Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Apr. 12th
Opinions expressed in Game of Buzz are those of the author alone.
These past few months have seen such a dramatic surge of video game projects getting launched and finding wild success on Kickstarter that the question just has to be asked: how long can this keep up?
Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2 have been multi-million dollar successes, but some are already grumbling about “Kickstarter fatigue.” I just hope it doesn’t kick in before Republique, a seriously innovative-looking collaboration between new game studio Camouflaj and CGI house Logan, can take off.
Game journalist-turned-game developer Ryan Payton worked on Metal Gear Solid in Japan and served as the creative director on Halo 4 before jumping ship to form Camouflaj with the intent of creating a game for mobile devices that had the story-driven heft of a console game.
Particularly exciting are some of the ideas going into the game, acknowledging the reality of the mobile device to create a relationship to the onscreen character Hope. Payton has described the game as starting off with a phone call from Hope, and from there the player guides Hope– who in the demo directly addresses the player– in her attempt to escape a totalitarian state inspired by George Orwell’s 1984.
It will take a cool million dollars to ship Republique onto iOS devices a little over a year from now. Half the money has been secured from investors, so the Kickstarter campaign needs $500K to proove that there’s demand. Ten dollars will secure a copy of the game at release, but Camouflaj is betting on gamer’s love of schwag to fuel some “collector’s editon” packages as part of the pre-sale.
I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff, and the books that they’re offering as rewards are the kinds of “in game artifacts” that I go gaga for. Anything to up the immersion quotient. I’m just not entirely sure I’m willing to pony up $100 bucks for the collector’s edition of a mobile game. Even if it is a mobile game that promises a deeper experience. A geek dilemma if there ever was one.
Actually, I don’t have $100 to spare right now. So no real dilemma. Unless I start a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100 so I can give to their Kickstarter campaign. Hmm.
Which brings us back to fatigue. I don’t think it’s a real thing, yet. If for no other reason than the fact that even the most successful Kickstarter campaigns for games are measuring supporters in the tens of thousands while console games sell in the millions. The market just hasn’t been tapped yet.
However, I worry a little for Payton and Co. The perception of fatigue could hurt, and if there is just a small indie market backing games with a high nostalgia factor, then Republique might just be stepping into the ring at the wrong time. There’s also the chance that the initial rush of giving to Kickstarter projects can curdle while gamers wait for the products to actually ship. It’s one thing to plunk down five dollars on a copy of a game you know is coming out two months from now, and quite another to commit a big chunk of cash to something that won’t hit for a year.
Let’s hope the revolution lasts a little longer. I really want to play this one. Plus Payton has sunk his life savings and his career on this move, which is exactly the kind of chutzpah that Kickstarter was created to reward.