Got Moon? Joe Got Game’s Shackleton Crater Kickstarter

Moon alert! Electronic Arts co-founder Joe Ybarra’s Joe Got Game announced yesterday they want $700,000 to Kickstart Shackleton Crater, a lunar colonization strategy game. Oh okay then a “lunar colonization strategy game based on today’s science and tomorrow’s dream”. On tomorrow’s dream. Yeah!

Using Real Sciences (the trailer has used NASA footage) and “plausible science fiction”, Shackleton Crater is designed for tablet computers (Android, iOS, Windows 8) and PCs (Windows, Mac), and up to 4 players can fight over who is actually the Ernest Shackleton of the crater.

As much as this cheesily worded Kickstarter text might make me wince a few times, Joe Ybarra is a lovely lovely man (his smile makes me want to go out and get Werther’s Originals from the shop) with 30 years of experience making games. He has decided to make a moonbase-building turn-based strategy game (apparently with quite a bit of replay value) to inspire the next generation of wee sciency scamps to use their Brain Powers to bugger off to the moon. I approve: not only did games like Age of Empires (so eloquently written about by Brendan) increase my little brother’s and I’s interest in and knowledge of history, but Dungeon Keeper also inspired me to become the Crysis 3-bothering dominatrix of my time. So. Think about that. And have a look at Joe’s lovely face:

RPS’s favourite quotation from the Kickstarter is “We want to inspire gamers, thinkers and dreamers who want the moon as badly as we do.” Do you want the moon? How badly? I WANT MOON. MOON WANT.


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    You want the Moon on a stick.

  2. DrZhark says:

    EA co-founder asking for my money? You won’t get my money, no way. Greedy EA bastards

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      EA was a great company back then. I owe a lot to Deluxe Paint.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      It’s Ybarra asking for money, not EA. Ybarra hasn’t been at EA in years.

    • Surlywombat says:

      Both EA and Activision had very noble intentions when they started. The history is actually really interesting.. but that was then.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Yeah, this is not Modern EA at all. This is Original Goodguy EA Founder Who Left Before All The Shit Went Down.

  3. nimzy says:

    Any connection to the recent Space Jam, or was this in the works earlier?

  4. c-Row says:

    We like the moon
    coz it is close to us.
    We like the MOOOOOON!
    But not as much as a spoon
    coz that’s more use for eating soup
    and a fork isn’t very useful for that
    unless it has got many vegetables
    and then you might be better off with a chopstick.
    Unlike the moon
    It is up in the sky
    It’s up there very high
    but not as high as maybe dirigibles or zeppelins
    or lightbulbs
    and maybe clouds
    and puffins also I think maybe they go quite high too
    maybe not as high as the moon.
    Coz the moon is very high.
    We like tha moon
    Tha moon is very useful everyone.
    Everybody like the moon.
    Because it light up the sky as night and it lovely and it make the tide go
    and we like it
    but not as much as cheese.
    We really like cheese
    we like zeppelins
    We really like them
    and we like kelp
    and we like moose
    and we like deer
    and we like marmots
    and we like all the fluffy animals.
    We really like tha moon.

  5. Safilpope says:

    They had me up until I heard mention of EA, then I lost all interest

    • Tyrmot says:

      forgot the /s?

    • amateurviking says:

      You know he hasn’t worked for EA for a long time.

      And that EA weren’t always the monolithic corporate monolith they are now.

      And and and…ach never mind.

      • Prime says:

        The important thing, amateurviking, is that you tried. But sadly, jerking-knees are far quicker than a man typing Reason into a computer.

        I feel your pain.

      • Safilpope says:

        Well if that is the case (I didn’t know that), I may keep an eye on this then.
        However, I’ll probably wait until the final product is out before I consider throwing money at it

  6. rustybroomhandle says:

    Oh you want the moon? I’ll show you a moon…

  7. Ubik2000 says:

    Damn! For a second I thought this was a Moonbase Commander remake. I would have been all over that. Although I’m not sure how they’d improve it.

  8. dE says:

    I’m sorry, the moon is a little bit of a misunderstanding. I’ll stop holding out my white shiny ass out of the window in the morning (I’m sorry. I just like the breeze). Also please stop fantasizing about building stuff on there, it’s not THAT big.

  9. Maritz says:

    Bah, multiplayer. Next!

    • Snidesworth says:

      That was my reaction too, but a little investigation shows that single player is also an option. Hopefully it’ll be a robust enough mode in itself.

      • Maritz says:

        Yeah, spotted the “1 to 4 players” bit after I’d posted, so I may have slightly overreacted. Having said that, this doesn’t fill me with hope – “this game is meant to be a multiplayer experience “.

      • Don Reba says:

        I asked Joe whether you will have to be connected to play, and he graciously replied. The moon data is several terabytes in size, so it will be a better setup for you to be get the moon in chunks from the game server.

  10. pupsikaso says:

    Are you kidding? Why is he asking for money to make this?

  11. RobinOttens says:

    Moonbases and turn based strategy you say? Sounds interesting and right up my alley. I really should be more conservative in backing kickstarter projects though, I honestly don’t have the money to spare.

    Ah well, my eye shall be kept on this, and it shall wait until this game finishes development first (assuming they’ll succeed in their funding of course).

  12. Sardonic says:

    Johnmadden, johnmadden, aeiu

  13. c-Row says:

    Ok, but seriously now – $700,000?! I really doubt it will even get anywhere near that amount.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Unfortunately I think you’re right. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like the sort of project that will muster that sort of interest on Kickstarter…

    • b0rsuk says:

      Yes, and that’s probably for the better. It looks like a nice *little* game, until you realize the goal is $700 000. And it doesn’t really stop there ! Stretch goals span up to $3 000 000 ! He’s out of sync with reality.

      I don’t know what we’re supposed to do – throw money at this project because this time we get a *proffesional* from an award-winning company ? As opposed to Kickstarter’s enthusiastic unwashed hordes ? Is this developer really as good and proven as InXile/Obsidian combo, or Double Fine ?

      • Kamos says:

        I actually feel kinda sorry for him. His idea is not bad, but he has severely overestimated how much money he can get for it, especially after he used the word EA in his pitch. I mean, come on! It is like the man isn’t aware of the shit storm that Sim City is generating right now. You’d think he would at least try to explain “hey, I’m from old EA, the one that wasn’t anti-consumer”…

  14. Jockie says:

    I feel ‘Joe Got Games’ may be the worst name for a gaming studio yet, kudos.

  15. Brise Bonbons says:

    While the KS presentation is a bit… odd, in places, the game itself seems damn cool. It’s refreshing to see an SF strategy game that isn’t obsessed with missiles and lasers and aliens, first of all, and the way the game is split into 4 phases seems quite clever.

    I’m not really backing anything on Kickstarter these days, but if this game gets made I’ll almost certainly buy it day 1.

  16. chabuhi says:

    Is this sort of a spiritual reboot of Sierra’s Outpost from 20 years ago? If so, I am fully on board!

    Or is it more like Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond?

    • Fallorn says:

      I clicked on the simply because it reminded me of Outpost. I would absolutely love a version of that game that wasn’t legitimately broken.

      • IndigoHawk says:

        Sierra tried so hard to fix that game. Do you remember when they sent out new CDs (and maybe manuals?) with a major patch but still failed? An ambitious, broken game.

  17. Jimbo says:

    If Joe Ybarra changes his name to Mr. Spoon I’ll think about it.

  18. Don Reba says:

    Couldn’t he just search behind his couch pillows for that amount?

    As for the game… As much as I like the idea of a realistic moon colonization simulator, the plan sounds kind of shaky. There are four different mechanics — get any of them wrong, and the game will be ruined. And it also relies on a central server to serve moon data.

    I hear the message about the guy not being in EA, but there is such an EA level of cluelessness in that campaign: claiming credit for Interplay’s games, the mere fact of mentioning the publisher in the wake of the SimCity ordeal, and announcing stretch goals beyond what any other Kickstarter campaign has ever managed to collect before any indication that the project would even get funded.

    I still pledged, though.

  19. Baddiekins says:

    Why do the words Electronic Arts come before the name of the man creating this game when they have nothing to do with it? The starting of this article makes it sound like he still works at EA. That completely destroyed any credibility Joe Ybarra had with anyone born after the 80’s who didn’t have the sense to read his wikipedia page like I did.

    • Brun says:

      Or you could use a little common sense to reason that:

      1) EA would never let one of their own – even the co-founder – make their own pet project while still working for the company.

      2) EA wouldn’t be using Kickstarter.

      3) This game doesn’t really fit in with other things that EA are doing.

      Leading you to conclude that the guy doesn’t work for EA anymore.

      • derella says:

        Pfft! There is no common sense on the internet, as evidenced by several posts in this comment thread.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        I have an overactive cynicism node, because I suspect there is a team of EA people in suits so sharp you could use them to cut cocaine on a mirror desperately trying to work out how to attach their remora-like mouthparts to the Kickstarter money hose.

  20. Biscuitry says:

    The cross-shaped buildings in the article screenshot evoke memories of Outpost.

  21. MeestaNob says:

    This sounds interesting, and I’m half tempted to back it, however the stretch goals are FUCKING LUDICROUS.

    I can barely name 5 computer games so far that have made $1+ million on Kickstarter, yet they have marked out stretch goals to $1.5M, $2.5M and $4M??? They’re out of their mind.

    • Don Reba says:

      And what about the contents of those stretch goals?

      • For 1.5M they will give every backer another copy of the game, which costs them close to nothing, because scarcely anyone would have bought a second copy after getting one for free.
      • For 3M they will open their Moon surface model, which costs them nothing.
      • For 4M they will open their source code, which, once again, incurs no cost.


      In addition to the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON edition you’ll get special updates from Joe Ybarra himself with industry anecdotes, tips, and stories on how one man shaped the industry as we know it.