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Kickstarter Katchup - 8th December

Katching Up With Kurt Sloane

Featured post

Almost everybody was a winner last week so it would be greedy of us to expect a stocking packed with success this week as well. There is something in my threadbare footwear though and it’s a project I sadly etched into the ‘losers’ column so recently that I didn’t even have time to recognise its return before it passed its new goal. Antharion shot past its $10,000 target after just six days of its second campaign had passed. In other developments, Meriwether emerges from the wilderness and knocks both of my socks (distinct from my stockings) straight off my feet, David Braben and Chris Roberts indulge in SpaceChat and Peter Molyneux’s GODUmentary continues to raise smiles and eyebrows.

The Rules

  • Featuring a game in this list doesn’t mean we endorse it. We likely haven’t played, and as such can’t say whether it will be worth your cash. That’s your call.
  • Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name at the top of this article) doesn’t mean it will definitely be included. Leaving links in the comments is a good way to let other readers know about projects, but please email me if you want them considered for the list. Include the word Kickstarter in the subject line too if you care about making my life even slightly easier.
  • We only include games where pledges reach developers only if the target is met.
  • Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
  • Projects that have reached their funding get included in the Winners list, and then aren’t featured in the weeks after that, to give more attention to those that are still needing the cash. Tough if you don’t like it.
  • Be aware that there are two currencies in play. Always check!
  • Please switch off mobile phones while in the Katchup, unless you are viewing the Katchup on a mobile phone in which case please switch off reality.

The Winners

Antharion – Orphic Software

Goal: $10,000
Now: $10,653

Well, who’s the big stupidface now? Some guy called Adam Smith, that’s who. A couple of weeks ago the incomparable nincompoop had this to say: “Orphic are planning to launch a new campaign in a week’s time, although if I were them I’d take the time out to refresh, rethink and enjoy some festivities…timing could be everything.” I just hope he’s glad that the success of the new Kickstarter and the likelihood that the original goal of $15,000 will be met means this exciting and enormous turn-based RPG has the means necessary to come into being next summer. I’ll ask him.

Yes, he says, he’s absolutely delighted!

The Losers

Pro Wrestling X – Wrestling Gamers United

Goal: $75,000
Now: $21,907

Pro Wrestling X may not have secured the Money in the Bank briefcase but the team are treating this as a near-fall. Development will continue at some point and there’s a suggestion of another funding attempt as well, but more surprising is this:

We learned a lot from this Kickstarter. Most importantly we learned what we need to do next. You need to get your hands on something and PLAY IT. We’re going to do that. Soon. I’m talking days here. Not weeks. Our lead programmer wants Uprising beta in the wild by Tuesday. I want to make that happen.

That’s a strong reaction and I’ll keep my good eye on developments.

Below – Failbetter Games

Goal: £15,000
Now: £4,754

Dungeon-delving card game Below has been pulled from Kickstarter before time ran out. Here’s the new plan:

This is a passion project for me and I’ve agreed to take it over as a separate venture from my freelance work with Failbetter. For the immediate future, Below will be my day job. A lot of work has already been put into the game, and while the economics of finishing it may not make sense for a whole company, as a (mostly) one-man show it’s more viable.

Even though backers won’t pay out a penny, they’ll still receive something for their support.

If you drop me an email at chris@belowgame.com I’ll make you an honorary Venturer – all Venturers will receive an invitation to Below’s beta and exclusive in-game content when the final game is released. This content won’t be available through other means – it’s a one-off, special ‘thank you!’ to everyone who supported this kickstarter.

You can follow development at the official site.

The Players

Meriwether: An American Epic – Sortasoft

Goal: $35,000
Now: $8,146
Days: 29

I’ll just come right out and say this: Meriwether is absolutely fascinating. It’s an RPG based on the Lewis and Clark expedition in which play is divided into Lewis levels, with a narrative focus, and travel levels, which involve travel and exploration. This could involve searching for lost expedition members or observing flora, fauna and geographic features, all taking place across procedurally generated terrain. The latest update examines the possibilities of the travel sections and it all adds up to one of the most interesting pitches I’ve seen on Kickstarter. Developer Joshua DeBonis tells me, “I fell in love with the story a few years ago while camping along the Lewis and Clark trail, and I knew I had to make a game about it.” Inspiration, ho!

DJ Space – Martin Onions

Goal: £10,000
Now: £290
Days: 28

Cardiff-based Martin Onions has a dream – he wants to make the planets sing. He’d also quite like you to make the planets sing and that’s why he’s developed a music creation game that encompasses several galaxies.

As the player completes a section of music they can call in another star to continue the composition or start a new track. At any time the player will be able to leave their composition and engage with a new galaxy. The amount of compositions that are created in each galaxy are represented visually to the user, this means that the more tracks that are created in the space the larger and more colorful the galaxy will become.

Deus Jockey (that doesn’t make sense).

Forsaken Fortress – Photon Productions

Goal: $100,000
Now: $39,448
Days: 13

I feel like I’ve seen this survival RPG before and that’s not a snide way of suggesting it looks derivative, because it doesn’t – I genuinely think I’ve looked at the Kickstarter page before but, if so, why didn’t I include it? Maybe in the past I hated the idea of managing a base in a post-apocalyptic environment, managing resources and survivors alike, but if that’s the case then I hate the man I used to be. Even though Forsaken Fortress doesn’t look particularly derivative, if I had to compare it to other games I’d say it has a bit of NEO Scavenger, a bit of Fallout and a drop or two of Dead State. The latter, of course, hasn’t been released yet, in an form, so similarities are entirely conceptual and in my head.

Telepath Tactics – Sinister Design

Goal: $25,500
Now: $7,395
Days: 20

I’ve enjoyed Craig Stern’s work in the past and was excited to see a move from more traditional RPG patterns toward pure turn-based tactics. There aren’t many games similar to Fire Emblem on the PC – or at least nobody tells me about them – and I’ve always enjoyed the mid-to-late game combat more than anything else in Craig’s work, so this seems ideal. As with Forsaken Fortress, I’m a tad confused as to how I managed to miss this off last week’s Katchup. All of my lapses are most likely due to government interference in my browsing, thinking and educational development. The frequent updates contain plenty of info, so do take a look.

Unforgotten Quest – Robert Moran

Goal: $100,000
Now: $72,370
Days: 10

Unforgotten Quest is a 2D co-op RPG that has sprung from an online cartoon series, Unforgotten Realms. I haven’t seen the show but I reckon there is probably humour based on fantasy and RPG tropes because that’s how web cartoons work. The main appeal, judging by the Kickstarter page, will be the game’s irreverent approach to questing, as well as the 2-4 player co-op.

This is the kind of game where every time you are given multiple choices, there is no “good guy”, “bad guy”, or “neutral” choice. Only three random choices, where the game constantly skews the line between right, wrong, and insane. The kind of game where things you always wanted to do can be overdone, and where you can do it all with friends.

There aren’t many updates on the Kickstarter page but there is plenty of discussion and feedback on the forums

War for the Overworld – Subterranean Games

Goal: £150,000
Now: £44,990
Days: 26

Dungeon Keeper locks horns with a modern RTS in War for the Overworld and it’s been an excellent week for the project. The takings have doubled and although there’s still a hefty sum to raise, there’s a hugely encouraging update in the form of the video below. It’s all about support for modding and, hey, there’s going to be extremely robust support for modding! The developers are also outsourcing some of their work, although not quite in the manner of InXile. These fellows just want your best evil laugh.

Project GODUS – 22cans

Goal: £450,000
Now: £218,223
Days: 13

Whatever complaints you might have about Project GODUS’ (omni)presence on Kickstarter, it’s hard to fault the frequency of 22 Cans updates, or indeed the open nature of development. Peter and chums appear to be filming a reality TV show tracking every aspect of development and you can see the latest episode of ‘So You Think You Can Molyneux’ below. I must admit, I enjoying watching these. A lot.

Tiny Barbarian DX – Michael Stearns

Goal: $12,000
Now: $9,617
Days: 11

Pledging has been slow this week but success is tantalisingly close. Enemy animations can be seen in the most recent update. Don’t click on the link if you’re allergic to pixelly people or you might cough up your innards all over your keyboard.

Predestination – Brain and Nerd

Goal: $25,000
Now: $22,836
Days: 20

So close! In fact, by the time you read this, Predestination might even be wondering why it isn’t in the winners’ saloon drinking neat gin and devouring the free wasabi peanuts. There’s a reason for that. Normally I man the bar at the Katchup on a Saturday morning, idly polishing a glass while I ponder the misadventures of the night before, but today is Friday. I won’t be at a computer tomorrow – I’ll be here instead – so inaccuracies may develop overnight. To the matter at hand though. Predestination has the potential to be a grand 4X strategy game and if you like the idea of owning everything in space, it may be of interest.

Dizzy Returns – The Oliver Twins

Goal: £350,000
Now: £22,434
Days: 13

There are dozens of reasons for Dizzy’s slow progress but as I was thinking back to my experiences with the games I realised there was one thing that made the egg haunt my sleep. I can’t remember which game it was in, or even if it was a feature of several, but I do remember making Dizzy jump and then losing the will to live as he landed and immediately rolled into a pit. I know he was an oval but he did have legs, so why didn’t he use them to steady himself?. Jump, land, roll, die. A recent update includes a survey asking for thoughts on how Dizzy should speak. “Positive and friendly to everyone, no matter who they are” is winning. I really hope he doesn’t meet Piers Morgan. The only vocal style I could think of in the two minutes I’ve spent thinking about Dizzy today was ‘confrontational and albumentative.’ Sorry.

Kaiju Combat – Sunstone Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $46,416
Days: 13

New tiers have been added, allowing pledgers more ways to have their creature designs included in the Notzilla monster-puncher.

We are adding new reward tiers at $35 and $100 which allow you to nominate (or “sponsor”) one original kaiju idea for inclusion. This can be your own idea, or a friend’s idea, or just one you’ve seen on the forums or the Facebook fan gallery. At the end of the campaign, we’ll pick one sponsored character for every $500 pledged in this way (we’ll even round up). We’ll weight the choice by the number of sponsors each character has received.

There are also more videos due in the near future.

Elite: Dangerous – Frontier Developments

Goal: £1,250,000
Now: £680,556
Days: 28

Elite’s slowest week ends with a two-part, three-way interview between gaming wordsmith and Walking Dead writer Gary Whitta, Wing Commander Chris Roberts and Dangerous David Braben. You can see that below. I bet they talk about space.

SPORTSFRIENDS – Die Gute Fabrik

Goal: $150,000
Now: $87,525
Days: 2

Could I have been wrong twice in the last couple of weeks? First I cast doubt on Antharion’s immediate plunge back into the potentially cash-deprived Christmas waters of Kickstarter but I also anticipated a landslide of money-mountains to slide into SPORTSFRIENDS’ pockets, terraforming my metaphors along the way. Antharion proved me wrong and I fear that SPORTSFRIENDS might as well. Four (plus bonus) multiplayer games for $15. These are actual games that already exist, including the bonkers Johann Sebastian Joust. The developers have sensibly included a picture of a cat next to an award in their latest update, but will even that delightful image be enough to guarantee victory?

The Ship: Full Steam Ahead – Blazing Griffin

Goal: £128,000
Now: £12,469
Days: 21

Progress is still slow for The Ship’s sequel and I failed to talk to Blazing Griffin this week because I was busy and ill, although not always at the same time. I’ll endeavour to learn more in the very near future.

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Adam Smith

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