Crowdfunding video games is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, something you might know if you regularly read this blog or keep your eye on a number of enthusiast gaming websites. I don’t get to use the “A Kick for Kickstarters” banner as frequently these days, and the use of the “Fistbump for a Fig” feature hasn’t made up for them. In fact, most current crowdfunding-related news is about updates to existing projects that still haven’t released — both positive and negative. At times, there’s encouraging news like Dysfunctional Systems getting back on track, but others like the updates on Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians make anyone who backed them increasingly nauseous.
But it’s possible for developers who want to crowdfund their games to take advantage of this lull, thanks to the low competition. Not many are currently vying for the attention of those willing to spend cash on intriguing crowdfunding projects, but whether these campaigns will be successful depends on whether there are enough spenders, and whether gaming sites will cover them. I’ve missed a few this year that have been successful, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight others.
One campaign that’s been active for a while is Re:Legend from Singaporean-developer Magnus Games, a graphically-impressive co-op monster raising RPG that features farming, fishing, crafting, and village building. The player will control an amnesiac customizable avatar that washes ashore on a mysterious island, but later adjust to life on their new home by meeting the villagers, working to expand the village, and, most importantly, raising magical creatures called “Magnus.” Not all Magnus are immediately friendly, which will make taming some of them a challenge. All these features can be done with up to three other players, and the developers stressed (in bold letters, even) that it will primarily be a multiplayer experience, though it’s playable in single-player.
It’s a good-looking game, and it’s evident the developers are proud of their work given the sheer number of GIFs on the page (in fact, there are almost too many). Though they’re only asking for $51,349 for the initial goal despite its production values, it’s clear they completed a good chunk of the game to show for the Kickstarter page to prove it’s not a scam. The presentation is why they’ve raised far more than the initial goal, with the total amount being a little over $298,000 as of this writing. They’ve also promised to add more features thanks to the funding reaching several stretch goals, including having the soundtrack done through a live orchestra, full-voice acting, and ports to PS4, XB1, and Switch.
The Re:Legend campaign only has four days left, though they might have a slacker backer campaign for those who missed this period. Hopefully they don’t run into any development problems along the way. They’re hoping to release the project by June 2018, but like many other crowdfunding projects, expect its date to slip.
Another interesting crowdfunding title is The Iron Oath, a sprite-based and turn-based RPG with dark fantasy aesthetics. Like many other RPGs, it will place a nigh-equal focus on combat and exploration, with a little decision-making mixed in, as the player ventures through a sizable overworld, towns, and dungeons. The game will offer twelve classes, and while the player will be able to choose one for their character from the outset, they can convince other characters with their own backstories in similar or different classes to join their cause along the way.
The battles take place on a strategy/RPG-like grid where players can get the upper hand by attacking enemies from behind or using special skills that cost Spirit (you know, MP), some of which can hit multiple panels. Battles are also where it’s sprite work shines, thanks to the beautiful effects the developers used for the attacks. Quite a few developers working on crowdfunding games tend to use cheaper-looking sprite work, and while that’s understandable, it’s appreciable when someone goes for more detailed work.
Developer Curious Panda is asking for $45,000 to fund its remaining development, and it’s raised a little over $32,000 as of this writing with 18 days left in the campaign. It’s far from a high-profile campaign, but the plethora of GIFs on the page have helped convince onlookers of how they’ve made significant progress on the game, an unsurprisingly popular tactic considering how hesitant people have become of crowdfunding. It should at least reach the initial goal, unless they do something to unintentionally sabotage it. They’re staying realistic with the stretch goals, which will add a Guild Council and sea travel and encounters at $55,000 and $65,000, respectively, and more will be added if those goals are achieved.
The developers are also being realistic with its intended release date, as it’s planned to arrive in March 2019. Like Re:Legend’s developers, I hope they don’t run into any unforeseen issues along the way.
Crowdfunding is unpopular these days, but it’s good that some developers are pressing on with it regardless, and are being rewarded for it. Some upcoming projects will be worth watching, too, like the Fig campaign for The Good Life, from Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die’s Hidetaka “SWERY” Suehiro. I’ll try to cover them all here.