Oh dear. Oh no. This can’t be allowed, surely. The rules are that Skylanders gets to exist because it’s marketed so cynically at kids that we’re all too embarassed to go out and buy them for ourselves. They get one radically cool design per release and everyone but the parents goes home happy. Prodigy is breaking these fundamental laws by doing something similar to the model-battling juggernaut, but with an awesome fantasy style. For the unacquainted, this is an RPG where party members are represented by actual physical models and are then moved around a board, which communicates with the electronics in their base. Devs Hanakai Studio have put it up on Kickstarter asking for a meagre $100k, towards which they are already halfway at the time of writing. Have a look below.
If there are any free money mines left on crowd-funding, fantasy models are certainly among them. A quick glance at the most funded games category shows that, along with all our favourite remakes, some of the top projects are those that include ever more ridiculous, detailed and expensive models. Right up there with nostalgia, the want for extremely pretty pieces of plastic and metal is Kickstarter fuel. The Reaper miniatures series, which covers two of the most well-funded projects of all time, doesn’t even have a game attached. Others, like Zombicide, have their game take a backseat to the much more easily marketable solid objects. Planning stretch goals around adding models means each one causes pledgers to raise their donation as they decide they want the latest goody. This feeds into itself and can create moments of exponential growth.
Even in the above video, you’ll notice the game itself is barely described and the actual purpose or result of the moves displayed isn’t mentioned. In the pitch itself, the models and world they come from is given backstory, but how exactly it plays into the mechanics of the game is given much less focus. Just enough is left up to the imagination that the brain will fill in the blanks of how it could work and that creates desire. Which is all fine – but take note of it before pledging. It is likely that Hanakai will talk about the game before the end of what I’m willing to predict will be a very successful campaign. And you could wait until then.