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Free-to-play ARPG Akaneiro: Demon Hunters gets a Kickstarter, open beta to start this month

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Spicy Horse, the Shangai developer founded by American McGee (of Quake and Alice fame), says it's "out of time and money" to finish polishing its free-to-play ARPG, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. Money buys time, or is time, or something like that, so McGee is asking for $200,000 on Kickstarter to port the PC/Mac game to tablets, build in co-op multiplayer, add an equipment crafting system, hire dedicated community managers, and bulk up the game with other, smaller features before release.

Akaneiro isn't a from-scratch crowdfunding project: it's been in development since 2011, has been in closed beta since last November, and, according to the Kickstarter page, will enter open beta this month. It's also popular on Steam Greenlight .

According to McGee, the action RPG is inspired by Japanese art and folklore with a mix of Red Riding Hood-inspired mythology. Classic McGee. More surprising is the choice to put a free-to-play game into open beta with no co-op or PvP multiplayer. The F2P model seems to be largely driven by the longevity of competitive multiplayer games and the perceived value of in-game items in a multiplayer setting. Perhaps this Kickstarter is acknowledgment that these are necessary features for Akaneiro to succeed.

Or maybe not. Though co-op is a primary Kickstarter goal, the Blackblood PvP Arena is listed as a stretch goal. Can a single-player and co-op focused "ARPG that doesn't ever end" earn enough through microtransactions to sustain continuous development? Maybe. Can it raise $200,000 on Kickstarter ? As a proven developer with $11K so far and a month to go, it seems plausible.

Tyler Wilde
Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.