Crowdfunders Gone Wild!

Stop me if you heard this one, but today I came across Star Citizen. It’s been out for about a week now, and is another mega project/classic game with a twist: it’s crowdfunding without any of the crowdfunding sites. Crazy, right? No Kickstarter… No Indiegogo… nothing.

This game handily fits into the nostalgia genre currently sweeping the internet; it has enough star power and built-in fan base that it just might pull it off. Just as Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity are irresistible to any fan of old school isometric games, this game is built for lovers of scifi, with a particular emphasis on fans of the Wing Commander franchise. This is hardly a nostalgia fest though. The graphics and game play are cutting edge in their promotional material, and guaranteed to woo new fans from modern sci fans just as easily.

Interested? Read on!

(Fund The Wardenclyffe Horror!)

Over at RSI (Roberts Space Industries) they cut out the middle man to make the pledging process as painless as possible, likely getting the 10% cut that Kickstarter and Amazon take down to the neighborhood of 2%. There’s just one little problem though – they actually charge you when you pledge, not when the project is successful. Further, in the event the project is not successful, they refund your amount minus processing fees (or hold on to it and keep trying to secure more funding if you prefer). I have a feeling this last bit might be a deal breaker for some, especially as the clock ticks down.

For those who can get past this strange twist and its possible consequences though, the game itself looks quite stunning. In a nutshell it promises to be a everything you’ve ever wanted from a space sim game.

Star Citizen brings the visceral action of piloting interstellar craft through combat and exploration to a new generation of gamers at a level of fidelity never before seen. At its core Star Citizen is a destination, not a one-off story. It’s a complete universe where any number of adventures can take place, allowing players to decide their own game experience. Pick up jobs as a smuggler, pirate, merchant, bounty hunter, or enlist as a pilot, protecting the borders from outside threats. I’ve always wanted to create one cohesive universe that encompasses everything that made Wing Commander and Privateer / Freelancer special. A huge sandbox with a complex and deep lore allowing players to explore or play in whatever capacity they wish.

Basically the videos pitch Star Citizen as a subscription free MMO like game full of dog fighting and drama and space mining. The trailer videos make it sound like PVP and the single player story line are Wing Commander through and through, while large portions of the rest of the game take after Freelancer. To me it looks a lot like EVE, maybe without the need for all the spread sheets though.

Will I put a few dollars in on this game? Maybe – I haven’t decided. The fact that it pitches itself as crowdfunded-massively multiplayer-freemium title gives me more pause than anything else. I could live with the processing fees on my refund if the project didn’t go through but that is just one too many buzzwords for comfort in my mind. Too good to be true, and all that. What do you think?

Have you funded this? Will you fund it?

The Wardenclyffe Horror -- Kicktraq Mini

This entry was posted by David Winchester.

12 thoughts on “Crowdfunders Gone Wild!

  1. They did start a Kickstarter campaign, so I don’t know if that’s in addition to what you describe, or instead of it.

    At the bottom of their KS page, it says “Can’t use Kickstarter? Visit the Roberts Space Industries site to use Paypal or a credit card.” So that may be my answer. But really, who goes onto Kickstarter if they can’t use it? And who exactly can’t use Kickstarter?

    • Shifting from “This is the only way to support this project true believers” to “we want some of that Kickstarter money.”

      I was going to give this project some money – but now I’m conflicted. I really fear that these megaprojects are sucking all the air out of the room when it comes to smaller deserving projects run by actual indie developers (Blackspace) for instance.

      How do you feel about it?

      • I actually felt pretty good about their Kickstarter project until I read your article about their non-KS fundraising efforts. It does kind of stink of using KS as a promotion vehicle and cash grab. Their hearts seem to be in the right place where the GAME is concerned, but I don’t care for this double dipping.

        I’ve been backing quite a few projects, and I find that I’m far more likely to back a small one than one of these gargantuan projects. The people who are building up stuff like Doublefine and Project Eternity are piling on an already big project hoping to make it huge, thinking they’ll get something great at the end. I can’t blame them for that. I backed the “Boss Monster” card game because I thought it was a fantastic idea, and it funded in slightly more than 24 hours ($12k goal). I hope people pile on that one to a similar extent (adjusted for card game expectations, of course.)

        But the smaller projects, the ones that are just squeaking by, I think they’ll always hold an allure for people looking for something different. For all the talk about revolutionary one-of-a-kind game play (oddly reminiscent of these other games you love), the big winners aren’t really all that different. Okay, maybe the world doesn’t need another zombie board game, but if I see one from an indie developer that looks clever and well made (like the “We Are Dead: Zombie Mall Massacre” game), I’ll back that over the million dollar video game project.

        “Star Citizen” will probably succeed. It looks good, and the KS project itself is professional looking and well made. So it’ll do just fine without my help. I’ll just go back the “Redshirts” card game instead. That guy knows what he’s doing, and we know what he’s doing too, which shouldn’t be as refreshing as it is.

        (Apparently, I feel pretty strongly about it.) 🙂

      • I feel exactly the same way, Brian. I phrased it in a previous discussion as the adults stealing food from the kiddie table. I understand that these indie studios want to make a sequel to their great game, and I even want to play it, but I know that when it comes time to make the sequel, they’ll be back to the trough whether they need to or not.

        No one turns down free money, and right now KS has a lot of it.

    • Kickstarter is America (Canada, US, Mexico, I believe) only at the moment. Double FIne had to post a work around for Double Fine Adventure. So anyone in the EU who wants to provide funds would have to do so through RSI.

      • Kickstarter is available to anyone. There are plenty of people from Europe and Asia backing projects that I back as well. They wind up having to pay for brutal international shipping costs, but they do it. And there have been projects started by people in the EU as well.

        So, no, I don’t think that’s a valid excuse. I think they’re just looking to get around KS taking its share by directing people to their website. I could be wrong, but it feels shady to me.

  2. There are ton of companies attempting to get funding for their ‘projects’ . Some are actually projects, like Double Fine Adventure, and some look more attempts to fund a company, not a project. Such as SHAKER. As a business guy interested in game design, on the newbie end of the spectrum, these are terrible examples for folks starting out. Projects are not companies, and game ideas are not projects. Kickstarter is better at funding projects then companies. Anyone just starting out really needs to understand that they cannot, and should not attempt to start a company using crowdfunding.

    They should fund a project first, learn what that is like. Revenue should be the only thing, short of real venture capital, used to start a company.

    • Great thoughts!

      I actually worry that these mega projects are starting to make the crowdfunding arena very difficult for smaller projects that are worthy, and worth perusing by real indie developers. I love this nostalgia kick as much as the next thirty year old gamer, but this seems a little like stealing food from the kiddie table some days.

      What do you think?

  3. This isn’t nostalgia. IT would be if the game put you back on the Tiger’s Claw with Bossman and Angel and the rest, complete with the 8-bit graphics. This is a new game, an evolution of new material, by a guy with a proven track record.

    Is it nostalgia when you go see the latest Spielburg film because it looks interesting, and not because you loved E.T.?

    • What part of “I used to make hit games and now am coming back to make the game I’ve always wanted to make” isn’t nostalgia? The Spielberg example isn’t quite right in this case as: 1) he never stopped making movies, and 2) he has made movies about more than just aliens.

      As far as I am concerned, if a given creator is trading on his track record for making a famous franchise, and a decade later wants to remake said franchise, it’s a nostalgia fest.

      That said, in this case it’s one I want to play – I was pretty excited about this title till he decided to double dip and cash in on Kickstarter. Now I’ll still give him money, but less.

  4. Not hassling, but his RSI site went down, which is why he started a ks, and the fact that many people on the forum asked for a ks. However, most pledges are going through the RSI site still – (doubles the ks site), many of his fans are from Europe and not all countries in Europe have credit cards.. having said that.. for me.. I am addicted to ks – and like to spread the money around many of the smaller dev games – but I could not pass this up.. looks way too good – especially as a lover of Sci Fi !

    • That’s all true Monty, but I can’t shake the feeling that KS and self funding at the same time is double-dipping, or that one functioned as advertising and a source of ‘news worthiness’ for the other.

      If you look at the trend on the RSI website, I think we can agree that the rate of donations increased post KS launch, though I wish I had a graph to show it.

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