The top ten games made possible by Kickstarter

first_imgEver since Double Fine announced their Kickstarter campaign, then met their goal in eight hours, then blew past their goal by almost $3 million, the fundraising site has been one of the biggest movements in gaming.Double Fine’s project certainly wasn’t the first game to show up on Kickstarter, but its wild success inspired a string of developers to seek funding directly from their audience. In a time when production costs have never been so high, Kickstarter lets developers work without fear of a financial bomb, while also letting die-hard fans be a part of the games they love.Looking at the top ten most funded Kickstarter games, you see lots of risks being taken, like old franchises being pulled out of retirement and young studios trying to make their first titles — and all of it is being made possible by backing from fans. Here’s a quick look at those top ten in reverse order, and what made each intriguing enough to meet its goal.Republique – $555,622 of $500,000 goalNote: Since this writing, Tex Murphy: Project Fedora has jumped to the #8 spot, pushing Republique out of the top ten.Half a million dollars may sound like a lot to develop a mobile game (and that’s only half the budget), but developer Camoflaj has big goals for their debut project: AAA quality, cutting edge graphics, real-time cinematics, and full voiceovers. Republique takes place in a 1984-style totalitarian state, where a trapped young woman named Hope makes a desperate phone call for help. Players must keep Hope alive (see what they did there?) by hacking into the nation’s surveillance system to scout her surroundings, slam doors on her pursuers, and call elevators so she can get around. The narrative setup should create some really gripping puzzles that combine communicating with Hope and manipulating her environment.Yogventures! – $567,665 of $250,000 goalAs you might guess from the name, Yogventures! is a project from the people behind the Yogscast YouTube channel. The team has spent a fair amount of time making videos in Minecraft, so it’s no surprise that their game is grounded in the idea of a vast, randomly generated, and highly shapeable world.So while you can expect to see the familiar Yogscast characters built in to Yogventures!, almost everything about the experience will be changeable and moddable. Yogscast and their partner Winterkewl Games are aiming to go beyond Minecraft’s blocky charm to a smoother, more stylized aesthetic, but without sacrificing all the exploring, building, and crafting of an open adventure world.Carmageddon: Reincarnation – $625,143 of $400,000 goalIn 1997, developer Stainless Games released the original Carmageddon, a violent vehicular combat game for the PC. The title was a financial success, and had a number of groundbreaking features, but when Stainless parted ways with their publisher they lost the rights to it. Since then the company has been focusing on creating downloadable titles like Risk: Factions and Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers, but recently they reacquired the rights to Carmageddon and are eager to bring it back.Carmageddon: Reincarnation is already under development, and it’s a complete reboot of everything players loved about the original — just with 15 years worth of graphics and physics engine improvements.Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded – $655,182 of $500,000 goalContinuing the “modern remake of a once-popular but long-abandoned game series” trend, developer Replay Games is rebooting the sexually-themed Leisure Suit Larry franchise, backed by creator Al Lowe and a number of the original developers.No longer constrained by the whims of a publisher, Replay is hoping to remake the original game with not only updated 2D graphics, but also more jokes, more puzzles, and animated cutscenes. The game’s classic point-and-click stylings should be a natural fit for the mobile platforms it’s planned for.The Banner Saga – $723,886 of $100,000 goalThe Banner Saga’s most obvious virtue is its gorgeous hand-drawn aesthetic and motion-captured animations, but it’s got a lot going for it beyond the visuals. The studio behind the game was founded by three former Star Wars: The Old Republic developers, who aspire (as you might expect from that pedigree) to tell a deep, mature story full of meaningful decisions and consequences. It also doesn’t hurt that the game’s score is being composed by Austin Wintory, who’s gotten a lot of praise for his work on the PSN-exclusive Journey.Zombicide – $781,597 of $20,000 goalThe Left4Dead games proved that zombies bring people together, even when tearing them apart. Zombicide takes that idea and drops it onto the tabletop, where 1-6 players control a group of survivors working together in urban environments. But unlike the Left4Dead games, Zombicide isn’t just about pushing forward and occasionally holding your ground; sometimes players will need to go on the offensive and take the fight to the undead, giving the gameplay a natural ebb and flow.The game’s comic book visual style is rounded out by some very detailed miniatures, which include multiple variations for even basic zombie types — a nice touch.Ogre – $923,680 of $20,000 goalIf you play board/card games on a regular basis, you’re probably familiar with Steve Jackson games, or at least their popular Munchkin series. So why does such a successful developer need a Kickstarter campaign? The company is looking to honor Steve’s first design, the futuristic war game Ogre, with a massive 14-pound “Designer’s Edition.”Since the new release will be expensive to produce, the company used the Kickstarter as a way to gauge interest and sell pre-orders, something they normally don’t do. Thanks to getting enough donations to meet their stretch goals, Steve Jackson Games announced that they’ll be able to double the originally planned play area.Shadowrun Returns – $1,836,447 of $400,000 goalThe cyberpunk/fantasy world of Shadowrun has appeared on a wide variety of platforms over the years, but it started life as a pen-and-paper RPG designed by Jordan Weisman in 1989. Now Weisman and his new company, Harebrained Schemes, are planning to bring the franchise back once more, this time to PCs, Macs, and tablets.Despite the modern platforms, Harebrained wants the game to do right by the original version and its fans. The turn-based gameplay will allow players to get the most out of the four character types (Street Samurai, Combat Mages, Hackers/Deckers, and Shaman), each of which have a different view of the world’s magical/technological overlappings. The developers also plan to release their level editor when the game launches, ensuring that Shadowrun Returns is a place where anyone can tell a story.Wasteland 2 – $2,933,252 of $900,000 goalBefore there was Fallout, there was Wasteland, the 1998 post-apocalyptic RPG that inspired it. But unlike Bethesda’s recent first-person takes on Fallout, inXile entertainment wants to revisit Wasteland while holding to the game’s top-down, turn-based, party-based tactical roots.Old hands from the original game and the first two Fallout titles are on board to make sure Wasteland 2 is a faithful exercise: Brian Fargo, executive producer of both Wasteland and Fallout; Alan Pavlish and Mike Stackpole, Wasteland’s primary designers; and Mark Morgan, who composed the music for Fallout 1 and 2.Double Fine Adventure – $3,336,371 of $400,000 goalComing full circle, the project that really got the ball rolling on using Kickstarter to fund game development remains at the top of the list with $3.3 million. Since the working title Double Fine Adventure is fairly nondescript, we know less about this game than any of the other top ten. But to fans of classic point-and-click adventure games, the only two development details that matter are Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer — two LucasArts veterans who know the genre as well as anyone in the business.Whatever Double Fine Adventure turns out to be, expect it to be something special, but ultimately its legacy will be sparking a trend that gave many other games a chance at success.last_img