Living On The Pledge(s): The Banner Saga

I’m sure that many of the people reading this have pledged their hard-earned to at least one Kickstarter project and it may be of interest to see where that money has gone. Not into an actual game in most cases, not yet, but what happens when a project reaches its goals, the timer ticks down and the money rolls in? Stoic, the ex-Bioware staff working on turn-based beauty The Banner Saga, have released a video showing precisely what happens. Not only is the continuing transparency wonderful, with details of where the money is being spent, the video itself is fantastic. This is what the brave new world looks like. So many boxes.

Next time you pledge for a physical reward, think of the storage space, think of the boxes, think of the poor developers with “Minecraft in their house”.

It is actually quite frightening. I’ve never been faced with a logistical challenge as large as the one that has landed, quite literally, at Stoic’s front door. I forget to post my Lovefilm discs back for weeks at a time and I’ve still got a birthday card in my front room for a friend whose birthday was in September. Thankfully, it’s not an age-specific one so I’m just going to use it this September.

There’s a full update on where the money is being spent, with the most startling aspect being this.

We’re still not taking personal salaries. We’ll be living off our savings until our game starts making income.

So they’re not actually living on the pledge(s) at all! That’s dedication and, I guess, a confidence in delivering quality.


  1. Greggh says:

    Oh that’s nice, huh!

    On a side note, I think the greatest thing about this whole “new business model” is not the community feedback etc – because that might even become a blowback – it’s the whole transparency opportunity that really sparks some sort of democratic feeling to it; you put your money in a project you have (a lot of) information about AND meanwhile the whole thing is running, there’s a chance you’ll get to see what happens with all that hard-earned-easy-spent cash you lent to some random virtual folks.

    Now, isn’t that awesome??

    • roryok says:

      it really is. I’m glad this is the way my favourite industry is going

      • Ernesto says:

        I wasn’t aware that you can have a favourite industry. And what Stoic does is craftsmanship, not industry ;)
        Anyway: I love unpacking boxes!

  2. Chris D says:

    The best thing about this is the subtitles trying to cope with a Canadian accent. Here’s my favourite bit:

    Just like with the posters
    The actual number of heat
    Will overwhelm me
    That women’s shirts, Larry comedians, you get the idea

    So we’re looking forward,
    Handed down a president
    It is only one
    Backing them up, thankyou
    Is actually really quite good for the taking medicaid

    Being this way on the fact that a girl
    We’ll talk about that
    In Syria
    Pretty much all the way back to the back wall

    • Wisq says:

      I think that’s just the subtitles trying to deal with anything, period.

  3. Cunzy1 1 says:

    Seconding (possibly thirding at this point) the transparency of the process. We’ll see how transparent they remain but I’ve loved Tom Francis’s ongoing developer blogs. It really is something that game developers could learn from the independent, mod and now crowdsource community instead of being opaque black boxes of development with awful websites which are content lite, devoid of personality and often woefully out of date.

  4. wccrawford says:

    If KS continues to be popular, I wonder if we’ll see companies that specialize in handling this aspect of the system? There would be some overhead for the employees, but I think that could be offset by having cheaper suppliers that can deal in bulk like that.

    • Jimbo says:

      Like a distribution company or something? That’s crazy talk.

    • paddymaxson says:

      Oh god, please don’t give EA any ideas!

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Now all someone has to do is draw up a business model for such a company and start a Kickstarter to launch it.

      • Greggh says:

        I’m taking your idea and putting it in plan as I type (actually, as soon as I finish typing, for you see, I cannot type in two places at the same type… TIME!, the same time)

    • csuzw says:

      Double Fine appear to be using for their physical rewards so I think this service already exists.

      • Armante says:

        they also showed a videoclip of 8 fan gamers unloading 4 tonne of tubes for shipping.. :)

  5. abandonhope says:

    I’m sad I passed on this one. When I first saw the image reproduced above, I assumed it was some kind of Swords and Soldiers clone.

  6. brkl says:

    I wish Kickstarter projects would stop offering physical rewards apart from special (expensive) limited editions. They could be making the game, now they first have to do a bunch of minimum wage type drudgery.

    • Salt says:

      Yeah, sending out hundreds (or thousands!) of physical things is a significant workload. I worry for game kickstarters that offer art books or similar as rewards. Plenty of kickstarters have been set up just to print and distribute an art book.

  7. adonf says:

    That is a nice wooden table.

  8. Dances to Podcasts says:

    This is why Ubi’s games are always late. Sending tubes to stockholders.