The fact Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter is a game for the SNES, a 25-year old console, isn’t big news. After all there have been several Kickstarter campaigns for retired consoles in recent memory. What is a little stranger is that this retro fighting game is already developed and ready for mass production. Project creators Blazepro are looking to meet a minimum order target of 1,500 cartridges – so the campaign itself is essentially a pre-order system.
That target equates to a Kickstarter goal of $52,500 (pledge levels for the game begin at $35). But with a week to go and less than half that amount reached, it’s fair to say that Unholy Night isn’t going to succeed. Despite early interest in the game and an (initially) enthusiastic creator it looked like things might go the other way, but ultimately it’s not that much of a shock.
The fact the game is already finished might explain the lack of stretch goals, but not the dismal state of the Kickstarter campaign itself. Short, vague and lacking content it’s a real disappointment. It’s also quite confusing, but at least Blazepro partially addressed this by adding a FAQ section fairly quickly. The icing on the cake though is the 48 second pitch video. Aside from briefly showcasing a bit of clunky gameplay, there’s nothing to entice potential backers here.
Limiting Your Own Audience
One of the more puzzling aspects however is the lack of a ROM option for the game. By limiting Unholy Night to just cartridges, Blazepro severely restricted their potential audience. It’s perhaps not that surprising considering their record is as a peripheral manufacturer. In fact, many of the pledge levels include a ‘third-party’ SNES controller. The actual model is never mentioned, but it’s a fairly safe bet that Blazepro will be producing it.
This in itself does make the Kickstarter campaign seem fairly suspect, but it’s only fair to point out the game has respected developers behind it. Foxbat are a team of ex-SNK members with plenty of experience in beat ‘em ups, including King of Fighters. Unholy Nights was also available in playable format at the Hong Kong Retro Game Expo, so it is a legitimate game.
However this news just makes the lack of media and content in the campaign even more inexplicable. Considering the game is finished and this is an attempt to ‘sell’ Unholy Night, there should be an abundance of images and gameplay footage. Quite what Blazepro were expecting is uncertain, but they seem to have abandoned the campaign now. This in turn has led to some ill-feeling amongst backers in the comments section. Several have indicated they are downgrading or even canceling their pledges outright. In fact, the campaign might ultimately end up doing more harm than good for Unholy Night.