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Fargo: Kickstarter "means we don't have to do it like the publisher wants"

Thu 16 Feb 2012 12:18pm GMT / 7:18am EST / 4:18am PST
Development

inXile to use crowdfunding site for Wasteland 2, while Unity's David Helgason backs Code Hero

Brian Fargo, founder of Interplay, will use Kickstarter to fund a sequel to old school RPG Wasteland.

"Pondering bringing Wasteland back through this crowdfunding. It's a world I have longed to work with again," he tweeted on Tuesday.

He then confirmed his decision to fund the PC title using Kickstarter, telling IGN "this process means we don't have to do it like the publisher wants."

Fargo and Interplay also created Fallout 1 and 2, and the developer founded his latest company, inXile Entertainment, in 2002.

There's nothing like someone making a $1 million in a day to make an industry sit up and take notice, and Double Fine Production's recent success with Kickstarter has, if not directly inspired developers, then at least made them aware of crowdfunding as a viable option.

Unity CEO David Helgason also used his Facebook to show that he was backing Alex Peake's Code Hero title on the crowdfunding site. The proposed game uses Unity 3D and a weapon that shoots Javascript. The project has so far raised $19,380 of its $100,000 goal, with 7 days of funding left.

In the past Helgason has also backed a Scandinavian Indie Games party.

15 Comments

Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd

138 90 0.7
Awesome, I hope this funding model works for many more games in the future. Now if only someone can start a Kickstarter campaign for another series of Firefly...

Posted:2 years ago

#1
Firefly.... :)

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Jack Lee Studying Internet Marketing, Virginia Commonwealth University

4 0 0.0
While I'm all for a new Wasteland successor (I'm a little young to have played the original Wasteland, but I'm under the impression that they inspired much about the Interplay Fallout games, which I grew up with and loved to pieces), such mass movement to crowdfunding in general and Kickstarter in particular worries me. The reason Double Fine Adventure is such a smash success is not necessarily because crowdfunding is the new answer to game development, it's because Tim Schafer and Double Fine have a ton of credibility with the community, a lot of goodwill, and a proven track record of quality, if not actual financial success. DFA is a perfect storm on Kickstarter, and I doubt that such rampant success will repeat itself easily. That said, developers are free to take a crack at it, and I wish them luck, as I want a new Wasteland. I just hope that they don't stake it all on a wild Kickstarter strategy that blows up in their face.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

386 184 0.5
I've seen a few Kickstarter funding plans fail. Most recent memory being Robmodo's Kinect game.

I wonder if Schafer's success will have gamers looking at the Kickstarter site more to find those potential next big hit games needing funding.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Roberto Bruno Curious Person

104 69 0.7
@Barrie Tingle: Maybe cause no one cared about a Kinect pinball game?

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

386 184 0.5
@Roberto

True

Also possibly because they weren't Tim Schafer. There are few people in the games industry that can attract the support and attention like he can.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Tim Hull Co-Founder, Stuntpigs Ltd.

24 2 0.1
@ Barrie

Definitely more gamers, developers, VCs and publishers will all be looking at kickstarter.

Personally I think there is room for a separate site to be developed specifically for this industry with this model in mind but with some very unique customisations to build awareness and generate interest before a game has even started production.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Thiago Attianesi Creative Director, Fan Studios

59 2 0.0
Brian Fargo is a genious. I want to pay to help him.

Double Fine Production's make a great sucess. I am happy with this changes in the market.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Chris Wright Chief Surprise Architect, Surprise Attack

1 0 0.0
Crowd-funding is essentially the developer equivalent of pre-orders for retailers / boxed product publishers. It's a great way to gauge the interest of a title before you get into full production as well as help raise the money to get it to market.

You still have to deal with the sames challenges as selling your game once it's done - it has to be interesting, remarkable, something people want and you have to promote it. Crowd-funding isn't going to be a golden bullet or free money - you still have to deliver the game only now it's the crowd who will be hassling you if you miss deadlines rather than the publisher.

The big benefit of pre-selling your game via crowd-funding is that you're not just selling the game, you're selling a sense of ownership / inclusion and creating a band of highly engaged advocates into the bargain. I think Double-Fine Adventure benefitted massively from this aspect. It's the first project to really deliver the crowd-funding dream - a big games project getting green-lit by gamers. It is a significant moment in games history and it costs just $15 to be part of it. Regardless of the game itself, it's worth the money to be on the stage not in the audience.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart

219 7 0.0
I don't view crowd funding as 'pre-sales' I view it as taking a stake in the title. And that's the problem. As a shareholder in a company you have some control of what happens to your investment. As a crowd funder you have absolutely none and worse case the money could be spent of a mini rollercoaster (to motivate employees?!) aka Realtime Worlds. At best it's a charity donation that may or may not end in a game. But bizarrely if it does end in a game you don't make a return on it other than get a copy of the game. Why would you invest your capital (your children's inheritance) in a project when you take on all the risk and all the upside goes to someone else?

Crowd funding relies on the charity and goodwill of others. It's a nice idea but after so many people get burnt it'll go the way of the dodo.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart

219 7 0.0
@ Tim Hull

"Definitely more ... developers, VCs and publishers will all be looking at kickstarter. "

No they won't. They won't touch it with a barge pole as they won't own the IP or generate a return on investment.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I agree with Jack Lee's comment (which itself is very similar to an article on Eurogamer earlier this week), in that Kickstarter worked for Double Fine because of their history of high-quality releases, their record of getting the shitty end of the stick as far as publishing deals go, and having a figurehead who is legendary in the point-and-click adventure genre. Schafer's games may not have been particularly financially successful, but he has a lot of admiration in the community, and investing in a Double Fine game likely means you'll get something back with excellent writing, style and a lot of charm.

I think this success for DFA is great and I hope more developers can replicate it, but in all honesty I suspect most stories will replicate Robmodo's rather than Double Fine's.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Sergio Rosa "Somewhat-Creative Director", Domaginarium

64 37 0.6
If only Kickstarter would accept projects from people outside the US, instead of forcing non-US developers to find "alternate ways" to get the money from Kickstarter...

Posted:2 years ago

#13
"Why would you invest your capital (your children's inheritance)"

Because you get the game and other goodies, depending on how much you put in. Because this model removes a lot of middle men (namely publishers) that take large cuts that increase the price of the game, so you are helping to bring the cost of game development down, which is a good investment if you are a gamer. (If you are not a gamer, then Kickstarter probably isn't something to keep an eye on). Because you can invest in incredibly small increments to the point where you are not taking "all the risk". Because you want a voice in what games get made despite not being a suit at a publisher.

This VC mindset of deserving more money for having money instead of just being happy to exchange labor for money and money for labor is what's going the way of the dodo. If it helps, view crowd-sourcing as 'pre-sales'.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Roberto Bruno Curious Person

104 69 0.7
Kickstarter isn't interesting for standard preorders.

It helps with unconventional niche products that wouldn't find a financial backer in other ways.

No one is going to give you money on Kickstarter for your wannabe Call of Duty.

"Also possibly because they weren't Tim Schafer."

There's already plenty of "non-Tim Schafer"-persons financing their projects through Kickstarter, actually.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

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