Playdek’s Kickstarter for their Final Fantasy Tactics-inspired Unsung Story is in for an exciting sprint to the finish: they need to pull down more than $30,000 per day over the final 96 hours to hit their $600,000 funding goal. This was a campaign that had stretch goals as lofty as $2.4 million, which seems massively optimistic in hindsight.
As part of their last push, the Agricola makers have been releasing updates that attempt to address some of the criticisms lodged with the strategy RPG campaign so far — lots of new gameplay details have been revealed in the past few days, including a triangular map tile system that offers more tactical nuance than squares or hexes. Yesterday’s update comes straight from the pen of Final Fantasy Tactics designer Yasumi Matsuno. We’ll see if these are sufficient to rally the cavalry charge Unsung Story needs.
Where did Playdek go wrong? Maybe the audience for Final Fantasy Tactics nostalgia isn’t all that big, but I don’t buy that. If I’m going to play Monday morning quarterback, I’d guess that Playdek didn’t do a good enough job drawing a bright line between Final Fantasy Tactics and this project. The fact that Unsung Story is a direct line descendent of FFT is an amazing unique selling point and it gets glossed over in a pitch video with a lot of talking heads and very little game on show. The words “Final Fantasy Tactics” don’t even appear in the text of the pitch until you’re about 7/8 of the way down the page. They should have been shouting that name until their lawyers started to get nervous and then shouted it a little more. Look at how frequently the Mighty No. 9 campaign references Mega Man (in both text and visuals) by comparison.
Unsung Story is a big departure from the games that Playdek made their name with, but I genuinely expect it to be a great game. Playdek’s passion for the project is evident. They’ve said that the game’s development will go forward, crowd funding or no, but I hope this pitch makes it.
Unsung Story’s pitch video and more recent Kickstarters after the jump.
The Kickstarter to help finish the development of nuclear research-’em-up board game The Manhattan Project went live yesterday afternoon. We first caught wind of this iPad game a couple of weeks ago, and the developers have expanded their horizons to include Android since then.
Minion Games are running the textbook successful Kickstarter here: well-known property with existing fan base, a fully functioning prototype, and pitch full of screenshots and gameplay video. If I ever become a Kickstarter consultant (please punch me in the face if I do TIA) then I’ll just use this pitch as my primary case study.
The Minion Games chaps are after a very achievable $30,000, and they’ve already raised $5k of that. Their pitch video and more after the jump.
The only new Kickstarter project knocking around these days (at least, that we’ll be interested in) is Lords of Discord, which launched last week. Lords of Discord (would have been a great name for a band) is a fantasy turn-based tactical game drawing a clear line of inspiration from the classic Heroes of Might and Magic games.
That all sounds pretty good to me — here’s the rub, though. This one’s coming from Herocraft, whose oeuvre ranges in quality from Majesty: Northern Expansion (not bad!) to Strategy & Tactics: WWII (augh kill it with fire). That said, the greatest sin of the latter game was the careless implementation of its freemium system, and Herocraft have disavowed free-to-play schemes in this new pitch: “[W]e really don’t want to use the now ubiquitous freemium model, just pay once and get the whole game, no need for further in-app purchases, just pure up-front fun.” I can get behind that.
The game is due out next June for iOS with Android and desktop editions to follow if all goes to plan. Herocraft are looking for £60,000 and they’ve got 20 days left on their pitch.
I’ve got a couple of new Kickstarters to show you but let’s focus this week’s Crowdfunder on checking in pitches we’ve talked about in previous weeks. Some of these stories have happy endings! Many do not, however. I hope you’ve learned by now not to get too attached to these Kickstarters. I know some of you have been giving them names and feeding them from the table. Don’t do that! It only ends in heartbreak.
After the jump, we’ll take a first look at Comic ConQuest (wait, don’t leave — it looks cool, I swear) and we’ll check in on the fortunes of Golem Arcana, Death Road to Canada, Neverending Nightmares, and Timothy Zahn’s Parallax.
I think you’re supposed to drop them into molten metal, not keep them around for trophies.
Kickstarter is back in a big, big way right now. A host of Kickstarter pitches landed in my inbox this week, and while I ran the vast majority of them through the woodchipper (I’m using them to insulate my loft) I’ve retained a select handful for your amusement. There’s an interesting hook to all of these, and a couple of them I plan to chip into myself.
After the jump: turn-based tactical game Legions of Steel, the delightful aquatic city-builder Underwater Metropolis, iPad RTS MEG:RVO, and a sci-fi 4X game designed by Timothy Zahn. If you’re asking yourself, “Does Owen mean that Timothy Zahn?”, then the answer is yes. Continue reading…
Harebrained Schemes, the makers of Shadowrun Returns, have announced a truly ambitious Kickstarter — a big, holy-crap-maybe-they’re-crazy Kickstarter that embodies what that platform is all about.
Golem Arcana is billed as “a digitally enhanced miniatures game”, but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s Skylanders for grown-ups. The game will use real miniatures imprinted with “microcodes” read with a stylus that communicates with an iOS & Android app. You physically move the pieces around the board, battling your friends’ miniatures, and the app and stylus do the heavy lifting of tracking things like hit points and inventory. It is undeniably cool, and though it sounds like it has the potential to be pretty expensive, anyone who’s still reading after seeing the words “miniatures game” knows what they’re getting into.
Last time on the Crowdfunder, I had been lamenting the impending doom of Wars and Battles, an ambitious wargaming system for iOS, Android, and desktops. Wars and Battles is now three days from the finish line and things aren’t looking so hot. TRIPLE THE LAMENTATIONS.
I don’t know where Wars and Battles went wrong exactly. On paper, they nailed everything that a good Kickstarter needs to do: frequent updates, lots of gameplay video, nifty backer reward tchotchkes.
Was it PR? I don’t think they’ve been written up outside of these pages, or at least, I haven’t seen it if so. Should they have bought ads? Done a publicity stunt? Did they have the wrong tchotchkes? Whatever the reason may be, if somebody doesn’t raise their $10 pledge by about $30,000 or so in the next 72 hours, then Wars and Battles will need to kick off Plan B.