The crowdfunding weekly is back and it brings with it the year’s first big name Kickstarter. This week: Playdek seek big bucks for Unsung Story, Yasumi Matsuno’s return to the tactical RPG. It’s also a big week for cute – Project Rain World introduces us to the slugcat (we want one). Meanwhile, Sierra Ops and Sunrider prove that space is still full of mecha, lone battleships facing down entire armies and anime girls. This week on Gaming Crowdfunding Weekly, you will see the tears of time.
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Previously featured campaigns
As the roundup has been away for the last month, let’s start by concluding our coverage of last year’s campaigns:
- Successful projects included Starwhal, Operation Squiddershins and Mansion Lord. A special mention for first person puzzler Reset, which had a heroic last minute push (partly due to an enthusiastic write up on RPS – often a silver-bullet for kickstarter campaigns)
- There was no such luck for Super World Karts, Honored and Hey, Shu! Honored recieved all funds and development on Hey, Shu! will continue, but at a slower pace
- Two of last year’s campaigns are actually still ticking: there’s over a week for New Orbit to find more than half of its goal, while Below Kryll has 18 days left, but 90% of its goal still to earn
Deadline: 15 February 2014
Outlook: Earned around a third of its goal in a single day – whether it reaches its important stretch goals is another matter
The biggest gaming Kickstarters tend to give us well established names promising to return to making the kind of games that made them famous in the first place. This time, our Keiji Inafune is none other than Yasumi Matsuno, director and often scenario writer of a string of genre defining hits – Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. These games share a common tone and ingenuity that can be attributed to Matsuno – and they’re something that we’ve not seen so much of in the last decade, due to the developer’s health problems and a move away from IP holder Square-Enix.
There’s thousands of words on the Kickstarter page, but it all essentially boils down to the fact that Playdek – up to now primarily a maker of card and board game conversions for iOS – wants to create a lore-dense tactical RPG in the style of Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics. Funding will help bring the game to PC and Windows Phone – an Android and iOS version is coming regardless.
The stretch goals for this one are a real point of interest. Playdek are asking for 150% of their goal to add Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder – two translators who’ve collaborated with Matsuno previously – and they’re an important part of the puzzle of how to make the game feel true to its designer. But arguably more crucial, is the addition of Hitoshi Sakimoto to the project at $1.3 million. Sakimoto’s compositions have been in basically everything Matsuno has ever done, so this barely seems like an optional goal.
Deadline: 14 February 2014
Outlook: Time to start thinking up stretch goals
I have no idea what a slugcat is, but I want one. Actually, I could get one if I had $200 to spare, given that the developer has smartly made plushies a pledge tier. Nevertheless, part of the reason this little critter is so appealing is how fluidly he’s animated. The mix of sneaking, climbing and jumping in the trailers and animated gifs makes Project Rain World look like a little more than your typical stylish post-apocalyptic pixel-art platformer, if that’s something you’ve become jaded towards.
Deadline: 23 February 2014
Outlook: A slow start, but receives all funds raised
Sierra Ops is a space battle action RPG and an expanded remake of a small indie title called Operation SD: Space Defense. As the Captain of the Sierra, you’re tasked with developing your fleet with various upgrades, reacting to enemy movements on the overworld screen and ultimately, engaging in side-scrolling, real-time battles with enemy fleets.
All this is interspersed with some light visual novel-style elements, contributing to a branching storyline with romance options among your crew. While the set-up of ‘space colonists rebel against oppressive Earth rule but go too far’ is at least 35 years too old for any semblance of originality when you dress it up in its anime trappings, the branching storyline could still make for an interesting playground.
Deadline: 21 December 2013
Outlook: Raised over $44,039 – reaching all available stretch goals except “Romancable [sic] Space Whales”
With remarkably similar inspirations to Sierra Ops, and a different balance of many of the same elements, Sunrider managed to find an eyecatching 1468% of its funding goal.
Once again, you are the commander of a lone ship fighting against a new order of subjugated colonists who’ve gone too far. The main difference here is that there’s a far greater emphasis on the visual novel elements – with a huge section of the pitch page devoted to the background of your crew of ‘companions’, and only a few mentions of the tactical RPG system that powers your more typical duties as commander (though, the stretch goals rebalanced this somewhat).
The biggest twist in this tale is that this $44,000 project is going to be, (and was always going to be), entirely free. As in ‘freeware’ free, as opposed to ‘free to play but please buy the rest of it’ free. Visual novels may be something of a niche, but the team at Love in Space sure know how to appeal to that niche.