Hero-U Graduates From The Kickstarter Academy

those smiles are now 48% wider

Retro-revival Kickstarters are no longer the sure-fire success they seemed to be a few months ago, it seems. Elite: Dangerous trails a long way behind Star Citizen’s incredible haul, Old-School RPG was cancelled, massively promising Bullfroggy god game Maia sadly may not reach its (frankly too high) target and Quest For Glory creators Corey and Lori Cole went right down to the wire for their adventure game Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption.

Make it they did, though – passing the $400,000 target with just four hours to spare. By the time you read this post there’ll be but half an hour left on the clock. Given the game is now definitely happening (well, as definitely as anything on Kickstarter gets), pledging now will mean you get your rewards, so the time for fence-sitting has at least passed.

At the time of writing the pledge level for this Quest For Glory By Any Other Name sits at $403,000, and seems to be in a state of gentle flux as new backers come in and those who’d raised their pledges to help the project reach its target cannily reduce their funding now they don’t need to give so much. Which is a fascinating ethical question I don’t have the wherewithal to tackle fully right now.

Here are the Coles chatting about the state of play shortly before the goal was reached, in an hour-long Google Hangout with fans.

I expect that, instead of wearing hats, they’re now showering in Bollinger. And quite right too.


  1. jorygriffis says:

    It’s so weird that people misunderstand Kickstarter so deeply. A lot of people wait for the campaign to succeed and then pile on in droves. Why would you sit on the fence when there is zero risk? Do people think their pledged money will vaporize if the campaign fails?

    • Belsameth says:

      I think it’s having to do with the fact that they want their money to mean something. With a successful one, it suddenly does. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I feel it often works.

      • Lanfranc says:

        You’d think the pledge would mean more for a campaign that’s not yet successful, though? For a successful one, it’s basically just extra frosting on the cake (stretch goals aside).

        • Belsameth says:

          Yeah, I know. But with a successful campaign, you *know* the money gets used, instead of waiting and hoping it does.

          Not sure that’s the case ofcourse, but that’s what I’ve been thinking about it.

          • gloriaalbert6 says:

            I get paid over $92 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing..link to twitlink.ws

      • LintMan says:

        I think there’s a pile-on at the end for a few reasons:

        1) Kickstarter itself makes a list of “ending soon” projects that some people monitor and might come across projects they haven’t been aware of before.

        2) Some people might have been somewhat interested in the project, but put off actually committing because they wanted to think it over some more, or wait for the devs to update with more info, or to see if certasin stretch goals were hit, or just plain procrastination. Some times, a project’s initial pitch leaves me skeptical and I want to see how things develop over the course of the KS.

        3) The whole “this is your last chance to participate – don’t miss out!” thing can be tempting

        4) The bandwagon effect – it’s easier to have confidence in a project when you see a lot of people have already jumped on board.

        5) If you only have a small budget to commit to kickstarter, you might not want to lock it up in an uncertain project with a long time left to go on it, when you might instead want to “play the field” and see if any more interesting projects crop up in the meantime. (That seems more considerate than pulling your money out if you find something “better”.)

    • Olderman says:

      Some wait until the end of an uncertain project to help the project over the line, but only if it is really needed. I know I have a couple times. I fail to see how 100 000£ is too high for Maia. I thought I’d mention that.

      • elfbarf says:

        It isn’t a huge goal but I think the issue is that Simon Roth is relatively unknown and that Maia is a *solo* project (which is why 100k is too high). He’s been in the industry for a few years but hasn’t worked on any major projects (that I know of).

        His experience (according to his website):

        Ported major independant title VVVVVV from flash to C++ on OS X, Linux and Windows.
        One year in indie development as a technical artist and programmer.
        Two years AAA game development as a technical artist and programmer.
        A year in independent games development as an artist.
        Two years in simulations (serious games).
        Internship at Natural Motion as a software developer.
        BA Computer Animation and Visualisation at the NCCA.
        Roughly four years of freelance work for games and film.

        There’s only one mention of an actual game that he’s worked on and that was porting an existing game.

        • Olderman says:

          Maybe the middle ground for Maia is to come back later, with more gameplay to show for it. He does, after all say that the project is going to happen no matter what, so this would indeed be middle ground.

          • AngoraFish says:

            If the game was going to happen “no matter what” he should have gone with a much lower minimum.

        • Meneth says:

          Simon also worked on Kinectimals and the Outsider.

          “Maia is a *solo* project”
          He’s contracting in quite a bit of outside work to my knowledge, so I don’t think characterizing it as a solo project when it comes to funding is quite reasonable.

        • Belsameth says:

          Also Kinectimals and the canned The Outsiders.

      • JDrysdale says:

        I contributed to Hero-U and a bunch of other kickstarters. I would love to support Maia and a few other English projects, but my only credit card is declined when trying to back them. I don’t know why Kickstarter doesn’t allow Amazon payments for UK projects, but i think they would have way more funding if lazy Americans like me didn’t have to call the bank to pledge.

        • Olderman says:

          Oh so THAT’s why it asked for my CC. UK, of course! You’re entirely right, I backed out and postponed to later because my card was in my jacket, out of the office. I entirely agree that as dumb as it may sound, this necessarily has a big impact on UK projects.

    • Jimbo says:

      Pledging (as in, the actual act of going through the pledge process) to something which has reached its goal is not the same proposition as pledging to something which only *might* reach its goal. The latter may be a waste of effort. Don’t underestimate how lazy people are.

    • Baresark says:

      It has to do with loss aversion and virtual ownership, most likely. Even though there is no ownership of any kind, that isn’t how the human mind interprets it. You payed for it, therefore you own it, and when it doesn’t succeed you lose it. We all know you don’t really lose it because you get your money back. But, if you backed it then the concept of the final product has greater value than the money you chose to invest, so the loss is still felt. And since people have an emotional weight that is 5 times greater for losses than they are or gains, the loss seems all the harder to bear.

  2. Tuco says:

    Too many developers are apparently under the delusion that a vague pitch is more than enough to pile money on Kickstarter.
    It isn’t. Unless you are a developer with a long and solid track record, you need to show off a lot to catch people’s attention and support.
    People need to know that you can deliver or to see it for themselves from your tech demos. Preferably both.
    They also need to find your project conceptually intriguing, ambitious and original enough.

    Plus, be clear about what you want to achieve:
    “We want to make an amazing old school RPG” could mean anything. It just doesn’t work for me.
    “We want to match what Ultima VII did, delivering unprecedented world/NPC interaction” on the other hand is hype-inducing, as a concept.

  3. JackDandy says:

    Good for them!

    I didn’t pitch in, but I’ll definitely buy if it ends up good.

  4. Saul says:

    This is the Best News! Glad to have been part of this in the small ways that I could.

    Some related reading, for anyone interested: link to digitalspiritguide.com

    • db1331 says:

      Thanks for that. What a cool read. It’s always neat to find out someone else out there was profoundly impacted by your favorite games as well. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be a PC gamer today if not for QFG.

  5. The Random One says:

    I ended up backing them at the eleventh hour just because both Jick of Kingdom of Loathing and Jonas Kyratzes of the Lands of Dream games said I should because both considered the Quest for Glory people to be influential to their skills.

    Now to actually play the Quest for Glory games to see if I like them. EXCEPT NOW I SPENT MY MONEY ON THE KICKSTARTER D:

  6. Yglorba says:

    I’m sort of glad they didn’t reach the voice acting threshold, honestly.

  7. Text_Fish says:

    Well done them.

    I think Maia’s troubles are two-fold — firstly, it is indeed an unrealistic goal for an unknown indie, especially as before Kickstarter came along most indies were lucky enough to have a budget of hundreds for their first project. When someone asks for that much money it seems like they’re already looking for profit rather than just investment. Secondly, there’s been a long run of spacey games recently and everyone’s probably a bit bored of them by now. Judging by the successful kickstarters alone we’ve all set our selves up for two or three years of grinding through near-identical metallic corridors and browny-red deserts.

    Does anyone else find the illustration at the top of this article a bit annoying? Is it meant to look like something out of a 99p colouring-in book?

    • Voronwer says:

      “Secondly, there’s been a long run of spacey games recently and everyone’s probably a bit bored of them by now.”

      I agree that there’s been a lot of spacey games and they’re all the same, promising you can design and pilot your own ship and then decide to be a pirate or a smuggler or an explorer and blahblahblah…

      However, Maia is not one of those spacey games at all. It’s a management game set on a colony. So yes, set in space (sort of), but not like any of those other spacey games I’ve seen around. I thought this was pretty unique, actually, so I don’t really see your point there.

  8. hemmer says:

    I love how the hyperlink-text is just ‘ero-U: Rogue To Redemption’.
    That would have been a completely different game. :P

  9. malkav11 says:

    While I think there has been a certain cooling off of Kickstarter interest (and/or tapping of budgets), I think it’s also clear that it’s entirely possible to still earn massive success with retro-cred pitches. I mean, Star Citizen is trading very much on Chris Roberts’ name. So I think we have to look elsewhere for why these pitches are failing, or not achieving nearly the degree of success one might expect. I’d go with a combination of lack of name recognition (sure, -I- know David Braben/Elite, and Quest for Glory, but I didn’t know Tom Hall or Brenda Braithwaite, and quite a few people I’ve spoken to weren’t familiar with Elite or Quest for Glory, either.) and anemic/uninformative pitches. At least in the case of Elite: Dangerous and Old School RPG/Shaker. Hero U looks like a fairly well run project but I would disagree with the idea that it’s “Quest for Glory in all but name”. It has similar design philosophies (go figure, being from the same people), but from what I can tell it’s going to be a very different sort of game. Starting with the turn-based combat. And that might possibly have put people off: if you’re trading on what you’ve made before, you’re going to have better luck pitching another version of what you’ve made before.

  10. Frank says:

    Retro-revival it’s not, I reckon. Have you read up on the game? It’s hardly a QFG do-over.

  11. Pray For Death says:

    The art style for this game is hideous. Why can’t they go back to the old quest for glory art?

  12. Yosharian says:

    100k is too high? I would have thought it’s sort of a minimum for a decent game.