Videogame crowdfunding campaigns have been in vogue since Double Fine Productions launched the now famous Broken Age Kickstarter. Thanks to the flexibility of crowdfunding websites, creators who wanted to make games in genres shunned by traditional publisher could get in direct contact with fans all over the world and release gems such as Pillars of Eternity, Shovel Knight or Torment: Tides of Numenera, to name a few. Sadly, a number of high profile failures have soured the once sweet waters of crowdfunding, and projects that don’t have a known name/studio attached to them tend to languish in Kickstarter/Fig/Indiegogo limbo while their creators frantically attempt to raise awareness about them with gameplay footage, interviews and livestreams.
Here at Gaming on PC we understand that backing a crowdfunding campaign isn’t as easy as purchasing a newly released game on Steam or GOG. Crowdfunding horror stories abound, ranging from projects that were released to lukewarm critical/player reception, to others that have gone silent, or have been outright cancelled (leaving fans without the game they backed AND without the cash they invested) That’s why we have been scouring the biggest crowdfunding sites in the web, searching for projects that deserve your support and seem to be on track for release. We have purposefully avoided campaigns that have been funded already, or that are almost funded and still have weeks to go, since we want to showcase projects that truly need support.
Kickstarter – Anew: The Distant Light (US$ 30,000 goal, campaign ends on March 20, 2017)
Gamers who read our website daily will probably know a thing or two about Anew, since we have been covering Resonator‘s open world metroidvania from the moment they announced their crowdfunding drive. Developed by a small team of AAA industry veterans, this indie title has been in the works since 2015. The Kickstarter campaign is full of detailed information about the game’s systems, and the developers have been posting updates non-stop.
Resonator have set a relatively small goal for their crowdfunding drive, something that can be explained by the size of the team (2 full time developers, plus a contractor working on the game’s soundtrack) and the amount of time and resources they have already spent since they started development. Considering the team’s previous track record (Jeff Spoonhower and Steve Copeland have worked on a number of high profile AAA releases) and the constant stream of information and gameplay videos, we think that their July 2018 release window is feasible, and that this project won’t be a trainwreck.
The minimum pledge level has been set at US$ 19, and it includes a copy of the full game once it’s released, plus an HD wallpaper.
Update: Campaign cancelled (though the game is still in development)
Kickstarter – Legion 1917: Rise of the Bolsheviks (€ 65,000 goal, campaign ends on March 29, 2017)
Games set during the Russian Revolution aren’t exactly common, so Legion 1917 represents a breath of fresh air in a world full of WW2/sci-fi/modern warfare titles. Developed by Sornyak Arts, a team of Prague-based videogame enthusiasts/history buffs, Legion 1917 is an isometric story-driven turn-based strategy which follows the story of two Czech brothers caught in the crossfire between the fledgling Red Army and the White Army.
Sornyak Arts are using Unreal Engine 4 to bring their vision to life, with hand drawn art reminiscent of Valiant Hearts: The Great War and detailed 3D environments. The developers cite X-Com and Jagged Alliance as big inspirations for their title’s gameplay, so players can expect intense tactical engagements that can be solved in different ways.
As we said before, the development team behind Legion 1917 is a group of self-described videogame enthusiasts/history buffs. They are not industry veterans, so potential backers should take that into account. Budget wise, Sornyak Arts seem to be on the right track, and they have been working on this title for a while (investing money from their own pockets) The late 2017 estimated release window may be a bit too optimistic, considering the amount of features that the developers want to include with their game.
The minimum pledge level has been set at € 10, and it includes a copy of the full game once it’s released, plus a number of exclusive wallpapers, and the backer’s name on the credits.
Fig – Antegods (US$ 70,000 goal, campaign ends on April 6, 2017)
Fig is a relatively new crowdfunding platform which offers both the traditional backer experience that can be found in Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and a way to invest money in the future of a specific campaign. While it has been the stage for a number of high profile campaigns (Pillars of Eternity 2, Wastelands 3, and Psychonauts 2, among others) it’s nowhere near Kickstarter when it comes to news coverage.
Our last crowdfunding spotlight for this piece will be Antegods, a competitive action-packed arena title developed by Codeglue, a well known Dutch indie studio that has worked on several well received releases. Set in an alternate universe where the Mayan civilization left Earth in “stonepunk” spaceships, Antegods pits two four-player teams against each other in a battle for control of energy sources that can be used to activate massive titans that can decimate the opposing team. Winning battles lets players climb an intergalactic tournament ladder, and the top ranked teams can become gods.
- Stonepunk universe – A novel blend of ancient Mayan culture with science fiction brought to life in-game and in a comic
- Action-packed 4×4 arena battles – Team up with friends online or split-screen, and wreck your opponents in highly destructible procedurally generated maps.
- Battle with massive titans – Teams hunt for silk, the energy spread across the map, to activate their dormant ‘titan’ and cooperatively control it to annihilate the enemy team.
- Modify your stonepunk mech – Customizable mechs to match your unique play style; pick your own body, weapon and jetpack wings.
- Strategize with your team – Deep tactical gameplay with a focus on team collaboration. Fortify your team’s position on the map and outsmart the enemy team.
- Competitive online play – Our online matchmaking sets up exciting matches to climb an intergalactic ladder, making Antegods ready for eSports tournaments.
Codeglue isn’t an unknown studio, and their output has been great so far, so we expect that they will be able to deliver on their promises and release a fun multiplayer title. Both their funding goal and release window seem realistic, and the game is already at the pre-alpha stage, so potential backers would not be betting on a project that it’s still in its infancy.
The minimum pledge level has been set at US$ 15, and it includes a copy of the full game once it’s released (Q2, 2018) plus a number of HD wallpapers.