The best of crowdfunding – what's interesting on Kickstarter these days

FeatureMay 18, 2017 at 6:00a PSTby ElMundo

The best of crowdfunding – what's interesting on Kickstarter these days

The glory days of crowdfunding are a thing of the past – which doesn’t mean that nobody’s willing to help fund ambitious undertakings anymore. Here’s a selection of the most interesting crowdfunding projects of the last several months.

Although video game croudfunding initiatives have been getting some flak lately, websites such as Kickstarter or Fig.co still happen to feature some intriguing projects that deserve our undivided attention. Here’s a top 10 of the most interesting recently crowdfunded video games that may hit it big.

The Banner Saga 3 – the grand finale of the Nordic saga

The Banner Saga 3 – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $200,000
  2. Pledged: ~$417,000
  3. Backers: ~8,000 people

It’s clearly one of the most unique and charming video game series to have appeared lately on console, PC, and mobile – The Banner Saga invites us to a wonderfully crafted world based on Nordic mythology, offering intriguing gameplay that combines strategy and RPG elements. While the combination itself is not that original, the devs from Stoic have proven that with an interesting basic idea, success is just a matter of adding some good original elements – interesting characters, intriguing plot, and gorgeous visuals.

And when it seemed like the third installment may never be released, the Kickstarter users who wished to see a worthy ending to the extraordinary trilogy have once again saved the day by pledging above and beyond the initial funding goal. According to the developers, the gameplay premise will remain unchanged – the story, however, will explore darker themes, and our decisions will be essential to plot development. Our characters will decide who will live and who will have to pay the ultimate price for a chance to reach the goal. For now, all we can do is wait and hope that the creators will be up to the challenge, delivering a memorable title – a great third installment to crown this enjoyable series.

The Banner Saga 3 may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. it’s the final installment of a great trilogy;
  2. the devs promise a darker story, influenced by the player’s choices;
  3. the idea already worked twice – no reason why it shouldn’t happen for the third time.

Ashes of Creation – a beautiful MMORPG

Ashes of Creation – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $750,000
  2. Pledged: ~$2,030,000 so far (15 days to go)
  3. Backers: ~11,300 people so far

The MMORPG genre may seem to have lost much of its popularity lately, but the stunning success of Ashes of Creation proves that there’s still a large number of people ready to plunge into elaborate fantasy worlds, fighting and socializing with other players. A talking example is the fact that the game’s significant initial funding goal ($750,000) was reached a brief dozen or so hours after the Kickstarter campaing was launched. And if we explore a bit further, we’ll quickly understand why this project is bound to be a huge hit.

Intrepid is the studio responsible for the development of Ashes of Creation. The name may sound unfamiliar to all of you, but the team consists of former Sony Online Entertainment workers – those people certainly know a thing or two about developing online RPGs. The creators are promising an abundance of options when it comes to world creation – this includes building cities and individual structures, but also things like dynamic seasons. The thing that has undoubtedly drawn in many backers is the fact that in case the project gets canceled, all the money will be returned to the people who had pledged. And while it may seem like the obvious, fair thing to do, we all know there have been numerous exceptions.

Ashes of Creation may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. the title rests in the hands of an experienced team;
  2. having the ability to co-create the game world sounds awesome;
  3. the gamers risk nothing – even if the campaing fails, they will get their money back.

Phoenix Point – the father of X-COM returns to its roots

Phoenix Point – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $500,000
  2. Pledged: ~$603,000 (23 days left)
  3. Backers: ~8,200 people

Julian Gollop is not only a one-man band and a legend of the gaming industry – he’s also the man who knows the best ways to spend the money received from backers. In 2014, he launched a crowdfunding campaing for the strategy game Chaos Reborn, completed successfully and leading to the game’s release in late 2015. A year and a few months later, Gollop and Snapshot Games, the studio he founded himself, ask for community’s support once again to help him fund his new title. And once again things are proceeding smoothly.

According to the schedule, Phoenix Point will launch in late 2018 – once it does, we will be dealing with a game taking a lot after the original X-COM and its modern iterations alike. The game will be a turn-based strategy set in a science fiction setting, in which the player will command a combat unit fighting for survival and development of one of the last footholds humanity has left in a world ravaged by a deadly virus. What’s interesting, the team at Snapshot Games emphasizes mainly the political and economic aspects (which are to be very extensive); for example, the player will be tasked with maintaining diplomatic relations with other groups of survivors. To make a long story short – this game looks more than just promising, and Julian Gollop is known for delivering.

Phoenix Point may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. Julian Gollop isn’t known for making bad games;
  2. the tagline „the spiritual successor to X-COM” sounds awesome;
  3. it looks like a deep, complicated title – let’s hope it will be so!

Sunless Skies – a one of a kind space-sim

Sunless Skies – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $100,000
  2. Pledged: ~$380,000
  3. Backers: ~12,000 people

The success of Sunless Sea – a unique steampunk roguelike strategy game – has encouraged the developers to once again turn to crowdfunding, this time presenting a continuation to the aforementioned title. The campaing was surprisingly successful – Failbetter Games has managed to secure a significant reserve of funds, and the production of Sunless Skies has picked up steam.

This time, instead of the vast ocean, the developers plan to set their game in an entirely different environment – in space, where Queen Victoria plans to move her entire empire. We, in turn, will be playing as a member of a resistance movement, doing whatever we can to prevent the moving from happening. To this end, we will be traveling across the universe, visiting subsequent worlds and dealing approprietly with enemies and potential allies to our cause. Until we die, that is – when we do, the game will begin anew, allowing us to retain our experience, which in turn will enable us to prove that the universe is too small for the two of us. And by “us” I mean the player and Queen Victoria, of course.

Sunless Skies may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. Sunless Sea promised and delivered;
  2. the premise is pretty certain to be successful for the second time;
  3. it has tons of original humor, which sets the project apart from other „rogues”.

Islands of Nyne – a competitor for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

Islands of Nyne – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $40,000
  2. Pledged: ~$50,700
  3. Backers: 1,000 people

Lately, Steam has witnessed an invasion of titles that rely on the very popular survival mechanics as part of the gameplay. It’s no wonder, though; the devs are simply trying to ride a good wave. Also the creators of Islands of Nyne have decided to jump on the bandwagon, focusing their latest game on survival apects. The game is based on a Battle Royale mode, in which a hundred players enter the game at the same time, but only one of them can become the winner.

So, what’s so special about Islands of Nyne? First, it’s got as many as three large, varied maps and a very reasonable crafting-based gameplay. It also features a certain very interesting system that will enable the players to bet their in-game money on the potential winners in each round. What’s important, the devs also plan the game to allow co-op gameplay in teams of up to five players, which appears like an interesting proposition for all fans of digital survival games. For the time being, the game remains in the works, and we can only hope that the team at Define Human will deliver a good piece of code.

Islands of Nyne may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. survival remains a very popular theme;
  2. Battle Royale mechanics guarantee a ton of excitement;
  3. it’s got three large maps, setting itself apart from other similar games.

Shardbound – CCG/RTS built on the ruins of Dawngate

Shardbound – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $50,000
  2. Pledged: ~$151,000
  3. Backers: ~3,700 people

Dawngate was supposed to become a foothold in the MOBA genre for Electronic Arts – it didn’t, as the company cancelled the project for not being up to their expectations. Now, Spiritwalk Games, a studio comprised of former Waystone Games employees – the team responsible for the aforementioned title – takes another shot at creating their own video game, only of a different genre. This time, we’ll be getting not a MOBA title, but a classic turn-based game enhanced with card game elements.

What’s important though, the developers are hoping their game will become popular among the fans of competing online – for that end, Spiritwalk Games has established a close cooperation with Twitch, allowing for organizing matches with popular streamers or taking active part in streamed duels. And while Shardbound is a classic turn-based strategy that employs a hexagonal grid, the key to tha game’s success may lay in the collaboration with Twitch, given the latest market trends. But success will be possible only after the game proves itself to be reliable and of sufficient quality, which we sure hope it does.

Shardbound may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. a classic turn-based game focused on multiplayer is an interesting idea;
  2. integration with Twitch is a good call;
  3. card game elements are bound to add much fun.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – a sequel to a great RPG

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $1,100,000
  2. Pledged: ~$4,400,000
  3. Backers: 33,500 people

Pillars of Eternity turned out to be a striking success, a surprisingly big striking succes at that – nearly $4,000,000 gathered during the Kickstarter campaign certainly didn’t go to waste, and the team at Obsidian Entertainment delivered a wonderful classic RPG inspired by the best of the genre. No wonder, then, that this very experienced team has decided to keep the ball rolling, and once again asked for the support of fan community. The community, in turn, has responded with an even greater amount of pledged money, allowing the sequel to become a fact.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire will also be an isometric RPG, this time sending us to the vast Deadfire archipelago, where we can travel by land and by sea, visiting the realm’s numerous isles. The devs promise numerous colorful NPCs – some of which had appeared in the first installment and some completely new characters. The game will also feature a dynamic weather system, and the players who have completed the first part will be able to import their saved games, as some story developments in Deadfire will depend on what happened in the past. All in all, the game is shaping up to be a real treat. Let’s just hope that Obsidian will once again keep up with the fans’ expectations.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. the first part was a succes, so the second one simply has to be, too;
  2. Obsidian’s a respectable brand;
  3. players love vast, isometric RPGs.

Starfighter Inc. – online successor to X-Wing

Starfighter Inc. – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $150,000
  2. Pledged: ~$170,000
  3. Backers: ~3,000 people

You can never have too much space sims. You want examples? Look at the stunning success of Star Citizen, a game that – despite being still in the works – has already gathered an impressive sum of $150,000,000. Starfighter Inc. is obviously a much smaller project, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad game. The title appears to be a very interesting mix of dynamic, quick-paced action and a polished, semi-simulation gameplay. While the game itself is to be based on multiplayer 3-on-3 duels, the devs also take additional care of such aspects as e.g. space combat physics, employing specialists to help them create a convincing flight and combat model.

What’s interesting, despite a rather linear structure, the devs have also decided to include a dynamic storyline, developed by various comic books, but also partially through players’ achievements. Here’s a good case why the game is co promising: among the people involved in the development of Starfighter Inc. are David Wessman, one of the designers of the cult-classic X-Wing: Alliance, and Jack Mamais, previously involved in such titles as Crysis or the MechWarrior series. I suppose you can’t go wrong with such people.

Starfighter Inc. may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. space-sims remain a popular theme;
  2. it looks like a really good arcade sim;
  3. it’s being made by the creators of X-Wing and Crysis.

All Walls Must Fall – unlimited cold war tactics

All Walls Must Fall – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $15,000
  2. Pledged: ~$36,500
  3. Backers: ~1,400 people

We’re used to Kickstarter being the domain of former employees of defunct developer studios, doubling as experienced creators and distinguished figures of the industry. This case is no different – All Walls Must Fall is the idea from a trio of developers previously employed at Yager Development, who left the team after Dead Island 2 was cancelled. Today – as inbetweengames – they are working on an intriguing tech-noir title.

The creators have decided to set their game in an interesting alternative reality – the game will be set in the year 2089, when the Cold War is still on and nothing even suggests the Iron Curtain will ever be raised. The dreadful finale of this endless conflict is the nuclear apocalypse, and the player has only a single night to prevent it from happening. This terribly promising spy game, inspired by such classics as, for example, Syndicate, will enable us to use cutting-edge technology, but also take advantage of the crowd that observes our actions or the very promising module that allows us to turn back time, which will certainly leave a mark on the things we can do and the ways we can do them.

All Walls Must Fall may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. the game’s got an increadibly unique atmosphere;
  2. it stirs the imagination with its references to Syndicate;
  3. it offers tech-noir AND time travel in one package!

Beautiful Desolation – what a gorgeous post-apocalypse!

Beautiful Desolation – the essential numbers:
  1. Initial goal: $120,000
  2. Pledged: ~$138,000
  3. Backers: ~4,500 people

The developers of the warmly received Stasis have once again decided to take their business to Kickstarter, and once again they have gathered enough attention from post-apocalypse fans to fund their new project. Beautiful Desolation is a very ambitious title, aiming to deliver a classic adventure game set in Africa engulfed by a worldwide conflict. The player will control two curious characters – doctor Mark Leslie and a scientific device known as Pooch.

This unique duo alone promises a very interesting title. The developers have employed photogrammetry to make the locations resemble numerous real-life buildings and locations. As befits a good adventure game, the story will have us meet a throng of NPCs, who will have a singficant impact on the development of the plot. This sure looks like a treat for the fans of ambitious, intriguing adventure games.

Beautiful Desolation may turn out to be a hit because:

  1. post-apocalyptic Africa sounds intriguing;
  2. Stasis has proven that The Brotherhood Games knows how to make games;
  3. the main characters seem like an interesting bunch.