Kickstarter is officially a thing now. Are you a developer who has been pitching a sequel to a niche game but no publisher wants to invest in it? Are you one of those fans who would pay directly to your favorite developer in order to get a sequel to one of your favorite games ever? Fortunately, you can do this through Kickstarter now. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Kickstarter is a crowd funding website in which people can support various projects related to video games, food, independent films, journalism, comics and technology among some others.
The website become extremely popular right after Double Fine Productions managed to raise $3.35 million from more than 87,000 donors for an upcoming point-and-click adventure. The impact this project has had since its inception has been incredible and this has encouraged many other developers to start participating in similar projects. The advantages are pretty obvious: developers receive money directly from their fans, developers aren’t pressured by publishers, they can work on niche titles and they have complete creative freedom. Additionally, if the company raises more money than expected they may use it to publish the game on additional platforms, create orchestral soundtracks, put additional voices and so on and so forth. For fans this is also great as they can support their favorite company in a very direct way.
Since Double Fine Productions made history, many other companies have started Kickstarter projects. Al Lowe has recently launched a Kickstarter project to remake the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. The original game in the series debuted in 1987, but Lowe will try to modernize the aforementioned title by adding high-definition graphics, an improved point-and-click interface, full-voice work and compatibility with more platforms. I’ve never been a fan of Leisure Suit Larry, but taking in to account that the series’ latest titles have been panned by critics, maybe revisiting the first title in the series may be a good idea.
Wasteland 2 is another inviting project, in this case, for RPG fans. The original Wasteland was a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that influenced many other titles in the genre, including the Fallout series. Soon after the announcement, Obsidian Entertainment (the developer of Fallout: New Vegas) stated that they will contribute to the project if it manages to raise $2.1 million. Finally, one of the latest campaigns to be announced has been Shadowrun Returns. For the uninitiated, the original Shadowrun was a 2D role-playing game originally published on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that quickly became a cult hit. This is another promising project as fans have been waiting for another Shadowrun game for years (yes, I’ll pretend like that first-person shooter doesn’t exist.)
It’s also worth mentioning some other popular (but also extremely niche) games like: Auditorium Duet (a cooperative puzzle title similar to Rez,) FTL (a space game that takes concepts from Firefly and Star Control) and Guncraft (a title that features the sandbox and construction elements of Minecraft, but also allows you to shoot other people.)
As you can see, the projects mentioned here are extremely niche (point-and-click adventures, sequels to cult hits and spiritual successors to 2D games.) But at least this has demonstrated that fans can be more involved in the development of titles they are extremely interested in. If it wasn’t for projects like these, most of the titles in this list wouldn’t have happened (at least not right now.) So what do you think of Kickstarter projects? Do you think they are a fad? Will companies start oversaturating the service with unnecessary games that no one wants? Please, share your opinion in the comments.