There are no losers and lots of new entries this week, which should make for more positive reading but the number of projects clinging to the edge of the abyss is alarming. Space games are the most threatened, with a fantasy MMO also scrabbling for survival. Timber and Strong is in the winners' column though. The future is voxels. I'll be etching the memorials in the Losers column next week because I am the King of the Katchup now, so if you have any projects you reckon I should affix my beady eye to then make sure to email me, not John. If you send them to him he has to forward them to me by carrier pigeon and we're running out of birds.
- 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 will be worth your cash. That’s your call.
- Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name at the top of this article) doesn’t mean it will definitely be included. Leaving links in the comments is a good way to let other readers know about projects, but please email me (Adam, not John) if you want them considered for the list.
- We only include games where pledges reach developers only if the target is met.
- Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
- Projects that have reached their funding get included in the Winners list, and then aren't featured in the weeks after that, to give more attention to those that are still needing the cash. Tough if you don't like it.
- Don't fear the reaper, but do tip him via the traditional method of coinage on eye.
If I could, I'd probably live in a voxel settlement like the ones that Timber and Stone promises. Is it a prettier and more accessible Towns or Dwarf Fortress? Is it Minecraft for the city-builder? Is it The Settlers, filled with cunning supply chains and a pleasant form of gentlertainment? Well, it almost doubled its $50,000 target after finding the internet's approval in the last week and a half, so we'll find out soon enough. There's an official website now, so go, learn.
Empty! But next week might be quite a bit busier.
StarForge blew me away when I first saw it - my monitor emitted a gale force wind and I was pinned against the rear wall of my study for about fifteen minutes. Here's wot I said It's good to see the project back in the news and a funding campaign seems sensible - the tech is superb, and time and money are needed for focus and game systems. It's even more impressive to look at now and I'd highly recommend reading the section on the Indiegogo page about why the developers are seeking funding. They break the expenditure down well and do a good job of selling not just their game but their plans. Here's a new video.
Antharion isn't a WRPG, JRPG or ARPG. It's a PRPG, which means proper role-playing game. Party-based and with a fully interactive open world, the closest modern equivalent is probably one of the many Spiderweb games. The goal isn't high but that's because a great deal of the work has already been completed. This is a 'kick us over the line' project. This paragraph is partly what makes Antharion a PRPG:
NPCs don't just mindlessly sit there all day waiting like cardboard cutouts for you to enter their shops, they have lives of their own: going to their jobs during the day and then home at night. Steal in front of someone and you may be in for a fight, or they may just flee to find the nearest guard depending on their individual temperament. Get reported for committing a crime and you'll have a bounty on your head - if a guard spots you he'll throw you in the nearest prison (probably taking a bit of your coin for himself).
Take a look.
A co-op tactical FPS with nonlinear gameplay, claim Zero Point Software, and then deliver ten minutes of video that manages to be informative, amusing and extremely well produced. If you're going to try and emulate the triple-A experience, having a triple-A video certainly helps. I expected to be bored after the first couple of minutes but now I'd recommend anyone with the slightest interest in co-op FPS games takes a look at the pitch. And then tries to explain exactly what is happening with the sharks.
This game has a talking fannypack in it that taunts baddies by sticking its tongue out at them. I don't know if I'd be less perplexed and amused if it was a talking bumbag, but either way, it's a fact that cannot be denied. As well as the fannypack, there's a colourful, cartoon 'sticker' world, juggling combos and physics-based puzzles. Most of the work is done and it looks like the final $14,900 ($15,000 would be too much to ask) is within reach, although pledges will have to be steady over the next two and a half weeks. Here are moving images.
The retina-sizzling arcade racer from three of the Nitronic Rush team looks absolutely splendid, starring speeding objects that have as much in common with cars as a tissue has in common with The World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry. There are more lights and colours in the pitch video (now with more game footage) than in a rainbow at a discotheque. With just shy of $15,000 raised in the last seven days, this hasn't managed to hit the speed boost yet but reading the Reddit AMA might give more of an idea of what exactly is planned and perhaps then confidence will rise?
I played Strike Suit Zero at Gamescom and I'll write something about it next week. Here's the short version - it's a space-shooter with brilliant, clean visuals that makes up for a lack of complexity with its arcade, score attack sensibilities. Although the environments are stunning and busy - this is space without a great deal of 'space' - the levels I played feel like a side-scrolling shooter that's leapt into the third dimension rather than an attempt to capture the actual sensation of controlling an enormous robot-ship. I felt like the king of galactic war when I painted a screen with targets and then unleashed fifty or so missiles simultaneously, wiping out a battalion of enemies in a single, fluid move. It'll reach its target easily enough, I expect, and if it does receive another $100,000 of polish it'll be extremely shiny indeed.
One of the venerable grandfathers of fantasy first-person adventuring is attempting to return, fresh, fancy and full of new surprises.
It's a re-imagining that includes a lot of new features, exciting updates and ingenious additions that will add even more to the mythology and expand upon the original story of our fantasy classic. This is the Shadowgate that we always wanted to make and we are thrilled that we have the opportunity to capture the unique excitement of the original while expanding on the world and mythos like never before.
It looks beautiful and seems to be staying true to its roots, with inventory management and puzzling discoveries still being the focus.
Forward-running arcade action game, HotBot, wants to evoke memories of Space Harrier, which I mostly remember for the horrifying digital scream of death that marked my ten seconds of progress. When I first watched the video, my first thought was of Bust-N-Rush, which is perhaps of the same lineage. It's failed to convince the internet to open its collective wallet, despite looking like a slick example of this sort of thing and having plenty to show. I'm not sure it's the sort of game that inspires fervent anticipation. So many Kickstarter projects have 'epic' worlds or the promise of bringing back something oft-mourned. People look to invest more than money. The money comes after some other initial investment.
Songmasters is back, after an unsuccessful tilt at a higher target in August. There's more detail now and presumably work continued in the gap between this attempt and the last, although I haven't been able to find any details on how the goal has been reduced. Fighting with music isn't new but Armogaste's approach seems to be. I don't really understand how it all works but there appear to be secret mathematics involved.
Lots of people threw their hats in the air and let out a 'harroo' of triumph when they saw that tactical space scrapper, The Jupiter Incident, had a sequel in the works, but apparently not enough people to stump up the necessaries. Or perhaps they spent all their money on new hats. It's tempting to say that $650,000 was too lofty a goal, but it's much more sensible to ask for a realistic amount than to abandon development after receiving pledges because they don't cover expenses. If more than a half a million is required then more than half a million must be raised. I don't think this is the last we'll hear of the Nexus crew.
Forced looks like an ARPG among a sea of others at first glance - large, grotesque creatures and a great deal of clicking. Tactics and co-op are the key difference, although it's still possible to play alone. The game is driven by a system designed to encourage, and even necessitate, teamwork.
The Spirit Mentor/Orb is essentially an extra party member with special powers and an ethereal form, which the players must control in unison. They do so by calling him over, and if he touches a shrine while traveling - it will unleash its power.
A quarter of the way to its goal already, Forced is looking good and I have a demo to try next week so I'll be able to tell you more then.
Loads of updates including videos, for the ambitious fantasy MMO but it'd be a miracle on a par with the salvation of City of Heroes if it made $650,000 in the next 12 days.
Starjacked never really got out of the starter's block, or the launchpad, or wherever it is that space sims hang about before launching into a glorious future. Like Nexus 2, it's on the brink of the abyss and reading through the front page of the project, it's hard to pick out anything that would have made the game stand out in the infinite void. Then, flicking through the updates, I saw this. More of this on the frontpage! Show me alien planets and the creatures upon them! Show me that I can land and that I can explore rather than showing me ships shooting ships, with no context or reason.
After a strong start, the slog begins for Divine Space. What makes this space game different to Starjacked? It's built on real astronomical data, for a start, so you'll be zipping about in our very own galaxy. The design is hard sci-fi, based around "a probable future" of humanity rather than a mad space opera. It still has silly faction leaders and robots though, so don't worry.
Black Chicken make a very specific sort of game - in-depth RPGs that look like visual novels. Academagia is one of the most stat-heavy and number-strewn RPGs I've ever played and I kind of loved it for that. It's Harry Potter, except for geeks. Geekier geeks. I've played a bit of their latest, Scheherazade, as well and it doesn't initially seem quite as gripping, although some of the jazzy dialogue is wonderful. Ars Magica seems like a great fit for the studio's sensibilities and it's been a good week of pledging. Not great, but good.