[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]o last week Larian Studios, creators of Divinity: Original Sin, returned to Kickstarter to fund a sequel to their critically acclaimed role playing game. Fortunately for them the project was immediately funded, collecting over $700,000 against a $500,000 goal in less than a day. With nearly 24,000 backers the project is currently sitting at over $1mil with almost a month left in the campaign. Needless to say that is quite an impressive amount of money to raise in less than a week. For any fans of the original who may have worried that the game might not be funded, you can ease yourselves of that thought.One could look at the campaign and ask an uncomfortable question though: “Why is this on Kickstarter? Didn’t the original sell well?” Well, to answer the question, yes the game did do well. While I don’t have exact figures on how many units of Divinity: Original Sin were sold, Larian Studios Creative Director Swen Vincke has indicated that the studio already has the budget in place to make the game based on the success of original. But according to Swen:
“We would like to maximize all the things you can do in the game. Now we already have a budget in place thanks to the success of the original game! But all of the things I’ve been talking about can be taken that much further.”
When it comes to this sort of thing the ethics of crowdfunding is still quite hazy. While Kickstarter has been around long enough for us to have a good idea of what people should and shouldn’t do when launching a campaign, one thing we still don’t have a solid answer for relates to whether or not one should be launched in the first place. When isn’t it okay for someone to launch a Kickstarter campaign?
One could say that having a budget in place for a game that was earned from the success of your previous game, which was made possible because of a Kickstarter campaign, means that you probably shouldn’t go back to the well for more money. At the same time though I, a writer and games critic, am not a businessman. I’m with most other people in that I can’t really be a good judge as to whether that’s the right mindset to have or not.While some people may question the ethics of Larian Studios creating another Kickstarter for a game they already have a budget for, we also need to understand something, they’re still an independent studio relying on their own funds. It’s not out of place for them to look for outside funding, via crowdfunding or elsewhere, to fully realize the game they’re developing.
At the end of the day, Larian Studios asking fans of the original to pitch in a few bucks to help make Divinity: Original Sin 2 grander isn’t entirely wrong. As long as the people pledging money for the project get what Larian Studios is promising then it shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s a practice we should really pay attention to and treat this as another reason to be mindful of the money we throw around.