[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Universim from Crytivo Games was one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns of 2014, having raised over $387k against a $320k funding goal. The planetary management god game elicited memories of the classic Populous series, but with breathtaking graphics and a modern control scheme. While some of the more enticing stretch goals – including the inclusion of a dinosaur era and a planet editor – didn’t make the initial funding cut they were achieved via post-Kickstarter funding on The Universim website.
A year after funding The Universim seems to be going great. Backers have been getting a steady stream of updates, the game was shown at E3 and received positive press, and the pre-Alpha is scheduled to be sent out in a couple weeks. So why have Crytivo announced that they’re starting another crowdfunding campaign?
“In order to ensure that we finish developing the features and functionality of the game as quickly as we can, we have decided to hold an equity fundraise through Fundable to help us release a higher-quality, finished product sooner than would otherwise be possible.”
Is it time to freak out? Should we all start calling the Washington State Attorney General? Not really.
The fact that Crytivo have decided to raise additional funds via Fundable and not Kickstarter is significant. The Universim’s Fundable campaign is equity based. That means that to even back it you need to be an accredited investor and back it for at least $5,000. That has more in common with a developer going to an angel investor than it does with going back to Kickstarter for a second round.
Still, it’s fair to be a little nervous after reading Crytivo’s reasoning for additional funds.
“We’re going bigger, so we can deliver bigger. Multiplayer, anyone?”
The multiplayer stretch goal was pegged at $920k in the original Universim Kickstarter, so obviously the team has high hopes for the Fundable campaign. But are they taking on more than they can chew? Is The Universim destined to become an endless cycle of promised features and missed deadlines? That seems to be the primary concern of the backers in the latest update, with the general consensus being that backers don’t want Crytivo to go overboard with features that cause it to get delayed unnecessarily. This leads to another point of potential concern.
“Our team has never really been too involved in the business side of things. After all, we’re developing The Universim purely because it’s a game we have always wanted to make.”
It’s easy to appreciate where Crytivo is coming from here; they’re just a group developers making a game they love with the financial help of nearly 12,000 backers. No one wants to be ‘a suit’ worrying about the day-to-day affairs of running a business when there’s a game to be made. There’s the suits exist though; the boring day to day affairs of running a business are what allows creative people to have the breathing room to shine. When there’s nearly half a million dollars of backers money on the line someone definitely needs to be involved in the business side of things, otherwise the team could be one or two disasters away from an apology update to backers.
With all of that said, Crytivo should get the benefit of the doubt at this point. After all, it’s not unusual for developers to seek additional funding, especially via investors. In addition to that the team has been admirably upfront about their reasoning for wanting additional funding. Besides, backers have been kept in the loop constantly during The Universim’s development, a promising game that’s looking better and better..