With recent news regarding Bloodstained and Mighty No. 9, particularly that coming from E3, I wanted to do something a little bit different this time with my Kickstarter Primer videos. Namely, something that I call the “David Vs. Goliath” syndrome. Basically this is just a fancy term for comparing the big projects that everyone is talking about and the smaller indie campaigns that struggle to get funding, if at all. I go into a lot of detail in the accompanying video and give examples that I’m personally aware of.
Before 2012 Kickstarter was barely known by anyone but when Tim Schafer launched his “Double Fine Adventure” campaign with pretty much nothing but a “Hey, look at me! I’ve got a great idea, I don’t know what it is yet, but throw money at me so that I can make a great game!” Yeah, that won’t fly in today’s world even from someone with clout, but back then crowdfunding was new and fresh in the minds of pundits. I won’t deny that big projects like Broken Age and several others (mentioned in the video) put Kickstarter on the map but it can be quite the double-edged sword.
Let me explain. The big projects bring in millions of dollars and many first time backers as well. I had just missed Broken Age but it still put Kickstarter in my mind when Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded hit the scene shortly thereafter. That was another “big” project that brought people in, myself included. In fact, 2012 had a fair number of big names hit crowdfunding. Still, these guys can overshadow smaller projects and make them fall too far under the radar, making them fail miserably or at least struggle to the end to get the money they’re asking for.
Most of the time, when you hear people talk about their “first” you’ll probably get games that would be either considered AAA titles or are from well known (at least in the community that it belongs to) names. As I said, Larry broke my proverbial cherry as it were. The problem is keeping backers coming back for smaller indie projects in the long run. Some keep coming back, like myself, but for others it’s just for this one big campaign then they’re gone.
Even worse is when a project comes along that everyone talks about, is funded in hours if not minutes, and keeps barreling down the tunnel while just as deserving small teams get lost in its dust. I’ve seen too many games that were only looking for a very small amount of money running at the same time as, say, a Brian Fargo run campaign only to barely scratch by if at all. As I said, it’s a double-edged sword.
I go into more detail on the pros and cons in the Kickstarter Primer video, but here’s my take on the whole matter. I feel that crowdfunding is for the “small dogs”. These are the passion projects by a small group of people or even a one person team that want to see their dreams a reality. Sure, AAA titles bring them to the forefront every now and then but I also feel that these names will be able to much more easily make outside funding than those that nobody’s heard of.