Co-op shooter Relic Hunters Legend turns to Kickstarter

Relic Hunters Legend

Relic Hunters Zero [Steam page] is one of the nicer little surprises on Steam. A completely freeware top-down shooter that feels a bit like an retro-styled hybrid of Borderlands and Halo, with charmingly blocky, pastel-shaded art and an annoyingly catchy soundtrack. It’s grown significantly since launch, adding new modes, characters and Workshop-based mod support, with the most recent update dedicated to squashing a few long-standing bugs. If you’ve not played it, go on. We’ll wait.

Okay, done? Good. Then you’ll probably be happy to hear that there’s a sequel in the works. Brazilian studio Rogue Snail are aiming higher this time, taking their original arcade formula and expanding it into an online co-op action-RPG hybrid called Relic Hunters Legend, and they’re hoping to fund the rest of development through Kickstarter.

Mechanically, it’s looking a bit like Destiny now, if Destiny were set in a lush 2D cartoon world where most of the enemies were gruff-looking space ducks. Designed for up to 4 player co-op, it seems largely what you’d expect from the genre; Loot, character building and gunplay present and correct, battlefield-controlling special powers and plenty of bad guys to shoot.

From what we can see in the trailer, it seems that there’s a little more to the action than there was in the original Relic Hunters Zero, with elevated ledges and jumping added to the mix, as well as as basic cover system. Enemies now just fall over rather than explode into a cloud of blood-pixels and bones, adding to the family-friendly aesthetic.

They’re going all-in on the Cartoon Network Kids Show: The Shooter concept too, going as far as snagging some talent from the channel’s own Brazilian wing in order to produce the extended trailer/pilot episode below. Rogue Snail hope to produce a series of animated shorts, each focused on a different character, building up their place in the game’s universe.

A little unusual for Kickstarter, Relic Hunters Legend is planned to be free-to-play, with the promise that crowdfunding will allow the studio to remain fully independent. Players that buy in now for $20 or more will get beta access to the game approximately a year from now if all goes to plan, along with an equivalent amount of cash-shop credit. While a bit vague at present, Rogue Snail are adamant in their Kickstarter pitch that the business model shouldn’t impact enjoyment, and that the game will never be ‘pay-to-win’.

It’s a tough balancing act, but there’s a growing number of independently-developed F2P games with pleasantly ethical business F2P models available now, with probably the highest-profile being Path of Exile and its entirely cosmetic-based funding. Rogue Snail themselves believe there’s improvements to be made to the business style, going as far as laying out a manifesto on the subject. Being quite fond of the original Relic Hunters Zero, and pleasantly on-board with the cartoon tie-in style, I’m excited to play this one, and wish them every bit of luck on funding their dreams.

13 Comments

  1. Nixitur says:

    Ouh, this looks pretty nice. I’m very intrigued. A Kickstarter for a Free To Play game is still a bit odd, especially since I’m usually heavily against premium games with microtransactions. I’ll decide after I’ve given Zero a shot, I suppose.

    • markventurelli says:

      Hi Nixitur :) Thanks for the kinds words.

      It’s not really a “premium” with microtransactions. We are seeking funding from our fans to stay independent and allow the monetization model of the free-to-play release to be honest, transparent and don’t get in the way of the fun.

      We believe in the power of free games, and want to do our part in helping the industry to see them as a good thing, rather than a money-grabbing scheme.

      By backing the game, you not only get super early access and help guide the game’s development, but you also get your “money back” when the game is released and open for free to the public.

      Hope that clears it up! I also made a video on the subject: link to youtu.be

      • markventurelli says:

        Just to clarify why “money back” is on quotes: if you pledge, for example, $20, you get all the rewards, plus $20 back when the game is released. But it’s in-game currency – we don’t actually transfer the money back to your account!

        Hope it’s clear now! And hope it still sounds like a great deal, haha :)

  2. int says:

    Can you play as Tia Carrere?

  3. April March says:

    Zero is indeed a lovely game, and I’m not saying it because I’m Brazilian. It’s pretty much a Nuclear Throne lite. I’ll certainly check it out (although I just spent my month’s crowdfunding budget on the PT-BR translation of the Urban Shadows RPG).

    I have seen F2P practices that I didn’t find predatory. The problem is that I don’t think there’s a lot of common space in the Venn diagram of F2P practices meetin “non-predatory ” and “sustainable for devs”. Even Team Fortress 2 had pay-to-unlock loot boxes.

  4. Goatcheese says:

    Curious, there’s a crowdfunding option where fans can invest, seems like a better fit than asked for donations to fund a free-to-play game – why’d you decide to go this route?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      As mentioned both in the article and description, any Kickstarter donation is considered a purchase of an equivalent amount of cash-shop credit when the game is released, so you’re just buying in early, same as pretty much everything else on Kickstarter.

      The game is definitely looking polished and an easy sell to a publisher, but I’m guessing the devs want to retain their independence. Especially as a publisher is likely to get their claws into the business model, too.

      • Goatcheese says:

        Ahh so the publisher gets to profit off the community’s involvement and the community get a shiny virtual penny – gotcha. Sooo really just going for the free money…

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          You… You’ve misread it, I think?.

          They want to remain fully independent and *not* have to sell the game to a publisher, hence they’re turning to Kickstarter to help fund the rest of development.

          If the kickstarter fails, then they’ll have to sign a deal with a publisher, and that’ll almost certainly involve the publisher having control over the business model, which is likely to be less friendly than if it were coming from a purely independent studio.

  5. Goatcheese says:

    This game remained independent and cut their backers in on their profit link to polygon.com

    • markventurelli says:

      Hi Goatcheese. Fig is a heavily curated platform, if we wanted to do it, it’d have to be approved. Also, being Brazilians, I believe our tax and investment laws could be a problem for Fig. Never heard of a Brazilian game on Fig up to this day.

  6. VN1X says:

    Backed after seeing that animated trailer. Looks amazing and love the humour (that Metal part put a huge grin on my face).

    Can’t wait!

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