I’m pretty sure everyone loves Starship Troopers on some level, even if don’t get all the social commentary. I know for a fact that everyone loves Contra; and if they don’t then their opinion is wrong. If that’s the case, then why is the Starship Troopers and Contra love child Hive Jump struggling on Kickstarter? It’s got graphics that are all pixely and colorful, something people still haven’t grown tired of. It’s got 6 (or more?) player co-op. It even has procedurally generated environments. At first glance you would think the Hive Jump campaign would be a runaway success, but it’s not unfortunately. Three days into the campaign people have only donated $2,100 of the $75,000 target, but why?
- The funding video is a bit long, but it’s professional and it doesn’t necessarily drag.
- There’s lots of gameplay shown, and it looks chaotically great.
- The developers haven’t posted an update yet, but that wouldn’t explain the lack of funding so early on.
- The team is very active in the comments section, where they’ve been answering questions regularly with good detail.
- There hasn’t been any complaining or strongly worded suggestions from backers.
- The backer rewards are strong, with the opportunity to get some physical rewards for relatively little money.
- The developers have published games under their belts. Granted, the biggest one is a My Little Pony game, but that should bring a certain fan base with it.
So what’s the problem? I think there’s three primary issues.
- The @HiveJump Twitter account was created on February 5th, just five days before the campaign started, and has 26 followers. This tells me there wasn’t a lot of pre-campaign publicity work done. In fact, searching for the phrase “Hive Jump” game on Google doesn’t turn up much of anything more than a few days old.
- The funding target of $75,000 may be a bit too aggressive for what’s being sold. While the game looks great, does it look $75,000 great? Or do you see all of the people in the funding video and think “Wow, that’s a lot of people working on what looks like a small indie game. So they’re funding their huge salary overhead?
- No console version?
In the end, it could be none of those things holding it back from funding. Maybe backers just don’t like people from St Louis, who knows. But if you’re going to run a crowdfunding campaign you need to make sure that the campaign is the result weeks, or months, of pre-work. A Kickstarter campaign has a certain amount of free advertising that goes with it, but only if it starts out strong, and the way to do that is to have a built-in fan base ready to give you money on day one, if people see very little action in the beginning they’ll stay away.
Hopefully the developers of Hive Jump can overcome whatever obstacles are holding them back from getting the funding they want, it would be a shame to see the project die before it’s time.