Among hundreds of horrendous, flat-out laughable Kickstarter campaigns that fail to reach their stretch goals, there are always those few that seem to fail at getting fully funded, despite delivering on all fronts. What exactly are the reasons behind their pitfalls?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to whip out our detective hats and throw out some speculations.
Today’s case features Sylvio 2 — a psychological horror game about ghosts, the paranormal and all sorts of creepy abandoned places. As such, you play as a ghost recorder/EVP specialist dealing with paranormal activities, with your only goal being to meddle with the unknown and discover the ghastly secrets of a burned-down family park. It’s not about jump scares, but rather about messing with your mind by turning ghost-hunting into unnerving, believable and tense gameplay. In other words — it looks bloody promising.
However, Sylvio 2’s fate is rather questionable from a financial point of view, there’s less than 3 days to go and the game’s Kickstarter campaign being about kr55,000 short of its goal of kr130,000. This fact becomes considerably weirder once you realize that the original Sylvio was actually successfully funded, then released in June 2015. It was also rather good, getting praise from RPS for being one of the best horror games of 2015.
Looking more closely at the current Kickstarter page, you’ve got pretty much everything required for a good crowdfunded campaign— a gripping teaser, enough gameplay-related information to satisfy your hunger, screenshots to get you hooked on the idea and an actual demo of the latest prototype. More important, you know that the developer delivers on his promises, at least judging by his latest work.
However, things aren’t always so simple. They never are. Looking more closely, you will find that the original Sylvio was far from popular after its release; the very fact that there are only 31 reviews on its Steam page speaks a lot for how known the game is, no matter how well it might have been received by sites such as RPS or IGN, or even by users that ended up playing the game. Also, I haven’t seen or heard of the original Sylvio prior to now (sadly) – although admittedly in an overcrowded indie market full of other promising titles.
Still, Niklas Swanberg (the man behind the game) did manage to get a post about his game viral on Reddit a few days ago, managing to get over 450,000 hits on an Imgur album aimed at showcasing his inspirations behind making a horror game of this kind. That, mixed with a considerable amount of coverage coming from major gaming outlets (I say as I write this piece) — surely it would’ve been enough to stir the pot and get a lot of people excited.
Well, what if all of this is a prime example of people’s standards nowadays – expecting smaller projects to be bundled with dazzling visuals similar to an overly-polished, yet potentially hollow AAA release? Indeed, after checking out Sylvio 2’s playable prototype I can confirm that visuals and animations are not quite on the same level as other modern horror/mystery games (like SOMA, for example). Sure, it doesn’t look bad, but in the same time many people are expecting that extreme level of polish. I’m being the devil’s advocate here, but would people be “hyped” about No Man’s Sky, or Firewatch, if those didn’t already look impeccable?
Perhaps crowdfunding enthusiasts are starting to forget that Kickstarter, or IndieGogo, or any other crowdfunding platform, are usually places full of promising projects that are still mostly rough around the edges. But even then, Sylvio 2’s current state is damn good considering some other Kickstarter options right now. Are those really the problems stopping the campaign from reaching its goal?
What about the required currency? Not Euros, British Pounds or Dollars, but SEK (Swedish Krona). Is that the partial reasoning as to why some people might decide against backing Sylvio 2? Maybe not. But what about the actual required sum? The Kickstarter campaign for the original Sylvio wanted kr10,000, while this one bargains for kr130,000 — over ten times more — and mind you, this is for a sequel that is very similar to its recently released predecessor. In the same time though, a simple conversion would tell us that 1 Swedish Krona is worth roughly 0.12 USD. In other words, the overall goal of Sylvio 2’s campaign is only $15,295.
Quite the different sight, especially compared alongside the six-figure number of kr130,000.
Believe it or not, many would see the number and think to themselves, “oh man, there’s no chance this is getting funded”. Now I’m not saying this is a huge issue, but such nitpicks can sometimes make the difference when it comes to games relying on crowdfunding. If I had to be overly pessimistic, I would also say that there have been a tad bit too many horror games as of late.
In the end of the day, I’d still be stoked to see Sylvio 2 reach its goal of $15,295. But here I am, pondering over the struggles of some upcoming horror game at 2 o’clock in the morning.
What do you think?