During E3 2015, Sony used its press conference to announce that the long-awaited sequel, Shenmue III, would be coming to the PlayStation 4. In the days since, the consolemaker has confirmed they will be helping with development costs, though the game was initially launched on Kickstarter by Ys Net, the studio responsible for the game’s development. The team, led by director and producer Yu Suzuki, could not have asked for a better setting to make the announcement. The game set a new record for reaching the $1 million mark on a crowdfunding platform, managing to hit that figure in 102 minutes, and then passing by its $2 million target in a little over nine hours. It has now gone on to become the second most-funded game ever.
Of course, this stunt has once again raised ethical questions about large corporations testing the waters with crowdfunders. Yu Suzuki was forced to clarify how the Kickstarter funds would be used once it was revealed Sony would be stumping up a sum of cash to complete the game.
Regardless of whether you believe it was morally dubious or not, let us now turn our attentions to a trio of gaming projects that cannot rely on a big E3 announcement to secure funds. We start with ship-building shooter Defect, before revisiting an old classic in Disciples of the Storm, and finishing with the cel-shaded, self-referential side-scrolling platformer The Nascent: An Anecdote of Aetherholme.
Genre: Ship Builder/Space Shooter
Platforms: PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), iOS, Android
Funding Target: $40,000 AUD (approx. $30,950)
What Is It?
Defect is a space shooter with a twist. At the end of every mission, players will face off against their own crew, who have stolen a ship designed by the player. The trick is designing a good ship, but not an unbeatable one, otherwise you will have an impossible task in the next mission. From the brief glimpse of the early build, constructing the ships is relatively simple, while still offering various sizes and infinite configurations.
Why Fund It?
While many games have allowed players to design the perfect ship, letting us live out our dreams of flying the Enterprise or Serenity, the fact that players will face off against their mutinous crew makes the building process much more strategic. Players will have to make a flawed ship so they can exploit these mistakes. Add to this the beautiful graphics and comical character design, and Aussie outfit Three Phase Interactive has a winner on its hands.
- Digital copy of the game (early bird, limited to 200) – $10 AUD ($12 AUD otherwise)
- Digital copy of the game, digital .pdf art manual, alpha access, and your name in the credits- $30 AUD
- Previous rewards plus name an enemy ship, access to mobile version, and Defect t-shirt – $80 AUD
- Previous rewards plus a printed hardcover version of art manual (limited to 25) – $200 AUD
- Previous rewards plus extra copy of the game and the ability to design and name a standard ship (limited to 10) – $500 AUD
- Previous rewards plus design and name a super class pirate boss ship (limited to 1) – $1,000 AUD
Project: Disciples of the Storm
Genre: Fantasy RTS
Platforms: PC (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Funding Target: $50,000
What Is It?
Disciples of the Storm is inspired by the 1997 game NetStorm: Islands at War by Titanic Entertainment. In 2010, a group of fans tried to remake the game in 3D without owning the rights to the game. These fans have now formed Storm Isle Productions, and are taking everything they loved about the classic and turning it into a brand new game. The core concept remains the same: players control a faction that must build over islands in the sky to take out the other factions.
Why Fund It?
A lot of love has gone into the art style of the game and its elemental factions. The concept art by Morgan Ogburn should be particularly persuasive in parting potential players from their cash. If that is not enough to convince you, the game has already been Greenlit on Steam, and it’s backed by co-creator of the original game, Jim Greer.
- Digital copy of the game (early bird, limited to 600) – $15 ($25 otherwise)
- Digital copy of the game plus two backer-exclusive in-game items – $50
- Previous rewards plus a digital art book and credit – $55
- Previous rewards plus early access and t-shirt (limited to 150) – $100
- Previous rewards plus digital soundtrack and signed poster – $200
- Previous rewards plus your likeness and voice used for one of the High Priests or Priestesses, as well as a novelty USB stick with the game pre-loaded – $1,000
Project: The Nascent: An Anecdote of Aetherholme
Genre: 2.5D side-scrolling RPG
Platforms: PC (Windows), Xbox One
Funding Target: £72,545 (approx. $111,425)
What Is It?
The Nascent: An Anecdote of Aetherholme is a humourous, cel-shaded, side-scrolling… something. Its creators, Fox and Badger Studios, slot the game into the Metroidvania genre, but it comes across more as an RPG hybrid, or, in the developer’s own words, “It’s kinda like a tabletop RPG, in video game form.” The main character wakes up in a strange city with no memory of who they are or how they got there. Players are free to explore the city, guided by an omnipresent narrator.
Why Fund It?
Fans of Borderlands will be right at home in The Nascent’s art direction and sense of humour, with the Narrator, voiced by Brian “Human” Hulse, cracking jokes when you take down enemies. The slew of bad guys are a lot tougher than the protagonist, so players must use their wits and quirky skill sets, like smoke screen, to take them down.
- Digital copy of the game (early bird, limited to 200) – $10 ($15 otherwise)
- Digital copy of the game plus the chance to design graffiti to be used in game – $30
- Previous rewards plus a plush toy – $40
- Previous rewards plus an addition item (another plush or poster) – $70
- Previous rewards plus two additional items (another plush or poster) – $100
- Previous rewards plus a wooden sign (limited to 20) – $600
- Previous rewards plus every game Fox and Badger Studios makes in the future (limited to 100) – $1,200
Until Next Time…
That’s it for another week. Next month, Kickstart This! will be three years old! We’ll be celebrating the crowdfunding movement with some articles and interviews with developers we have featured in the past to see how their projects fared and what they are planning for the future.