pushing their luck. Scroll far, far down and you can eventually see that it’s going for a JRPG Nintendo-esque look made with RMXP. They’ve had a little boost thanks to a tweet from Brian Fargo, celebrating them for choosing to Kick It Forward, but still have a way to go.

Retrovirus – Cadenza Interactive

About six months ago I was a bit rude about the first trailer for Retrovirus. Promising us a six-axis shooter of the likes of Descent, what we saw was an external view of a ship idly drifting in some rubble. But hooray! They took that to heart and have produced a video for their just-launched Kickstarter that shows it properly, and makes me want it. Along with a floaty-ship shooting all around it, they’re also including what sounds like Metroid Prime-like scanning. They’re looking for $75,000 in polish money (polish, not Polish, silly), and to put the modding tools out as early as possible. There’s just over a grand is raised so far, but it’s only just started, and fifteen bucks will secure you a copy of the almost-finished game. It looks spiffy, but being alpha footage, also rather sells the need for the polish:

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and general hero of humanity.

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