Tim Schafer and his video game development house Double Fine Productions not only put Kickstarter on the map as a viable crowd-sourcing option for bringing video games to life that otherwise wouldn’t get their deserved attention from major publishers, they’ve also paved the way for a variety of other, more historic properties to make triumphant returns as well.
We’re beginning to see the (hopeful) return of space combat sims with projects including Starlight Inception; Leisure Suit Larry and series creator Al Lowe have two weeks left to reach the $500,000 goal (currently at $370,000); Shadowrun and Wasteland are both getting authentic sequels and YouTube’s Yogscast are creating their own game too!
The phenomenon began in March when Schafer sought to raise $400,000 for him and a small team from Double Fine to develop a classic point-and-click adventure downloadable game, from a genre major publishers deemed obsolete and not bankable.
In eight hours fans raised the money and the campaign was not only a success to make the project a reality, but by the end of the Kickstarter, Double Fine had raised $3,336,371 from over 87,000 backers. Gamers know what they wanted, it spread through word of mouth, and they proved that creativity and passion trumps all.
Fast forward to today and while the adult-themed Leisure Suit Larry hasn’t blown away their target just yet, they’re well on their way with two weeks left. As for Shadowrun and Wasteland, both titles have surpassed their targets with ease.
Shadowrun is based on the RPG tabletop game and earned video game adaptations for SNES/Sega Genesis, later remade/modernized by FASA for PC and Xbox 360 in 2007 but failed to hit big sales or good reviews. Shadowrun Returns comes from indie dev Harebrained Schemes, led by franchise creator Jordan Weisman, who had acquired the Shadowrun rights back in 2007 after the game flopped (he wasn’t a part of that one) and FASA was shut down. Thanks to its failure, the franchise was seemingly doomed until Kickstarter provided an opportunity for fans to support development and get the authentic Shadowrun adaptation done right. It’s coming to PC/Mac and iOS/Android tablets and the Kickstarter currently sits at over $1.2 million from 26,000+ backers, tripling its $400,000 goal with 11 days left to go.
Moving on to another success story, the Kickstarter for Wasteland 2 by inXile entertainment, ended last night, and was followed up by a homely wrap-up party with friends and family that was livestreamed for the public to join in and listen in on interesting conversations about the project, along with smiles and laughter (and balloons). It was well deserved considering over 60,000 backers of the project raised $2,933,252 on a goal of $900,000.
Remember floppy disk games? Interplay developed the original Wasteland game in 1988, published by Electronic Arts. It was a single-player RPG, the first post-apocalyptic one (now there are a dime a dozen), that earned a ton of critical praise and is known as one of the best PC games ever, but it oddly never got a successor while it lived on in spirit through Fallout.
That changes now with a development team headed by Brian Fargo (of the original Wasteland, Fallout), featuring many of the original designers. That’s how you bring back a franchise, ladies and gentleman -Funded by fans who know what they want, developed by people who created it and aim to deliver an authentic, passion-driven sequel.
Last but not least, our Y0gscast friends, YouTube celebs know for their incredible Minecraft series and information videos on MMOs and really, most cool games, are now developing their own game as well! It’s called Yogventures and to no surprise, they’ve already surpassed their goal will over two weeks left.
We’ve all heard the catchphrase “by gamers for gamers” used in marketing, but with Kickstarter, this holds true in its literal meaning. Double Fine’s point-and-click adventure, along with Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns all becoming a reality, are all examples of gaming at its best, when the community supports the games they want, the ones that deserve to be made.
Let’s just hope the devs in these examples don’t led their backers down…
- Liesure Suit Larry Kickstarter
- Double Fine Kickstarter (ended)
- Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter
- Wasteland 2 Kickstarter
- Yogventures Kickstarter
I’ve said it before, but I think Kickstarter may be the only way to get another good Star Wars game. I’m talking X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Battlefront 3! LucasArts would never allow that to happen.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Background on header image from Audio Works.