There’s an unwritten rule when it comes to fan made games that too many ignore. “Never reveal your project until its done and already released.”
There’s also an unwritten rule of Kickstarter that absolutely should be observed and, apparently, explicitly stated. “Have more than a couple of badly written paragraphs on your campaign.” Unfortunately, sometimes those two broken rules merge into one terrifying and slightly heartbreaking project.
Such is the case with Castlevania 1 remake, the hot new Kickstarter campaign that’s sure to be suspended at any moment. Unless it isn’t, because sometimes Kickstarter can’t be bothered protecting copyright licenses or maintaining a well curated catalog.
As the name says, Castlevania 1 remake is a remake of the original Castlevania on the NES. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a fan project by someone calling themselves dejawolf in Norway, who’s seeking just under $75,000 to hire artists. Oh, and also buy the Castlevania license off Konami since they are just sitting on it.
The devil’s in the details
As absurd as it sounds, dejawolf seems to be a bit of a realist, even when it hurts them. As they state in the Risks and Challenges section “The thing i’ve [sic] had the most challenge with is getting fluid animations for the player character to work properly, so even when the game is finished the animations might not be top notch,” and that they “might have to backpedal on some of the more advanced animation routines in order to reduce the number of bugs on release.”
Luckily they’ve already got the pesky legal “stuff” on lock:
“the other challenge is working out all the legal stuff. i prefer to fill my brain with how to make games, not how to do business, so i’ll probably get someone else to help me out on that.”[sic]
As ridiculous as this all seems, it doesn’t appear to be a scam. Several videos on the Kickstarter page, dating back to March, indicate this is a real thing somebody is working on. Unlike most other fan games, at least they have something to show for themselves. But they’re obviously not going to raise money for this game, as Konami will strike it down with a vengeance. They’ve done so before on a Metal Gear Solid fan film that was about to hit Kickstarter, and they’ve shut down a Metal Gear fan game that even had Solid Snake voice actor, David Hayter, working on it. What chance does this person stand?
Konami’s new IP, Dream Killer
You can criticize the look of the game, the broken English on the page, or the remarkable unawareness of dejawolf thinking they can get the Castlevania license, but why bother? The Kickstarter isn’t going anywhere, and if it does, Konami will toss it out just like they toss out beloved gaming icons who are responsible for the only good games Konami still produces. But hey, at least you can be listed in Castlevania 1 remake’s credits for a mere $124.
It’s hard to feel angry over this. The developer seems way in over their heads. The game itself looks promising, but the Kickstarter campaign is a total joke. That’s where any fury really should be directed. Why does Kickstarter continue to allow this free-for-all attitude on their site? Why do they continue to let their standards slip? It seems just about anyone can get a “Project We Love” designation these days.
It’s good to see fans are keeping the games they love alive, but this also shows how clueless the general gaming public is about game development and business. Who will this dejawolf hire for under $75,000 to work on the game? Why do they think it’s okay to charge money for an idea that isn’t even theirs? What makes they think they can hire a lawyer to buy the rights to Castlevania off Konami for what is essentially pocket change?
It’s a sad situation. If the developer had silently worked on this game for a few years and just released it when it was finished, it could have at least garnered the same level of excitement as Pokemon Uranium. Instead, it’s likely dead in the water and everyone involved looks foolish for trying.