There are the good Kickstarters – the ones with prototypes, extensive mechanic breakdowns or videos of an eerily earless Jim Rossignol* demonstrating in-game footage at length – and then there are the bad ones, the ones that dangle a name but not a lot more. Tom Hall and Brenda Romero’s Old School RPG rightfully acknowledged its own (perhaps accidental) cynicism and pulled the plug, but it was this week’s Elite: Dangerous project by Frontier Developments that really offended me. I obviously don’t know the circumstances of the fund’s creation, but it had at least the appearance of being hastily arranged and trading on pure nostalgia rather than any definite promises. No artwork, no video, no concrete features – just a vague outline very heavily based on what Braben & Bell’s original spaceship sim already did. After decades of Elite 4-based promises and talk of ongoing development, I for one felt insulted, entitled little shmuck that I am.
Now, the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter page is in more like the shape it should have been at first, with artwork and videos added to the pitch at last. “At last,” he says, as though three days is an eternity. What have you done to me, internet?
The four-minute video’s mostly Braben chatting about the game, and cutely managing to fluff the word ‘pledge’ within the first couple of seconds of it. Again, the conversation is mostly maybes and wouldn’t it be nices and remember thats rather than ‘we have made this’, but at least it humanises matters somewhat.
There’s also a smattering of concept art up on the page (on of which is above), which obviously can’t tell us much about the resultant project but after all these years anything that suggests Elite could actually happen rather than being an on-off promise made between Frontier’s Kinect games is more than welcome.
But we need more still, at some point over the 56 days left on the Kick-clock. I appreciate that this can be a big ask at the earliest stages of development, but Frontier are a reasonably-sized company with plenty of cash kicking about. Show us your teeth if you want £1.25million out of us, eh?
* Important Corruption Alert: I work for Jim Rossignol/Jim Rossignol works for me on RPS.