The big-money early days of video game crowdfunding may be over but lawks, look at fantasy MMORPG Ashes of Creation [official site] go! Gabbing about a world where quests can have dramatic lasting effects, crafting matters, and players can build, run, and destroy cities, Ashes of Creation hit its initial Kickstarter goal of $750,000 (£580k) in under one day. Developers Intrepid Studios say they’ve got enough money in private backing to make a basic version but they will use Kickstarter cash to fancy up their gamebicycle with stickers, reflectors, spoke beads, and clackers. They also make a curious promise to refund everyone if Ashes doesn’t come out. Check out the pitch:
Alternatively, here are some words. Ashes of Creation is a fantasy MMORPG which talks up choice and change, where players are free to build cities and tear down empires – if they can manage to do it – and where quests and events can permanently alter the world. It all looks a bit like the player-driven worlds of EVE Online and Wurm but built upon a traditional-ish fantasy MMORPG. Intrepid say:
“But change for change’s sake means nothing without consequence. That means that these changes and these choices must have repercussions, they must be *felt* throughout the rest of the world. It means that when a player makes a choice in a quest, that choice can’t be undone. It means that when that volcano erupts and destroys a city, the landscape is forever altered. It means that when a tyrant makes life difficult for his citizens, his citizens can rise up against him. Players have choices to make, those choices lead to change, and that change has consequence. Day to day, server to server, the world will be in flux, and history will remain where it always should, in the hands of the player.”
World-changing quests and events are dreams which make me squint and ask “Yeah, but how often will you actually do this?” It’s a nice dream but is a huge task. Even simple MMORPGs are not cheap or easy to make. Let’s say I want to believe.
Evidently plenty of people do believe, as the Kickstarter is past $900,000 (£695k) with 30 days still to go. Stretch goals include tavern games, group mounts, more ships and exploration at sea, and I’m sure a great many things yet-unrevealed.
Intrepid say, “in the case that Ashes of Creation does NOT launch, we promise to refund all backers in full.” That’s a bold promise. Given that money raised in crowdfunding tends to go on paying salaries, licenses, fees, rents, and whatnot, their backers must have mighty deep pockets to cover that promise. Though I suppose having $900,000 in loose change puts one in a world where pockets are seen as ‘quaint’ and the fashion is to instead pay a street magician to swallow Krugerrands then follow one around as a human wallet burping up gold coins on demand.