Some people like Mechwarrior Online, and some people really, really don't. Numerous MWO forum threads are filled with complaints about the incomplete state of the game, and the announcement of Transverse, the new sci-fi MMO project from developer Piranha Games, was met with a deluge of fresh anger. That upset was driven in no small part by the multi-million-dollar, in-house crowdfunding campaign; yet according to Piranha Games co-founder Bryan Ekman, crowdfunding is one of the most effective ways an independent studio can build both a loyal following and a market for its games.
When Star Citizen hit $49 million in crowdfunding, Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts said he wanted more. So we gave it to him! But now, with more than $51 million in the bank, Roberts has decided it's time to ease up a bit: Continued funding is still required, but it's going to be de-emphasized somewhat as part of an effort to make the project friendlier and more accessible to newcomers.
Crowdfunding is a good way to get risky games made, but it's also an increasingly risky proposition for backers. The most recent example is prehistoric survival sim The Stomping Land, which made headlines last week after backers complained of radio silence from studio SuperCrit. The silence follows more than $115,000 pledged for development of the title, as well as the promise of regular community correspondence and weekly updates. The last anyone had heard from SuperCrit was May 30.
Star Citizen—the in-progress space sim and dream generator—has surpassed $40 million in funding, according to the latest update from game lead Chris Roberts. While the new monies are set to boost the scale of its universe with the addition of two new star systems, the new update also reveals the level of fresh support Star Citizen has achieved in terms of its community population. Roberts writes that more than 10,000 people have joined its community since the end of February.
You've got to appreciate the chutzpah of this announcement trailer. "Our ultimate promise is to reproduce, accurately at scale, the whole planet," claim Pixyul - a studio created by two former Ubisoft developers. And what is their ambition in service of? An online open-world survival RPG, naturally.
My own theory is that, once the team have scanned and modelled the entirety of the planet, they'll probably realise that everybody on it is either playing or making an online open-world survival RPG. It'll be very meta. Until then, watch as some inspirational music attempts to persuade you of the feasibility of some rather audacious plans.
The holidays were good to Next Car Game and its particular vision of motorized mayhem. After Bugbear Entertainment's Kickstarter to fund its latest racing game fell short of its goal in November, the developer asked for support through the project's website. Backers there have contributed more than $490,000, well clear of its original crowdfunding goal.
Indie shooter Natural Selection 2 will get a world championship. The FPS/RTS hybrid's community-led project has raised the full $30,000 it said it needs to bring 24 players to Cologne, Germany and stage an eSports event to determine a winning team. An ambitious goal, to be sure, but the money is now there to make it happen, according to the fan effort's official crowdfunding site.
It’s so tempting to get blasé about the folks at Star Citizen raking in another million dollars, as a new blog post announces that funding for the game has crossed the $26 million mark. “Oh?” I think, “another million? Yawn.” Then I realize that a space flight sim, a genre thought to be completely dead by traditional publishers, is whipping up cash at the pace of a million bucks a week with absolutely no sign of slowing down. Fantastic.
Another week, another million-dollar milestone for Star Citizen. With $25 million now raised, "galactic" seems too small a word to describe the scale of the in-development space sim's crowdfunding effort. Beyond the big number, developer Chris Roberts reports in announcing the funding goal that as many as 50,000 more testers could be added to the game's first alpha testing phase thanks to the massive recent fundraising success.
Square Enix has announced it's partnering with Indiegogo to create a new crowdfunding platform called called Collective, to help developers turn their pitches into games. According to Collective’s site, indie developers can pitch their ideas to the Square Enix community. If, after 28 days, the pitch earns enough votes from the community, Square Enix will evaluate the project and decide if it’s good enough for a page on Indiegogo.
As I climbed into the news cockpit this morning, I noticed the familiar flashing of the deep red alert siren. If anything, the warnings were becoming more frequent: a foreboding sign of the future. This time it had been silent for just nine days. Still, that's the life we chose; we knew the risks when we signed up for this job. We knew that periodically - nay, regularly - Star Citizen would make yet another million dollars.
Star Citizen continues to rake in the money, and at this rate Cloud Imperium Games will be able to fund its own real-life space program. We’ve previously made note of Star Citizen and developer Chris Roberts’ unstoppable crowdfunding effort; this time, the new $20 million milestone adds planet-based combat to the game. Now, in addition to combat on space stations and while boarding enemy ships, players will be able to fight for control on individual worlds.
In a world saturated by technology, The Long Dark wants to simulate "what-if?" moments of isolation, struggle, and survival, when our digital lives get stripped away. Hinterland Games, a brand new indie studio full of veteran developers is pitching the first-person game as a Kickstarter project, according to its official website.
Bugbear Entertainment have briefly popped their head out of the development garage to offer an update on their next car game, Next Car Game. That update, to paraphrase, is: "can we have some money, please?" As you'll see from their pitch, the former FlatOut devs have broken out the standard template, comprised of: 1) the announcement of a crowdfunding scheme, 2) the comparison to older games, and 3) the declaration that publishers are rubbish and smelly. Again, I'm paraphrasing. Check out their video to see those concepts more tactfully put, as well as some pleasing footage of crumpling cars.
We have some bad news for fans of cop-based adventure games (although it seems there may be fewer of you than was first hoped). You'll remember that the Precinct Kickstarter was shut down earlier this month, with the developers of the Police Quest spiritual successor attempting to raise the needed money via their own independent scheme instead. Well, now that new "staged" funding scheme has been cancelled as well, after raising around $12,000 of the $400,000 goal. No backer cash has been taken.
Early buy-ins, crowdfunding and early access have taken game development (and more importantly, game funding) into crazy new directions in the last few years. An extensive set of interviews at Gamasutra asks some of the biggest names in early access funding like Dean Hall (DayZ), Markus Persson (Minecraft) and Chris England (Xenonauts) about their experiences developing a game with thousands of early adopters looking on.
Will we discover the meaning of life within this eerie alien world? If the rather arresting concept art didn't strike you, what if I told you that you could solve puzzles by encasing yourself in a time-manipulation sphere so that you could evolve at turbo-speed and employ Future You's skills right now? Yeah—42 Light Years is looking to be pretty special indeed.
In an interview with Penny Arcade Report (via PCGamesN), Monaco designer Andy Schatz shared his thoughts on Kickstarter campaigns and the inclusion of stretch goals—promises made at tiers above the minimum funding goal—bluntly calling the latter "bulls***" and "the perfect way to make a game that's insufficiently complete or bloated."
It's become a cliché to compare every first-person puzzle game to Portal, but Deadlock sort of insists on it by spotlighting a floating AI cube which speaks in vocoded tones that very nearly replicate GLaDOS's disharmonious voice...except with a French accent. But hey, Portal's not a bad inspiration, and Deadlock's sci-fi platforming is promising. A team of French developers created the prototype as a 7 Day FPS Challenge project, and recently began seeking funding via Ulule to spin it into a fully-realized game.