Kickstarter recently released a long-awaited Fulfillment Report, an independent analysis of its crowdfunding activities by Professor Ethan Mollick of the University of Pennsylvania. While the report contains a lot of interesting data, the number many media outlets are focusing on is the 9% failure rate of fully-funded projects. The report has this to say about the numbers:
Is a 9% failure rate reasonable for a community of people trying to bring creative projects to life? We think so, but we also understand that the risk of failure may deter some people from participating. We respect that. We want everyone to understand exactly how Kickstarter works — that it’s not a store, and that amid creativity and innovation there is risk and failure.
Let’s look at this another way. 91% of projects across all categories succeed and deliver. What industry can say that? There is an old adage in the film industry that mentions that 7 out of 10 features lose money, two break even, and one film makes enough money to cover the loss. This is almost the opposite.
Personally I have yet to support a successful project, video game related or otherwise, that has not delivered after receiving my funds (or at least been on course to do so). Yes, I practise what I preach and donate on crowdfunding sites. I recently had an update from lead developer James Fletcher about his long-gestating project Knite and the Ghost Lights. In a nutshell, he had to put the project on hiatus to work for six months so he could support his family and then return to the game. Despite waiting longer than I thought I would for the game, James’ commitment to do six months of commercial work in order to realise his dream keeps my faith alive in the crowdfunding community. There are people out there who seek to con others, but that’s why we have columns like Kickstart This!
So what games are we urging you to back this time around? We start off with RPG action-adventure Deserted, before shining a light on not one but two games from Australia. The first is cutesy robot puzzler Wanda: A Beautiful Apocalypse, while the second is the Streets of Rage-inspired RPG beat ‘em up Night City Assault.
Genre: RPG Action Adventure
Platforms: Android, iOS, PC (Win/Mac/Linux), PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One
Funding Target: $30,000 CAD (approx. $22,100)
What Is It?
Longtime readers of Kickstart This! will know I have a soft spot for a game called Impact Winter, which failed in its Kickstarter campaign, but looks like it will see life through other means. Deserted immediately conjured up memories of Impact Winter, but with a scarier, sci-fi twist, with echoes of classic Another World (known as Out of This World in America and Outer World in Japan). The team at Zebik Media has actively promoted their inspiration from that 16-bit classic, and it shows not only in the story of a galactic explorer surveying a ravaged planet, but also in its art style. Armed with a multi-functioning arm module that acts as a weapon, tool, and vitals monitor, players must battle through the horrors of the planet and its puzzles should they wish to uncover its secret.
Why Fund It?
If you have never played Another World (and you really should, along with Delphine Software’s similarly styled Flashback), you may wonder why myself and so many others hold it in such high regard. Having replayed it when it celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011, it really was a nostalgic experience. The remastered version was stunning, and the game had held up well, so if Zebik Media can capture the magic that Another World designer Eric Chahi created, then that’s the only reason you need.
- Early backer copy of the game – $10
- Digital copy of the game – $15
- Digital copy of the game plus digital wallpapers and alternative character looks – $25
- Previous rewards plus an additional copy of the game, digital art book, and soundtrack – $50
- Previous rewards plus early access to game in Summer 2016 and digital bestiary and map – $70
- Previous rewards plus unlock additional weapons and characters – $100
Project: Wanda: A Beautiful Apocalypse
Genre: Robot Puzzler
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac)
Funding Target: $2,000 AUD (approx. $1450)
What Is It?
What if, instead of a post-apocalyptic world filled with undead hordes and killer robots, it was filled with friendship and hope? As naïve as it sounds, that is the push behind Wanda: A Beautiful Apocalypse, a game that charts the simple, yet highly emotional, story of two robots in a lonely world. Imagine if Pixar had made Wall-E a video game instead of a film, and you are on the right track.
Why Help Fund It?
Wanda is a puzzle game aimed at children. While I don’t have kids of my own (my girlfriend will argue I am still just a big kid), if I did, I would want them to play this game. It beautifully captures the essence of innocence, largely thanks to David Lister’s haunting fairy tale soundtrack. While the graphics may be rather bare, the art style mirrors that of a children’s story book, with hand-drawn animation and backdrops for the Big Bot and Little Bot to wander through. If you have kids, this is a great puzzle game to engage their tiny little brains.
- Digital copy of the game – $7 (early bird limited to 200 – $10 otherwise)
- Digital copy of the game, plus digital art book, soundtrack, and comic – $20
- Previous rewards plus two additional copies of the game to share – $50
- Previous rewards plus physical copy of comic – $80 (limited to 10)
- Previous rewards plus design a stage and get credited as “Map Designer” – $150
Project: Night City Assault
Genre: RPG Beat ‘Em Up
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux), PS4, Xbox One, Wii U
Funding Target: $26,290 AUD (approx. $19,000)
What Is It?
Night City Assault is a throwback to a genre that, despite many attempts, has not enjoyed success since the 80s and 90s heyday of Streets of Rage and Final Fight. In order to make it stand out, Xtra Mile Games has taken the core beat ‘em up mechanics and combined them with an RPG progression system. So as well as busting out an extensive set of moves, players are encouraged to explore and uncover hidden areas of the game.
Why Help Fund It?
Fans of the genre will appreciate the work that has gone into the game thus far, with crisp animation and retro backdrops, along with voice acting. The majority of the funding has come from the developers’ pockets, but they need a modest sum to help them reach the finish line. If you are still not convinced, you could always try the Night City Assault demo. I, for one, am hoping Xtra Mile Games reaches their Wii U stretch goal of $41,500 AUD.
- Digital copy of the game – $16
- Digital copy of the game, plus digital soundtrack – $34
- Digital copy of the game, plus digital soundtrack, beta access, and name in the credits – $48
- Previous rewards, plus a physical edition of the game with instruction booklet and box – $90
- Previous rewards, plus alpha access – $138
- Previous rewards, exclusive digital artwork, plus help create an in-game item and weapon – $692 (limited to five)
Until Next Time…
Remember, with Christmas just around the corner, these projects can make for an excellent present. The gift of giving is generous in itself, but the suspense of waiting to get the game is even better. Let’s help get some of these projects into the 91% bracket!