First off, there’s a number of random factors encountered as to why a project doesn’t make it in the first try. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and why it fails in the first place. It could be the time of year, the pitch isn’t good enough the first time around, there’s a lack of updates and interaction with the backers, etc. For all I know it could be due to atmospheric disturbances, witchcraft, and astrological events. Seriously, anything could be the cause for not getting the base goal.
My main focus on Kickstarter since I joined the site was on adventure games and I’ve seen more than a handful hit-and-miss only to try again. Before I continue, I will point out that the most common reason that I’ve seen for this is due to backers not being invested enough to carry the torch. Especially when there’s little-to-nothing to show by the game’s creators.
One good example of having nothing to show beforehand is Alum. The first try actually felt like a money grab. There was barely any talk about the game’s story, nothing to show but a few screenshots, and not even a quick demo or prototype. While other projects that came before it could get away with this behavior, by the time it came around in order to get funding you had to have something concrete to show. Thankfully for them, their second attempt was more successful and they did have a playable demo.
Another issue that is often encountered while going through Kickstarter is that the developers tend to overreach with their campaign. Whether they’re asking for a lot of money, promising more than they can hopefully deliver, or something else similar, these projects tend to fall flat very early on. Bolt Riley is a good example of this. They couldn’t even get 50% funded due to their crazy goal. Later on, Oded Sharon scaled the scope back a lot, offering only the first chapter of the game at a much lower goal. In the two weeks he had set it for they made it, but just barely.
And then there are the ones that don’t make funding no matter how hard they try. Kickstarter is a fickle mistress and if the backers don’t want it they won’t back it. Case in point: Inherit the Earth 2. They had two unsuccessful Kickstarter campaigns which, unfortunately, floundered.
Others have successful Kickstarter campaigns the first time around and go back for future endeavors. These are too numerous to count here just on the adventure and visual novel front, let alone gaming in general, but the second (or more) attempts do need to prove that they can produce a good product. Usually, as in the case of Senscape’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the fact that hardly anything was released for Asylum hurt the campaign greatly and caused that one to die out quickly.
There are numerous other examples of multiple campaign attempts, but the above ones are pretty indicative of those that keep on trying. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed…