A day late, thanks to an angry English Channel attempting to smash everything on board a ferry, including all the children. But still just as shiny. And increasingly ridiculously long. Here are a bunch of PC games looking for funds. And below are some rules:
Featuring a game in this list doesn't mean we endorse it. We likely haven't played, and as such can't say whether it's worth your cash. That's your call.
Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name above) doesn't mean I'll include it, and that's the way it is.
Flexible Funding is extremely problematic, and we'll warn you every time a project is using it - it means they'll get your money even if they don't reach their target, which means you have no guarantee what your money will fund.
Phew, it just made it. Looking touch and go, the now familiar Kickstarter final push saw it not only clear the half million target, but reach an impressive $526,125, which I'm sure means Neal Stephenson - and his bank manager - is relieved that he won't have to finish things off with 500k of his own money. Although goodness knows how much it cost to have that daft lab and make all those films. Also, you can still throw money at them via PayPal.
Wow. I've been on holiday this week, so not keeping up with all these KS projects, but wow. I really didn't see how this one was going to make it. With a week left they were still less than halfway to their $100k total. But 11 hours ago, pow, they finished with an extra $24,288 in the bank. Incredible. I think others struggling to make their money would do well to check out their updates, especially this one. Coverage makes a big difference, and while RPS is pretty good at it, other gaming sites are really incredibly terrible. (Note: we can always spot when a company has asked its readers to email us, and it's always actually a bit annoying - make sure you write short, polite emails, not long, threatening nonsense.)
Yesterday the KS finished on a cutesy point and click, based on some popular Flash adventures, giving the project an extra $3,849 on top of the $15,000 target. And that extra cash all came in the final three days.
This one still has two weeks left, and continues to gross profits. It's now over $6,500, despite setting a $1,850 goal. It's a project that lets you create your own gaming sprites using a base set of over 5,000 parts that you can construct in your Photoshop of choice.
Two weeks ago they'd doubled their $10,000 target. Now they've quadrupled it. And with four days to go, their biggest stretch goal of $50,000 is within reach. The lack of updates smacks a little strangely - it'd be nice to see some expression of happiness about the amazing success of the legitimised incarnation of the Super Mario Bros. Crossover series.
It seems no matter how big the boobies, it wasn't to be for this pre-rendered adventure. Inevitably they're developing it anyway, planning to take longer.
There are a few hours left on the clock here, but clearly they're not going to go from $93,122 to $500,000 before this afternoon. I'm bewildered why this was left to run its inevitable course, rather than cancelled, linking to a new one with a sensible target. They are going to try again, but I'm not sure how leaving this one to fail is in their favour. They've shown they could make $100,000, which is a ton of money for a project that didn't even have a dev team when it launched. Instead they've going to aim for $175,000, with a 45 day collection, this time with a bunch more PR.
Days Left: 7
Gosh, these poor guys. Their second attempt and they still haven't cleared $100k. But look at Z. - it proves it can still happen if you can rally backers to let gaming sites know, get some decent attention, even get a tweet out of a big name twitterer. Because the game looks great. Although they've arsed up their KS frontpage to such a degree now that apparently the most important thing is a video of the team and then an update about the soundtrack. Argh! The Updates page is for updates! The front page should immediately tell me about the game, not make me scroll FOURTEEN pages before the game is described. GUYS!
Days Left: 18
From a British pair who were, until recently, the Super Flash Brothers, comes a cartoon adventure game. It was originally pitched as an iOS/Android game, but has recently added a stretch goal at $30k that means it would come to PC a month later. From the look of the content in the video - and there's lots of it - it's something that would be nice to see happen. Sent to a swamp, Det. Grimoire must solve a murder via what look like pleasingly traditional adventure techniques. And the voice acting is splendid.
Days Left: 34
We've not featured anything from yet another fund raising portal, GamesPlanet Lab. It's a dark-ish first-person puzzle action game, taking inspiration from a cyberpunk reimagining of Lovecraft. Blimey. I'm not too enamoured to learn that 3AM are a spin-off from Frogwares, they who make the awful Sherlock Holmes games (yes, those ones, with the terrifying portalling Watson), but this is an attempt to do something different.
Days Left: 6
Incredible progress in the last week for this smart-looking Unity hack-n-slash. It's leapt from 8k to nearly 19k. It'd be a huge shame not to see it meet the goal in the next week. And they finally woke up and starting doing regular, informative updates. Talking of which, you can find lots more info about it in this recent update.
Days Left: 17
As the bigger names drift away from the Kickstarter upsurge, the smaller indies are taking over and in turn the goals are shrinking. So seeing a $350,000 goal appearing is becoming striking. That's what Simon Strange is after for his monster fighting game. The man known for his Godzilla games is looking to make a psuedo fourth game in the series, without the IP. Using the same creative team for the monsters, this is clearly aimed at those who've been jonesing for more Godzilla since the last release in 2007, with the 1-4 player battles. It's a huge target, and there are two and a half weeks to get there.
Days Left: 17
The spoof fighting game that began as a joke and has ended as a serious project is making great progress. Another $8k added to the total this week, putting them over two-thirds of the way there.
Days Left: 6
WARNING: FLEXIBLE FUNDING
While it seems very likely this'll be in the "Losers" column next week, please bear in mind that any money you pledge will reach Membrane Studios anyway. A flurry of updates have appeared recently, but it's not seen a huge amount more cash come in. Unless there's a big push this week they'll fall short of their goal, and have to make do with what they've raised. We're not sure how that works. It's a turn-based strategy that does look rather nice - and the more they get, clearly the more use the rest of the pledged money will be.
Days Left: 54
Jeremy Blum was the project lead on Red Orchestra. That's enough to get some attention. He was also the lead on Insurgency, the 2007 total conversion for Half-Life 2. The sequel aims to create its own genre, "High-speed tactical", a team-based shooter that aims to have much more realistic weapon handling. It's already looking extremely impressive. $15 will net you a copy of the game when it's out, which is currently aiming for March next year. Or pay $360 and you'll be in on the alpha right away. (I can imagine some of the reward tiers will bother a few - pay extra and you'll get better weapons when you start playing the game.)
Days Left: 24
An incredibly poor video does very little for a deeply odd looking strategy RPG, that will attempt to emulate the best features of Fire Emblem and Super Robot Wars. It's incredibly low-fi, but I just have this weird feeling there's an RPS contingent who'll see beyond the squares and find something they're interested in.
Days Left: 22
Winning the award for the best game name I've seen in weeks, this pixelly madness is a side-scrolling platformer setting you a series of tasks, and then, they claim, reacting to how you play to craft it to your style. It'll either become more puzzle-filled or more action-focused, depending upon how it reads you. Also, you are an intern on the moon! This looks brill.
Days Left: 25
The stop-motion employing adventure continues to make good progress, with another $7.5k added to the tally, and over three weeks left. It'd be a shame to see this one stall. They're emphasising there will be no DLC or DRM at any point, which is clearly a crowd pleaser. Although I'd point out that the crowd might be slightly confused when it completely rules out the acceptance of DLC. More game after the game's out? That's good!
Days Left: 26
Another nostalgia-happy project, aiming to make a very old-school RPG. The laconic presentation seems to take pessimism over the current state of RPGs to a slightly pathological degree, seemingly unaware of the retro role-players that are delivering what he's after. But still, another one is a good thing. It's perhaps problematic that after his dreary complaining about how the classic styles are lost that his in-game footage shows a massively cluttered and confusing page of illegible text, and tiny, scratchy graphics that end up looking a touch drab after the gorgeous old games he shows beforehand.
Days Left: 55
You may well know the name Pendulo Studios from their horrible, horrible Runaway games. It seems they too are after the crowd-sourced cash, using GamesPlanet Lab to raise a vast €300,000. They've already made an impressive €20k, despite featuring a video that doesn't say anything useful about the game at all. As is their wont, it appears to feature an unlikeable main character - a feature that made the first sexist Runaway game quite so unlikeable. But maybe they'll pitch it better this time? Oh, and be warned: they say that if they make the current goal they'll make a "short" game, with a real target of three quarters of a million Euro to make a full-length project.
Days Left: 46 hours
WARNING: FLEXIBLE FUNDING
Having made only $500 in the last week, I'm both disappointed that this really interesting-looking game isn't going to get the full amount it needed, and disappointed that it'll get the third of its goal anyway thanks to flexible funding. Still, I hope they'll be able to make something as impressive as the video suggests it could be with what they've got.
Days Left: 6
Bums - this Day Z-a-like free-to-play 30 day survival game looks like it has a ton of potential, but isn't anywhere near its goal with under a week left. However, still lacking any in-game footage is clearly very problematic, along with barely any updates.
Days Left: 5
Also looking shaky is Rapid Assault, the online tactical shooter that recalls Red Orchestra. However, we've seen many projects make more than half their goal in that final week.
Days Left: 55
20 years after Jetpack, Adam Pederson is looking to get the funding to work full-time on a hi-res sequel to the platformer. It'll come with its own level editor, and has one of the most strangely disturbing videos in a while.
Days Left: 53
Incredibly ambitious, the aim here is to create a game that lets you completely redefine the game's world/story by the decisions you make, including not doing what the game asks you to. There's no actual evidence in the video of how this will work, but with 53 days left hopefully they'll start explaining. It's clearly going down the JRPG route, but they claim will let you even choose whether it plays as a traditional RPG, a turn-based RPG or a management sim. Those are incredibly huge claims. And mercifully, they've opted to use Indiegogo's fixed funding.
And Something Else
OUYA - OUYA
Days Left: 24
Based on the somewhat peculiar premise that there are fewer games being made to play on television, OUYA is a new "open" console built on Android. Which means it's an open console, allowing anyone to develop for it without needing devkits or licensing. Which is bloody brilliant. It's open so much that you can even hack the console itself to suit your needs. Shame about the ridiculous name, but an inexpensive console for players - just $99 - and inexpensive console development for developers, without having to go through the shit of PSN or XBLA, is a stunning idea. And clearly people agree, with nearly $5 million funded already. Lots of developers have already said they'd support it. This could be a big thing. It's going to contain a Tegra3 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal flash storage, all of which seems a touch low really. But then keeping it under a hundred bucks is probably tough. But really, I'd prefer to pay an extra $20 and at least double the RAM.