In a good and just world, all promising games would get Kickstarted, and everyone would live happily ever after. Also, clothes would always feel fresh out of the laundry and chocolate would be the cure for war. Unfortunately, however, our world is not just, and calling it "good" is probably a bit of a stretch. That depressing tangent brings us to Project Awakened. It failed to pass muster on Kickstarter, in spite of promising our neither good nor just world, er, the world. But sometimes, the best ideas only spring to mind when backs are pressed firmly against the wall, and Phosphor's certainly hatched an intriguing one. In short, it plans to gauge interest in a second crowdfunding effort, but this time it'll run its own site and - here's the Kickstarter-stomping kicker - declare backers "partial owners" of the property.
First, though, step one: publicly ask fans if they're willing to give it another go. Phosphor explained to RPS:
"For nearly seven years now, the core vision of Project Awakened has survived a publishing icon crashing around it, a team of unemployed devs trying to rebuild it with no funding, and years of hopeful, excited discussions with publishers and that financiers one by one turn to nothing. So missing the mark on a Kickstarter isn’t going to break it’s spirit."
"It is important to us that we don’t start taking your money unless we are sure it will be enough to start a prototype. So, if the community tells us they will back us enough, we will move forward with a new 6 week fundraising campaign on our own website – www.projectawakened.com, that will take both credit card and Paypal donations, and keep all the reward tiers available."
The survey is set to run for one week, at which point Phosphor will render a verdict. But then, this same rather optimistic line of thought didn't work out so well for the likes of Wildman, and there's also that whole "definition of madness" thing all the mohawked, island-terrorizing kids are talking about these days. Phosphor, however, is keeping its goals more modest, with sights now set on $350,000 - or roughly the same amount people were willing to pledge to its Kickstarter.
That still-princely sum will then be funneled into an Unreal Engine 4 prototype that'll go straight into the hands of backers, offering them the chance to give feedback, create their own mods, and generally leave a mark on the project. It'll apparently be out later this year, with a larger scale closed beta following sometime in 2014 depending on how much money backers chip in.
The most interesting part, however, is the one that's currently shrouded in the most mystery. Apparently, backers of the backup plan will also be declared partial owners of Project Awakened, via a system that's being described as "somewhat like the Green Bay Packers model." How exactly will that function in regards to a game? I honestly haven't the foggiest, but it's a noble intention, to say the least.
Fortunately, I'm due to interview Phosphor about it any moment now, so you'll know more as soon as I do.