Square Enix want indie developers to make a new Gex game! Wait, no, that’s not exciting. Let’s go again. Square Enix want indie developers to make a new Fear Effect game! Alice, look, come on. Buck your ideas up. Square Enix want indie developers to make a new Anachronox game! Lawks!
As planned, they’ve had a root around in the Eidos back catalogue and pulled out three IPs they don’t really know what to do with. If you have an idea and want to do the work of crowdfunding then actually making the game, Square Enix might let you (in return for a small share of profits). You could even propose making Gex into a turn-based strategy game because… reasons?
Square Enix say in today’s announcement that they’re not strictly “looking for straight-up sequels – we’d love to see different takes on those universes.” They ask “What would Gex look like in a side-scrolling adventure, or a turn-based strategy?” Pointless and awful, probably.
It’s an odd selection. Gex was a generic late ’90s 3D platformer starring another anthropomorphic animal. Fear Effect I didn’t play, but a quick look of YouTube suggests it’s an unexciting futureshooter in Hong Kong with demons. They’re not especially strong, interesting, or missed, and are generic enough that someone inspired by them could perhaps make their own thing anyway.
Then there’s Anachronox.
Made by Ion Storm, Anachronox was a sci-fi JRPG-y thing with wonky combat but was funny and charming and- wait no, would I even want a fan follow-up to that knowing it’s highly unlikely to get anywhere near enough money to do it justice? No, probably not. I don’t know. I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of this.
This is part of the equally-baffling Square Enix Collective crowdfunding service thing. How it works: developers submit game ideas, then Square Enix check the devs aren’t just chancers, the Internet at large leave feedback and vote on whether they’d back a game, if it’s popular Squeenix will help the devs launch a crowdfunding campaign, and finally Squeenix take a slice of the crowdfunding cash and a share of the profits. Bizarre.
With these Eidos games, they plan to take 5% of the net crowdfunding cash, then from sales they’ll take 10% of net revenue plus 10% as a license fee for using the IP.
It’s all just so odd. Developers get a small amount of profile from association with Square Enix but still need to raise the money themselves, and the feedback they get from Collective is just random Internet folks. Backers still take a chance on games being finished and turning out well, like with regular crowdfunding models, as Square Enix don’t guarantee anything. Even Square Enix are only getting a small slice of what have so far been small sums. Why would people use this? What is this? Why?