AirBuccaneers HD offers the ability to destroy the universe as a pre-order bonus

Tom Francis at

I remember being really annoyed that Just Cause 2 gave pre-orderers a hovercraft. AirBuccaneers HD, a multiplayer hot air balloon combat game, gives them the ability to destroy the world. Pre-order it now for $15 or more, and you'll get the one-time use spell you see in the clip above: it kills everyone on the server, ends the game, and destroys the universe.

This, it could be argued, is a bit much.

AirBuccaneers started out as one of the most sublime Unreal Tournament 2004 mods. It was team-based deathmatch in steampunk hot-air balloons, and you needed a team just to keep one afloat. Steering, lift, weapon loading, aiming and special abilities all had to be co-ordinated.

Air Buccaneers HD is the same idea, but remade as a standalone game in Unity3D - a popular engine for indie games. It's in pre-alpha at the moment, and they're currently seeking $100,000 in funding from pre-orderers.

Funding the project gets you access to the current version right away, but you won't get the ability to end the world until the game reaches beta, or possibly release. You only get to use it once, but even so, giving them to everyone at the same time seems like a recipe for disaster. Join a server - damn, someone destroyed the universe. Map loads - damn, someone destroyed the universe. Map loads - ooh, no-one's destroyed the universe... Destroy the universe!

If it does cause problems, it's hard to see what LudoCraft can do about it - they've stressed it repeatedly as a selling point. If they plan to limit it to a certain map or let servers disable it, that ought to be made clear when charging money for it. And while it makes a great headline, if the game is good, do you even want a button that simply stops you all from playing it for a while? With a slow-paced game in which a good team invests a lot of time and effort - and a bad team can quickly get frustrated - I can't imagine world-ending ragequits being much fun.

Their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo - a site both visually and functionally like Kickstarter - offers a range of rewards for different donation amounts. The amounts themselves are rather odd, though - the minimum is $15, but the next tier up is $70. Update! There's now a $30 option that gets you the soundtrack - thanks CuddlyBunny.

They escalate in large, puzzling jumps - the next tier is $270, but the only extras are a physical copy of the soundtrack you're already getting digitally, and your name in the credits. A pencil portrait and a hoodie takes an extra $6,030, and a copy of the source code comes to $700,000 - seven times the amount they're hoping to raise. It'll be interesting to see how people respond.

I'm not convinced by their approach to funding it, but I hope LudoCraft meet their target and finish the game. It looks gorgeous towards the end of the trailer above, and more games should be daring and odd. Just not daring enough to sell the apocalypse.

Vid via the vigilant RPS.