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You see a great idea on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and immediately get excited. Maybe it’s a beloved studio trying to raise the cash to create a new game, or maybe you see a developer looking to reboot a childhood favorite. You click on the “Back this Project” button and hand the campaign your money. Then, you wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Video game development can be a very slow process. With that in mind, GamesBeat wanted to know what’s going on with some of gaming’s biggest Kickstarter projects, so we went right to the sources and asked the developers what they’re working on now. Here’s what they had to say.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Date Funded: April 5, 2013
Amount Funded: $4,188,927
What is it?: A role-playing game based on Monte Cook’s new tabletop RPG setting Numenera. Cook is best known for his work on tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, particular the 2nd edition Advanced D&D setting Planescape
Update: Torment is still in heavy preproduction, inXile CEO Brian Fargo told GamesBeat. The team has generated about 800 pages of design documents and a prototype for one of the crisis areas. “We are working on some beautiful new screens, which we hope to show in the next 90 days or so,” he said. “We are thankful for the long design stage we were given thanks to crowdfunding.”
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Original: inXile didn’t have any updates for us but said in its latest Kickstarter update that it’s been working on Torment’s aesthetics and environments. The studio has reached an agreement to license the same technology developer Obsidian is using to create Pillars of Eternity. This will give inXile a “stronger starting point for certain game systems and pipelines, including the creation of the 2D pre-rendered environments.”
“This means we will have more resources to invest on other aspects of the game, allowing us to achieve a higher quality overall,” said project lead Kevin Saunders.
Pillars of Eternity
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Date Funded: Oct. 16, 2012
Amount Funded: $3,986,929
What is it?: An isometric, party-based RPG in the same vein as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment
Obsidian didn’t respond to our request for an update on Pillars of Eternity, but producer Rose Gomez Jr. said in a recent update that the game will be released sometime in Winter 2014. Gomez also added the following about stretch goals:
“After much discussion and consideration of the poll on our forums, we have decided not to pursue any additional stretch goals. Rest assured that the team is working hard on completing the game and including our current stretch goals.”
Mighty No. 9
Date Funded: Oct. 1, 2013
Amount Funded: $3,845,170
What is it?: A classic side-scrolling action game from Mega Man co-designer Keiji Inafune
Mighty No. 9’s director, Koji Imaeda, told GamesBeat he’s thinking of the backers while working on the game. “I’ve been continuously working on the scenario whilst keeping in mind the Backers’ requests and the feedback we’ve collected from them so far,” he said. “For example, I’m currently thinking about a way to integrate the appearance of the Mighty No. 9 Heroine Poll’s runner ups (such as Call D, renamed Miley) in the game’s story.”
The team is also thinking about turning the game into a multimedia franchise. “We’re already seeing a ton of interest from our fans in the storyline and characters of Mighty No. 9,” said producer Nick Yu. “Of course the game remains the primary and most critical platform for that, but we’re also getting interest from potential partners in helping explore and flesh out the world of Mighty No. 9 in other media. With enough fan interest and the right opportunities, this game could be just the start of Beck’s adventures….”
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Date Funded: April 17, 2012
Amount Funded: $2,933,252
What is it?: A sequel to the 1998 post-apocalyptic role-playing game Wasteland
Update: InXile just updated its beta/Early Access version of Wasteland 2 via Steam earlier this week, according to CEO Brian Fargo. This new version brings a host of changes, including a new inventory UI, destructible objects, improved combat animations, and new areas of the map to explore. Fargo said the response to the update has been positive. “The feedback on our changes has been strong and we are back in the top 10 for RPGs (top 20 overall) on Steam,” he said.
With Wasteland 2 slowly closing in on a release date, Fargo also commented on the time it’s spent in production. “Although sometimes people like to focus on us being late think it’s important to note that the initial Kickstarter date was an estimate, and once we raised 3x the money we increased the scope of the game at least 2x, which makes that initial estimate moot. The good news is that we are in the final stretch and it’s one of the most ambitious games I have ever worked on. I want to prove what a developer can do with crowdfunding.”
Developer: City State Entertainment
Date Funded: May 2, 2013
Amount Funded: $2,232,933
What is it?: A subscription-based, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Mark Jacobs, founder of Mythic Entertainment and designer of Dark Age of Camelot
City State Entertainment didn’t respond to our request for an update. In its latest Kickstarter update on Feb. 14, however, the studio said recent stress tests have gone “fantastically” well.
“In the most recent tests, we maintained around 60 FPS even as the number of players/connections grew to 286,” wrote Mark Jacobs. “Our networking code got ever more efficient as Andrew cut our bandwidth use by around 75%. This resulted in even better performance (of course) and less rubber-banding even as the number of testers/connections/corpses continued to soar (we peaked at 300+).”
City State Entertainment also recently reached a stretch goal of $2.5M, and will now add a new area to the game called The Depths. If it reaches $2.6M, it will add a new playable race of giants to Camelot Unchained.
Developer: Red Thread Games
Date Funded: March 10, 2013
Amount Funded: $1,538,425
What is it?: A sequel to classic point-and-click adventure games The Longest Journey (1999) and Dreamfall (2006)
Now that Dreamfall Chapters is out of the pre-alpha stage, Red Thread Games is focusing on polishing Chapters One and Two. Creative director Ragnar Tornquist told GamesBeat development is “progressing very well and according to plan.”
“We’re still at that stage where the gameplay and story keep morphing and changing as we see what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “That’s the advantage of being in charge of our own game and being supported directly by our players and fans — we can do what feels right without worrying about what a publisher’s marketing department may think.”
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Date Funded: September 14, 2012
Amount Funded: $2,229,344
What is it?: A real-time strategy game inspired by the 1997 title Total Annihilation
Planetary Annihilation is now available on Steam Early Access, and it’s doing great, according to Uber Entertainment CTO Jon Mavor. “All of the backers now have access to the game,” he told GamesBeat. “We are pushing forward on Steam Early Access and through other channels to get the game into people’s hands.”
Mavor also said the team has some big announcements in the works but doesn’t want to spoil the surprise. Color us intrigued.
Developer: Cloud Imperium Games
Date Funded: November 19, 2012
Amount Funded: $2,134,374
What is it?: A space simulator from legendary designer Chris Roberts, creator of the Wing Commander series
Star Citizen has raised more than $38 million in funding since the project first launched in October 2012. Although more than $2 million was raised on Kickstarter, the majority of the game’s funding has been raised through the Roberts Space Industries website. In a recent statement, Chris Roberts thanked backers for their continued support and revealed the game’s latest stretch goals are three new star systems — Cano, Kabal, and Oretani. The next stretch goal, however, will be something entirely different.
“At $39 million, we’ll announce a new goal that will help chart the course for the future of Star Citizen in a different way … and it’s one I’m personally very excited about, so be sure to check back then and learn more!” Roberts said.
Shroud of the Avatar
Developer: Portalarium, Inc.
Date Funded: April 7, 2013
Amount Funded: $1,919,275
What is it?: The latest RPG from Ultima creator Richard Garriott, aka “Lord British”
Since Shroud of the Avatar’s Kickstarter campaign ended in April 2013, Portalarium has raised an extra $1.13M. In a recent letter provided to GamesBeat, co-founder Dallas Snell told investors the team is ecstatic about their crowdfunding success.
“Every new dollar we raise is plowed right back into Shroud of the Avatar, allowing us to expand our team size, enhance the game’s feature set, expand the scope of the project, create more content, and flesh out more of the amazing story design that Richard Garriott and New York Times Best Selling author, Tracy Hickman, have crafted!” he wrote.
Snell added the extra funds will go toward crafting more quests, cutscenes, and levels.
Portalarium said it will continue to release monthly pre-Alpha content to the backer community from now until the game officially launches sometime in Q4 2014.
Developer: Double Fine
Date Funded: June 27, 2013
Amount Funded: $1,229,015
What is it?: A turn-based tactical strategy game similar to the Fire Emblem series
The Massive Chalice Kickstarter page hasn’t been updated since August 2013, but a post on the official blog said the team is currently designing the “Bloodline Editor.” This will allow certain backers to create their own Houses and Sigils, which will be available in the game for all to see.
Date Funded: September 1, 2012
Amount Funded: $2,437,429
What is it?: A virtual reality headset for video games
Oculus declined to comment for this story. In its most recent Kickstarter update, Oculus announced it’s co-publishing CCP Games’ EVE: Valkyrie, which is one of the first AAA games designed exclusively for the Rift.
Oculus also recently released its Latency Tester as open source hardware to promote transparency about the project. “A key part of the Oculus culture is a drive for openness,” the team wrote. “We believe that making Oculus more open and transparent will ultimately accelerate and improve virtual reality technology for everyone.”
Latency is the delay between a player taking an action and that action appearing on-screen. Oculus stated that, with a little hacking, the Latency Tester can also be used to build a display color calibrator, an ambient light detector, or a general purpose video game latency tester.
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