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Kurufinwe 04-02-2012 10:51 AM

Kickstarter fatigue
A lifetime ago (or was it just two months?) Tim Schafer announced that he was going to make a new adventure game and that he would use Kickstarter to get donations to fund the project. It was tremendously successful, eventually raising over $3.3 million. Life was good . . .

And then everyone and their dog decided to jump on the bandwagon and use Kickstarter to fund their gaming project, asking for large amounts of money. So there's a Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective re-release, an upcoming new Tex Murphy game, a new Delaware St. John game, and today a Leisure Suit Larry 1 remake. And for those of us who enjoy RPGs, there's Wasteland 2, The Banner Saga, and more.

Two days from now, Jane Jensen will make a big announcement, which may or may not involve Kickstarter. I honestly hope it doesn't.

I pledged for Double Fine Adventure on the first day, and was tremendously excited about the whole thing, both the new game (and documentary), and the whole Kickstarter process, checking @TimJustRaised every hour. And I don't even particularly like Schafer's previous games. Now, just three weeks after the end of the DFA drive, I'm already fed up with the whole Kickstarter thing.

Why does everyone have to think that it's the best way to fund their game? More importantly, why do they all have to do it at the same time??? (I mean, 16 years after Al Lowe's last game, it's not like an extra six months would have been unbearable.) Even if you're made of money and can afford to pledge an important amount to many projects at the same time (I'm not and I can't), I don't think you can get excited about that many projects at the same time. The perspective of getting new adventure games, and having a say in what games we want rather than having to wait for a publisher to make a decision, should be a great thing. But at this point, all these old designers from the 90s crawling out of their graves and ganging up on me asking for "pleeeeeedges" is feeling more and more like a zombie invasion to me — and not the fun kind.

I'll probably end up pledging money to some of these projects, but it will be just as a pre-order, or out of a sense of duty to them (or to the genre). But I feel that having all these similar Kickstarters at the same time has taken all the fun and excitement out of it. And I think that fun and excitement is what made the DFA drive so successful. I know I personally would never have upped my pledge to $100 if it hadn't been for all the updates, the fun of watching that counter rise, and the joyful incredulity at seeing just how far we could go. I feel that, by all starting their Kickstarter drive at the same time, all these people, no matter how well-intentioned they are, are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

And that's a damn shame.

inm8#2 04-02-2012 11:02 AM

I feel you. I think it's great to have direct interaction between consumers and developers like Kickstarter facilitates. However, if the smaller or indie industry is going to shift towards a "pay before you see the final product" or even "pay before anything's done" model, some projects are inevitably going to disappoint and people might not be as liberal with their wallets.

jhetfield21 04-02-2012 11:11 AM

i was also one to think that using kickstarter is a brilliant move in some projects but seeing so many reach for it at the same time is kind of overwhelming.

on the other hand though it just goes to show that adventure game makers really struggle nowadays.maybe i'm wrong and they all wanted a more relaxed development time as opposed to past projects since the Double Fine adventure had such a success amassing 3.3mil.but in the end not having enough budget is probably true for most AG makers.

ozzie 04-02-2012 11:17 AM

Well, I only pledged for two projects so far (Double Fine Adventure and Leisure Suit Larry). And I'll definitely pledge for Tex Murphy. So I don't feel any fatigue yet. And I'm not sure I ever will. As soon as Kickstarter campaigns become more commonplace we'll learn to pledge more modestly and selectively, I think.

jhetfield21 04-02-2012 11:21 AM

not yet at least :P

millenia 04-02-2012 11:24 AM

I agree that this Kickstarter thing has been hyped out of the stratosphere but I can't really feel too bad about it - not yet at least.

I consider myself a realistic consumer and I am not expecting "the awesomest thing evah" from every project. I am just very happy that many interesting projects actually get a life this way. A good game is a good game, doesn't have to be brilliant.

Terabin 04-02-2012 11:34 AM

Who cares how many kickstarter projects are coming out. If the phenomenon is such that Jane Jensen can make a new game free from the constraints of a publisher than the movement is completely justified for this gamer. Just think about where we were two months ago. This movement is the best news for the making of and distributing adventure games than we've had in a long long time. Ignore the projects you don't care about, support the ones you do, and thank your lucky stars that your favorite adventure game auteurs have a new means to fund their creative ventures!!

Lucien21 04-02-2012 11:37 AM

I think it is great anything that gets adventure games noticed is a boon. It would be nice to say that it will raise the profile of these games and sooner rather than later publishers might see profit in them again.

However I doubt that any more than a couple of projects will get funded.

The Double Fine kickstarter was an anomoly. Schafer is a known personality in the gaming world, Double Fine has released more than one successful game in the last few years and Schafer is linked to some of the most widely known adventure games of all time. The kickstarter news grew legs and was reported in a lot of mainstream sources and got a lot of public support.

Most of those trying to surf it's coattails don't have the visibility or stature.

Jane Jensen, Maybe the Tex Murphy one and maybe Al Lowe might be able to do something. Others i'm not too sure about.

MoP 04-02-2012 12:16 PM

I have to agree with You. In theory this whole craze is fantastic, but it needs more 'coordination'. There's space for everyone, but not this close together.

Expendable cash goes by fast with all these Collectors Editions, and not being able to support "the next one", makes me feel like I'm missing out. Which I am. At least give people some time to enjoy one successful project, before jumping on the next one.

It's not that I don't like all these "blasts from the past", on the contrary, it's a fantastic thing. But they need to start spacing them out instead of competing with each other. Make a 'classic adventure dev round-table' and set up a schedule or something for Pete's sake.

zane 04-02-2012 12:18 PM


Originally Posted by Kurufinwe (Post 605823)
Why does everyone have to think that it's the best way to fund their game?

Because in many ways this is a revelation. These developers had pretty much no options to make big production titles that publishers thought werent fit for big consumption. Its also incredibly appealing for these developers because it gives them power to make decisions without publisher control, without having to tailor everything to modern expectations. The second doublefine raised a million in 24 hours i thought to myself "holy cow, everybody and their dog is going to try this" and lo and behold its happening. But rest assured there will be a happy medium. The projects that people really want to see will get funded, and the flood will subside. But crowdsourcing is now a viable option thats not about to go away.

Venkman 04-02-2012 12:31 PM

It's probably the correct move for developers to jump on the Kickstarter bandwagon ASAP. It's quite possible that donator fatigue will set in and that the fad will fizzle out. Get that money while it's still there. Now, it's also possible that this kind of fundraising for games will stick around permanently, but a smart developer should not take that chance.

diego 04-02-2012 01:17 PM

Actually, Cognition was "first". But that's life - there were pop quartets before Beatles, but it was with Beatles that the mania spread and rock bands started growing hairs, shake, twist and shout.

Someone has to be the "first" one, or remembered as such, which is Double Fine for Kickstarter. And it's kinda natural that others will try to use the momentum. But it's really more than the "Kickstarter" - as the rise of "indie" philosophy, it's the connection between fans and developers, something that wasn't imaginable before. Just like we've come a "long way" from calling Hint Lines when we're stuck to looking up the solution on internet in a matter of seconds, now we're able to communicate with developers, we can look on their Twitter and FB and see what they're up to... and we can actually fund the game in production.

There're good things, and there're bad things in all of this - i'm not overly enthusiastic to see what Tim Schafer is thinking while making the game, or how is he doing it, as i'm curious to actually see and play the finished game. It's just like those game surveys (i can't seem to find the great quote from these forums on the topic of how players should not over-influence the developers, but it was something along the lines of this thread) - because they reflect how the "boundary" between fans and developers is gone. But there's more to gain, really. We'll be just seeing more and more of the campaigns which might overshadow the true and quality efforts, but they will find the way this way or another if fans want it. There are already similar sites to Kickstarter, like this one with unofficial Day of the Tentacle sequel.

Banter 04-02-2012 01:20 PM

I don't see any fatigue at all. I see this as a new trend affecting the quality of future games in a very positive way. I think it is here to stay.

In the gaming market people vote with their wallets(as in every market), and there are a lot of people who have been holding stacks of money into their hands and being unable to vote at all. Wasteland is a great example. This game has been requested by its large fanbase for *decades*, and all this time stupid game companies have ignored it. Can you believe they have been proven completely wrong in such a short notice? They thought there was no market for it... people put together over a million bucks and gave it to the developers before the game even begun development!

The one thing I can see is that a lot of indie devs that have yet to make a name for themselves will get into the bandwagon and maybe fail to meet their ambitions. On the other hand, any game backed by a developer with a solid track record and a loyal fanbase will probably succeed(unless maybe if the goal is set too high).

I have no doubt, for instance, that the Tex Murphy kickstarter will suceed, as well as the Jane Jensen kickstarter(if there will indeed be one). Unless they actually require millions...

Gonzosports 04-02-2012 01:28 PM

I couldn't disagree more with the original post.

We found a way to get the type of games and the level of creativy we miss, funded again, because we found a way to bypass publishers.

I hope and pray this is the way of the future for so many art projects.

I honestly don't have words to express how much I love Kickstarter.

I've backed DFA, The Banner Saga, Wasteland 2, and now Leisure Suit Larry. I'm looking forward to Tex Murphy and hopefully, a Jane Jensen project, too.

I actually changed my personal financial spreadsheet to reflect backing Kickstarter projects as a regular expense. I believe in this as a way to get better games, to help people get their art funded, and as much a movement as anything else.

I love kickstarter.

Love it. I hope it's not a fad, but a new way of making art happen.

Oscar 04-02-2012 04:59 PM

I think you're all crazy. There's nothing bad whatsoever coming out of this Kickstarter 'craze' - and a whole lot of good that has been mentioned in the post above mine. Avoiding the need for publishers allows the developer to market ideas directly to players, and not to an executive board which thinks it knows what gamers want. That is a HUGE benefit!

If people are fed up with it, then it will die of its own accord. People are still giving money and that's all that matters. Games are about the fans and as long as the fans are giving money for this you can't say they don't want it.

I'm not so happy about projects like the LSL remake which I consider a minor misuse of what could have been used for something better, but maybe it will lead to that later on.

orient 04-02-2012 05:04 PM

I struggle to see the downside of Kickstarter. If you're worried about being let down by a project, don't pledge. If you're worried about spending too much money, don't pledge, or just pledge as much as you can afford.

The positives (actually getting these games made) far outweigh the negatives.

Personally I've given $30 to Doublefine and $15 to The Idle Thumbs Podcast so far and will put down some money for Tex, because I like the guys at Big Finish.

I'm not interested in Leisure Suit Larry, Sherlock Holmes...Wasteland 2 I'll wait for the final product.

talkshow 04-02-2012 05:12 PM

I'm only on board for Double Fine Adventure and another Tex Murphy!

Sorry Al Lowe! If it was a new Larry, then maybe.

TerminusEst 04-02-2012 05:39 PM

I'm with Kurufinwe on this one. Most of the people posting in this thread seem to forget that people have limited budgets. Some people might have gone all out on DFA and might not feel they can spend a lot of money on, say, Jane Jensen's future project (indeed, my money is on a Kickstarter fundraiser) or Al Lowe's remake. And that is problematic. You just can't have all these titles dipping for funding in the same finite (very slowly replenishing) pool of money

Incidentally, I think that the people at Big Finish Games might have made a big mistake postponing their campaign until May (or whenever). Every day there are new projects popping up on kickstarter and there are bound to be many more by the time Tex goes live there. The "monetary fatigue" might reach a peak right around then with the result being not a lot of money for Tex and fundraising failure. I hate to be a doomsayer and I truly hope I am wrong on this one!

(I also wish I weren't on a tight budget but I can contribute to at most one project. That is likely to be Tex, unless JJ unveils something monumental. I'm just another example of monetary crowding out, incidentally.)

thejobloshow 04-02-2012 05:40 PM

I've only funded three Kickstarters so far - Leisure Suit Larry, Wasteland 2 and the Double Fine Adventure but I'm interested in about five of the projects.

You don't have to fund every Kickstarter you're interested in - that's the great thing about crowdsourcing. If a project looks like it's going to be successful, you can just hold off and wait for the game to go to retail.

I have no problems with Kickstarter, it's resurrecting the games i love.

Lady Kestrel 04-02-2012 05:40 PM

I don't really see a downside to Kickstarter. So far I've only pledged for the Delaware St. John game because they want to make a Mac version along with Windows. It's really up to the individual to decide which developers to support, but it's also good to see all those potential adventure games.

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