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The Crowdfund Watch: September

We're taking a look at the most exciting ongoing crowdfunding efforts and looking back at last month's games.

  • Text: Bengt Lemne
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Quite a few big name campaigns got going in the last few days so here's our monthly round-up:

Mighty No. 9 (PC)
Comcept
Kickstarter page
Progress: $1,793,320 pledged of $900,000 goal (31,021 backers) 24 days remaining

One of the biggest reason for Keiji Inafune leaving Capcom was the decision by higher ups to pull the plug on his dream project - Mega Man Universe - even if the timeline for these events are somewhat unclear (did he leave Capcom before they pulled the plug?). Regardless Inafune set up his own shop with Comcept and worked on PS Vita standout Soul Sacrifice as well as doing design work on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. Now he's back to making a side scrolling action game with a character that borrows certain design elements from Mega Man. Naturally fans flock to support the development and a new Kickstarter success is born.

Outlook: Mighty No. 9 is already funded and will go on to become one of the more overfunded game projects on Kickstarter. But Comcept have openly stated that the $900,000 asked for would not be enough by itself to fund development and there are outside investors tied to the project. That's a good thing, cause Mighty No. 9 looks ambitious enough to require a major budget. The success of the project is interesting in many ways, perhaps most importantly in that it could pave the way for more high-profile Japanese creatives to go down the crowdfunding route. The next stretch goal ($2.2 million) will add console versions (PS3/Wii U/Xbox 360) and we can't help but think that there will be a next-gen stretch goal added at some point.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
WayForward Technologies
Kickstarter page
Progress: $173,979 pledged of $400,000 goal (4,569 backers) 27 days remaining

WayForward have built a following of loyal fans through the often retro scented offerings. Shantae is one of their original properties they kept working on while the bulk of their work has been work for hire on licensed properties (most recently Disney's DuckTales Remastered). The fourth game in the Shantae series is the most ambitious to date moving from its home on Nintendo handhelds to the bigger screens of consoles and PC. The belly-dancing and hair-whipping main character is a delight to see in action.

Outlook: The campaign is off to an encouraging start. While not quite at 50% yet there is every reason to think that it will reach its target with almost a full month remaining. Perhaps it won't reach many of the stretch goals (the first one let's you play as villain Risky Boots at $500,000), but that remains to be seen. Regardless it's nice to see a platformer do well in the early goings as many promising platformers have fallen well short of their targets.

Next Car Game (PC)
Bugbear Entertainment
Campaign page
Progress: 1500-2000 pre-order judging by the progress bar

When Finnish developer Bugbear Entertainment (Flatout, Ridge Racer: Unbounded) set about creating their next racing game they wanted to go down the self-publishing route, but sadly they were not able to get on Kickstarter and instead went about it with their own website. In that way it's not a traditional campaign, as there is no goal other than the promise that 10,000 pledges/pre-orders unlocks a playable alpha build. Bugbear have the pedigree and fans, but it's not like there's a lack of racing games out there so perhaps fans feel less inclined to back Next Car Game for that reason. Regardless it's one to keep an eye on.

Outlook: It's really hard to tell how well Bugbear is doing and what their goals were with the campaign. It's a long way to go to the 10,000 backers, but then again they don't need those in the first 30 days and Next Car Game is a different kind of proposition to begin with.

Awesomenauts: Starstorm (Linux, Mac, PC)
Ronimo Games
Kickstarter page
Progress: $198,405 pledged of $125,000 goal (4,259 backers) 11 days remaining

Starstorm is an interesting campaign as it's an expansion to an existing game (Awesomenauts). Therefore, Ronimo Games already had a loyal fanbase to pull from, and that has obviously paid off with the project quickly getting funded. Naturally the new package adds more characters and new features (spectator mode, twin stick controls), and depending on how many stretch goals are achieved there will be additional content.

Outlook: It's fully funded so now it's all about reaching stretch goals for the remainder of the campaign. The next one "New map & music" ($200,000) is always certain (especially given that PayPal also counts towards it) and "Custom games" ($270,000) should also be within reach.

Last month's Crowdfund Watch:

Shadow of the Eternals (PC, Wii U)
Precursor Games
Kickstarter page
Failed: $323,950 pledged of $750,000 goal

Second time was not a charm for Prescursor Games and thie spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. The negative publicity and weird changes (you're asking for less money for a significantly larger game) could have something to do with it, but perhaps it's simply a case of Precursor Games having reached all their core fans and failed at reaching new fans beyond that. It's one of those games that I think a lot of people want to see get made, and potentially a lot of people will play - it's just most of those don't want to put money down to make it happen. Hopefully Precursor can find other means to finance the project. In their final update the team noted: "It is unfortunate that we were unable to crowd-fund this project at this time, but we have not given up. We intend to pursue other avenues with the ultimate goal of having our games come to fruition."

Chroma Squad (Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, PC)
Behold Studios
Kickstarter page
Funded: $97,148 pledged of $55,000 goal

The Brazilian outfit Behold Studios were successful in their bid to finance the strange but charming Chroma Squad. A couple of stretch goals were achieved, but sadly not the Episode Editor which would let you take the creative side of running a sentai TV studio to new extremes. Perhaps if the game is successful on launch we could still see that at some point. One final message from the team on their campaign page: "Thank you very much to all the Backers! We're really glad that you believed in us, and we hope that our game will be as awesome as you deserve it!"

Precinct (Mac, PC)
Jim Walls
Kickstarter page
Cancelled: $85,756 pledged of $500,000 goal

Jim Walls pulled the plug on the Kickstarter campaign for the spiritual successor to Police Quest ten days ahead of the deadline as it was nowhere near the goal. The decision was made to do an openended funding model over at the official website, but there was little momentum there as well and the team is now evaluating how Precinct can become a reality.

Satellite Reign (Linux, Mac, PC)
5 Lives Studios
Kickstarter page
Funded: £461,333 pledged of £350,000 goal

5 Lives Studios headed by Syndicate Wars's Mike Diskett managed to achieve their target sum of £350,000, but they are still allowing for pledges/pre-orders via Paypal through their official website (and those count towards stretch goals). The game is being targeted for release in December 2014 and there is obviously a lot of work to do, but hopefully we'll get to play something that reminds us of Syndicate late next year.