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Kickstarter Katchup - 3rd February 2013


It has been a week of travel, talk and teamwork for me, as I visited the Paradox Convention, met good people and then cursed loudly as they defeated me in everything from The Showdown Effect to Europa Universalis IV. Now that I've returned to my computer, I find that Dreadline has failed to reach its goal, which is saddening but unsurprising given how far from its target it was last week. Neocolonialism has reached its target though. The fate of the 'subversive educational' game was in the balance for a while and I'm very glad to see it succeed. Unwritten hasn't found the boost it needs yet but lovely screenshots of the environment art may help to convince the doubters.

The 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 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 if you want them considered for the list. Include the word Kickstarter in the subject line too if you care about making my life even slightly easier.
  • 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.
  • Be aware that there are two currencies in play. Always check!
  • Anyone falling to the ground and thrashing about in a pretence of agony following minimal contact from the Katchup will receive a yellow card and the scornful disrespect of their peers.

The Winners

Homesick - Lucky Pause

Goal: $8,000
Now: $12,318

I'm a huge fan of narratives that take place in a single location, for reasons of staged efficiency and a fondness for absurdist purgatories, so Homesick's abandoned building exploration adventure tickles my intrigue. The project was already well on its way to its target last week and has now hit the first stretch goal, which means MORE MORE MORE and Oculus Rift support. $22,000 will provide resources for a prequel, set in a different location.

Artizens - Artizens, Inc.

Goal: $30,000
Now: $30,771

Success for co-op side-scrolling monster basher Artizens. The alpha should be ready in summer, and if the mixture of elements and styles works well it'll be a decent excuse not to sit in a beer garden pretending its warm enough to sit in a beer garden. It's a game with robust customisation options and the addition of creature crafting is cause for celebration.

Neocolonialism - Sub Altern Games

Goal: $10,000
Now: $11,049

That was close. The powers that be, in the form of The Man and The Corporation, almost managed to block Neocolonialism's campaign but in the end, the little guy triumphed. Sub Altern Games are the Jimmy Stewart of the Kickstarter world, although with quite a bit more bite. This is how you end a campaign:

"Thanks to you, I have the means to finish my game, and begin the long adventure towards releasing it and founding a subversive educational games non-profit."

I haven't played a subversive educational game since Narc attempted to teach me hard lessons about the war on drugs.

The Losers

Dreadline - Eerie Canal

Dreadline didn't come close to its $167,000 target, which must be as much to do with a failure to reach a wider audience as a failure to engage with those it did reach. What alternative can there be? It's evident from comments I've heard on RPS and elsewhere that some folk found the time-travelling slaughter distasteful, given its focus on actual historical disasters. While I found the idea pleasantly daft rather than offensive, I can certainly understand that perspective. The project may continue:

Rather than dwell on what went wrong, we’re working to find alternate ways to fund the Dreadline’s development. We’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy, and aren’t quite ready to let go.

The Players

Asylum - Senscape

Goal: $100,666
Now: $30,879
Days: 24

Played Scratches? It wasn't the most elaborate adventure but it scared the moustache right off my face. Thankfully, I live in a small flat so I don't have to worry about what's in the basement. The designer has been working on Asylum for a while now and is ready to raise the $100,000 plus thematically-added extras that are necessary to finish the game. It's a horror adventure set in an asylum, but then Scratches was set in an abandoned house and managed to unnerve and the location felt at least a little different to all those other abandoned houses. Here's hoping Asylum is more Session 9 than House On Haunted Hill. Two videos below, one with lots of info and corny effects, and a trailer, the ending of which implies that the Kickstarter money will be used to buy a time machine.

Port Torque 3D to Linux - GarageGames

Goal: $29,487
Now: $9,930
Days: <1

Less than a day to go and it's hard to see this port of Torque 3D to Linux ending up anywhere but the losers column next week. Here are some words from the CEO of Garage Games:

If you are on the fence, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I support a free product”. We understand why many people would rather wait on the side lines and benefit from the support from others. But that isn’t a sustainable model and we believe that paying developers will always drive better results.

You may remember a soft body vehicular physics demo running in Crytek. BeamNG are now running their physics through Torque 3D.

Number of high speed crashes = 0.

The 90's Arcade Racer - Pelikan13

Goal: £10,000
Now: £9,450
Days: 14

I wouldn't be surprised if the bright and cheerful racer had actually passed its goal by the time I publish this post. It's going to make it sometime soon, that's for sure. Extra funding will pay artists to create extra content (tracks, cars) and to polish what is already there. Some 'exciting' news is teased, but it hasn't arrived yet, so instead I'm going to use this space to express my amazement that the game is running in Unity. The incredible variety in Unity projects amazes me and playing Cities in Motion 2 earlier this week, I asked the developers if it was really built in Unity on two separate occasions, just to make sure. An incredible, multi-functional engine and part of one of the many exciting futures PC gaming is currently building toward.

Terminus - Harbour Games

Goal: $25,000
Now: $3,856
Days: 17

Remember your favourite Sim City? Not your favourite game in the franchise, but your favourite actual city, the one that you built and it either functioned like a frictionless urban cog-collection, or simply looked the part. Did you burn it down? I always did. I had to see how it all ended. Terminus' colonies are beset by disasters - plagues, fires, air-loss - so you won't have to hit the destruction button yourself, realising that contentment becomes ennui, instead the game will do it for you. Or at least that's the plan. Although there's time enough, the previous week hasn't been promising on the funding front.

Fortis Rex - Ancient Realms Studios

Goal: $7,000
Now: $4,087
Days: 5

Ancient Realms ran a survey a few days ago asking the community if it was time to scrap the current Kickstarter and begin again. It's like crowdsourcing cubed - "hey, crowd, shall we crowdsource now, later, or never again" - and while I can understand their worry, I can't help but feel that if I were visiting the page for the first time and saw that update, I'd wait for the relaunch rather than pledging straight away. I suspect the plan for a relaunched campaign is tied to the launch of the combat arena beta, which might have been ready for late January but is now due February 23rd. That should be a big boost for the project and will allow people to make a more informed decision.

Wildman - Gas Powered Games

Goal: $1,100,000
Now: $424,303
Days: 12

I've barely had a chance to check the internet since Wednesday so I wasn't sure if the Wildman page would still be active when I clicked on it five minutes ago. It is! But that $1.1 million is speckling about on the horizon. There's a great feature on the whole story of the Kickstarter over at PCGamesN, which Jim beat me to, and Nathan already posted the mod tools video. Since somebody else has already linked to everything else here, here's something slightly different. From me, to you.

Unwritten: That Which Happened - Roxlou Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $27,591
Days: 9

The failure of Unwritten to gain traction baffles me. It's a game with pedigree, a well-run campaign and a fascinating hook - a game about travelling, exploring, storytelling and gods. The latest update even counters my previous concern about the graphics. The latest screenshots show the work of Amanda Williams, previously the environmental artist on Spider and Waking Mars. They look great.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.