Kickstarter 10 Years Old

Kickstarter 10 Years Old

I may’ve missed the fact Kickstarter just had it’s 10th birthday entirely if not for Kim’s post over at Later Levels. It’s a service I’ve fallen away from over the years. I don’t tend to go actively looking for interesting projects like I once did. Kim says, “Although the quantity and quality of video game campaigns has declined recently” which I find interesting because while I agree with the sentiment — I wasn’t sure whether it was a reality or just a perception born of my inactivity on the site.

Certainly the media frenzy that once existed highlighting every other game to go on Kickstarter has died down. But is this a shift in interest, or as Kim says, an actual reduction in quality and quantity?

In any case, that’s not actually the focus of this post! Kim also went through quite a nice retrospective of the titles she has backed over the years and I’d like to shamelessly copy the idea and do the same. ;)

While I’ve also backed the odd thing on Fig or elsewhere over the years — I’ll keep this one Kickstarter-centric.

First Backed: Planetary Annihilation

Clearly I haven’t been using Kickstarter myself for 10 years, as my first backed project, Planetary Annihilation went up August 2012.

Unfortunately this is a serious contender for the ‘Most disappointing’ backed project as well. The original title has since been pulled from sale, and the ‘Standalone Expansion’ / ‘Oops, let me fix that’ release Planetary Annihilation: TITANS remains in its place.

It was a game of big ideas, coming in to save us from the relative disappointment of Supreme Commander 2 from a couple of years prior. Now we were talking whole planets. Asteroids you could strap rockets onto and use as WMDs.

The concepts were excellent. The execution considerably less so, although I will admit I’ve given almost no time to TITANS. It came out a year or two after the original and while given to free for owners of the original, it didn’t appear to be enough of an improvement to warrant a serious look-in.

Best Backed: RimWorld

Looking back over my 25 backed projects (including 3 unsuccessful projects), I realise I’ve been very lucky. There are a great many amazing titles in that list.

Had I not backed RimWorld I would be really, really hard pressed to make a decision. Fortunately, I did back RimWorld so the choice is easy. It launched onto Kickstarter October 2013 at a time when there had been a recent glut of Dwarf Fortress-alikes, but none that could really capture the essence of it.

I’d say it was less a genre and more a series of failed and abandoned experiments. I couldn’t tell you now, why in that context I would have backed RimWorld. I don’t recall what I saw in it that set it apart. Possibly I was still just holding on to some final shred of optimism? ;)

Whatever the reason might’ve been — RimWorld is an amazing experience. I don’t know how many hours I’ve given to this title in the alpha’s before Steam, but it would be… a lot.

If you’re remotely interested in the Colony Survival concept, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Worst Backed: Underworld Ascendant

Sigh.

I think the biggest issue here is one of expectations vs. reality. I don’t feel that they were unwarranted expectations, though. This is from some of the minds behind the original Ultima Underworld series (to which this is a spiritual successor), behind System Shock. Thief.

I would struggle to go all the way to saying Underworld Ascendant is bad, at least not if you can get around all the crash bugs. But it is aggressively mediocre in everything it does.

Still… At least it came out?

Least Likely to Ever Release: The Mandate

It was to be a SciFi RPG. In Spaaaaaaaaaaaace. There was a combat focus to it, you were to be able to upgrade and replace your ship like you might expect in a title of its sort. Space station building was to be in like the X series. There was also to be a heavy crew-focused element to it.

In some ways, I imagine the concept of the game to be similar to what Star Traders: Frontiers has given us, but in a 3D format. (As a side note, Star Traders is fantastic with a pretty impressive rate to updates.)

But uh… The last update was April 2017, talking to the reduction in team down to just a ‘core’. It was still set to continue, but the surveys at the time were very focused around concept simplification — to such a degree that the resemblance to the original concept was becoming minimal.

I no longer expect to see anything from this project, but if anything does come of it — it likely won’t be the original idea we bought into. And this should serve as a timely reminder to all that Kickstarter (and similar) is not a pre-order service.

Latest Backed: Ashes of Creation

I backed this one May 2017, and I remember clearly thinking I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. MMO projects in particular have burnt me in the past. But even so, I liked the ideas they seemed to be chasing.

Ideas around a dynamic world, impacted by players and where/how they chose to build up. They wanted to drive an economy where trade and transport were real considerations.

So far I’ve not seen anything particularly promising. They’ve worked on a battle royale I suppose as a test of the technology and classes.

It may one day come to something, but I’ve well and truly learnt my lesson where new MMOs are concerned. Wait and see, and seeing is believing. Just don’t get invested until that’s possible. ;)

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2 thoughts on “Kickstarter 10 Years Old”

  1. I’ve backed a few Kickstarters but I’d be hard-presed to remember the names of most of them. For me they are partly pre-orders but mostly what I’m paying for is the experience of being part of the Kickstarter process itself. I think of it primarily as a charitable donation – my “value for money” comes right up front, when I fill out the form and give my payment details. IN exactly the same way that I’d never follow up a charitable donation to see what the charity was doing with my money, I pretty much forget about the Kickstarter the moment I close the page after I’ve paid.

    Take Project:Gorgon, for example. I backed that even though at the time I could already play it (it had been in open access free alpha for years). SInce then it has gone into some form of Early Access and my Kickstarter payment gives me acess to that but I never even think of playing it. I don’t imagine I will ever play it seriously, even if it does launch. Ashes of Creation I backed and also backed for my wife, in case we want to play it together, but really all I was doing was buying beta access and quite honestly I don’t care if it ever launches. I feel I got my money’s worth back when I paid for the Kickstarter because that was exciting. The game, if and when it happens, will never be as much fun as the run-up to the Kickstarter succeeding was.

    • I think your attitude and views toward Kickstarting projects is likely the healthiest possible. Certainly part of the thrill is in the act itself and supporting something you see potential in to come to life.

      Personally I’m not entirely weighted down that end of the spectrum. I get some value from that element, but ultimately I would (generally) still expect to see that project come to life in a real way. Yet I understand this is by no means a certainty, and if I’m not comfortable with the sheer prospect of the potential being realised it probably isn’t one for me to back.

      You do however see a lot of people going a step further than that with a wailing and gnashing of teeth when projects fail to release or doesn’t come as expected. I think some degree of disappointment is to be expected and perfectly fine. And absolutely I do feel that the developers behind the projects have some obligation — ethically, at least — to disclose if a project has come to an end for whatever reason.

      But beyond that? C’est la vie!

      If you’re interested in seeing what you have backed over the years though (I certainly never would’ve remembered either, I had a number of surprises in there), you can take a look at: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/backings?ref=user_menu :)

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