[dropcap size=big]E[/dropcap]dge of Eternity has had no trouble at all in reaching its 44k goal, and with a month to spare no less. But back in 2013, Midgar Studio had trouble funding the JRPG, and was forced to cancel the project with just $26k pledged of $200k. So what has the developer done differently this time around to achieve such success?
First, they’ve lowered their goal! $200k is quite an intimidating figure, especially for a studio who has never created a game of this type or even of this scope before. I was also having trouble making sense of where all that money would be going. One thing that seemed to contribute to the massive funding goal was the large development team. In 2013, there were fourteen people listed as involved in the project. Keep in mind, that is fourteen people to provide resources for (computers, a suitable work space, related development programs), and of course, you need to pay them all for their time. This was not good project management. Why? When you look at what each person was responsible for, you see there were three staff members whose only jobs seemed to be related to the designing of the game’s décor. That doesn’t sound vital, in my opinion, and evidently, it didn’t to potential backers either.
The other thing was the way the campaign was written up. I think some people underestimate the importance of an attention grabbing and coherent campaign write-up. The original Edge of Eternity campaign just wasn’t presented well. It had a lackluster basic game summary that I seriously doubt managed to light any passionate fires. There was also poor presentation of in-game media, with screenshots and video thrown at you in an overwhelming fashion. There was even one instance where the same image was used twice in a row! The original campaign also suffered from disorganized and repetitious information. For instance, there are two plot summaries for some reason I can’t understand. It really tried my patience, and I found myself skimming through it.
The new campaign on the other hand is quite impressive with a better game summary, a clean and organized breakdown of its features, effective use of its brand new in-game footage and (better) concept art, and of course, a working demo. Even the Kickstarter video, with its evocative music and intriguing game footage, was a vast improvement over the otherwise mediocre display provided by the original campaign’s. The lower funding goal was managed (as explained by Midgar Studio in their FAQs) by the personal investment of the developing team. While there still isn’t a detailed breakdown of where funds are going; the new streamlined team of four, the realistic Kickstarter goal, and the infinitely more exciting stretch goals (who doesn’t want Yasunori Matsuda to work on a game like this?) means nothing but happy returns for Midgar Studio and their latest baby, Edge of Eternity. According to EoE’s Steam Greenlight page, the planned release date is December 2015.
I reached out to the Edge of Eternity team to get their thoughts on their miraculous Kickstarter turn-around; they indicated that an update would be coming on February 18th addressing that very issue. I’ll update this story once their update goes live.
Feb 18 Update : The update from the Edge of Eternity is live, and it’s extensive. Read it for yourself right here.