Sienna Storm Kickstarter Off to a Shaky Start
By Ahmad Khan
When you read that the lead writer of Dues Ex is coming together with the game-designer of Star Wars: Kotor 2, and the guy who worked on the Magic card series to launch a Kickstarter, your next move should be to drop everything and rush to the nearest device with an internet connection and a screen to check it out. Sadly though your enthusiasm may be short lived when you start to browse their Kickstarter page.
Sure they have Chris Avellone as a creative consultant for one of their stretch goals, and of course they have the dramatic semi-animated intro movie. What they are missing right now though is very critical to backers of this sub-genera of video games. Sienna Storm by Digital Knights is a visual novel/deck building hybrid, and table-top backers know that you cannot show a card game without showing its game mechanics. Unfortunately the developers do not have a video that shows the basics of their gameplay mechanics; at least they don’t at the time of this writing. It’s unfortunate too, because if project creators don’t showcase their game assets in the beginning of their campaigns then backers will move on to other equally impressive projects that do reveal everything in the beginning.
Then there’s the way the team at Digital Knights running the campaign. You would imagine that somebody who knows Chris Avellone would know a thing or two about running a videogame Kickstarter, but it seems the good folks at Digital Knights would have none of it. They started responding to backers a full day after the project went live, they had no early bird specials, their lowest tier at launch time for a digital game copy was $34, and as of now there are no mid-tier rewards. And in case you’re wondering about the “backer likeness” tier, an age old tradition for Kickstarter card-games, well get ready to be shocked. The backer likeness tier is worth 10K, yes that is not a typo: for this hybrid card game your likeness as a supporting character will cost you $10,000, one of the highest reward tier on Kickstarter. Yes I know, yikes!
While it may be too early to speculate how the Sienna Storm campaign will turn out, the projections are not encouraging. The critical first 48 hours have gone without much funding, the backers are complaining about the lack of demonstrable game assets, and the developers are taking too much time adding features they should have had ready when the campaign launched.
All the pessimism aside I hope the developers take this project as a learning experience, and if they end up re-launching they should take into account the concern and insights of backers, because in the end it’s the backers the developers need to impress.
[Google][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ahmadkhan.jpg” ]Ahmad Khan grew up playing video games. A fan of RPGs and Post-Apocalypse games, Khan instantly fell in love with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo that made games like Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity a reality. He also ended up being sort of a whistle blower for suspicious crowd funding project, believing that the venue of crowdfunding should be reserved for the honest and the passionate, not for the dishonest and dubious. [/author]