Monday, July 30, 2012

Kickstarter Adventures 07/30/2012

Once in a while, roughly once a month so far, I'm taking a look at what's going on at Kickstarter in the realm of adventure games.  This genre, long thought commercially dead, seems to be getting a new lease on life, thanks to fans willing to commit money up front, even with no guarantee of an eventual release.

One item I had missed was that the recent Wadjet Eye Games release, Resonance, some five years in the making, sought some Kickstarter funding of its own back in 2009.  At the time it was a seriously independent project, and requested a mere $150 in funding to cover incidental "real" costs like contest entry fees, ultimately receiving over $2000 from enthusiastic supporters for an original plan that did not include voice acting and was shooting for a possible 2010 release.  I wonder if everyone who pledged finally got their promised free copy via Wadjet Eye this year?  I'm pretty sure Dave Gilbert's indie adventure company made good on creator Vince Twelve's original promise, but haven't been able to confirm it -- but the game has been very well received, so I think this one can be chalked up in the "victory" column even if the bulk of its funding didn't come from Kickstarter.

I'm slightly disappointed but also kind of reassured that a couple of projects didn't get funded; some discretion on the part of Kickstarter supporters helps ensure that more of the funded projects will succeed and that a "gold rush" mentality won't destroy the long-term viability of this approach.  HeXit, a Hungarian adventure project with an interesting Heavy Metal-esque art style, didn't make its funding goal, reaching only about 1/3 of what it needed.  But the team promises to work on development anyway, on a longer, self-funded schedule.  The Sam Suede in Undercover Exposure project, somewhat controversial due to Al Lowe's former-but-not-current involvement, failed to reach its goal -- and its listing has apparently been pulled from Kickstarter (in a fit of developer pique?) so there's no way to see where it ended up, though it's still advertised as a coming project at Wisecrack Games' website.

There were also some recent successes.  Both Quest for Infamy and Reincarnation: The Root of All Evil are funded, and both seem deserving of their modest budget goals.  Currently, Jack Houston and the Necronauts is at around 87% of its goal, with 10 days to go; I hope this one makes it, it's an ambitious and non-spoofy sci-fi adventure with a retro pulp art style that I'd really like to play someday. 

We've seen no substantial news on the major Kickstarter-funded projects from Double Fine, the Two Guys from Andromeda, or Jane Jensen just yet; it's not surprising, all of these are early in the process and won't have anything polished to show off for a while.  But with most of the major players and established talents seemingly working on something, it's good to see a few new small-scale projects in the ring.  Detective Grimoire is a stylishly animated cartoon detective story -- it has exploration elements, but seems to be more of a puzzle-solving game than a traditional point-and-click adventure, and it looks like it will reach its funding goal.  Something called OURFIRG is not faring so well -- it's clearly inspired by LOOM, but its presentation to date doesn't inspire much confidence; the artwork is limited, and the environments seem bare and generically textured.  Judging from the trailers, the game involves more running around than actual adventuring.

We'll continue to catch up with these projects once in a while here.

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