KillerFog’s second Kickstarter campaign isn’t going very well. With only 6 days to go, the project has raised just €81 of its €45,000 goal. Not exactly ideal. Still, it’s going better than the developer’s first attempt to fund the game, which reeled in a meagre €60. So, what exactly is KillerFog, and where is it going wrong?
KillerFog presents itself as a ‘die and retry’ action RPG, a formula which should sound very familiar to Miyazaki fans. Indeed, the game very clearly draws influence from Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne – though perhaps ‘influence’ is too light a term. It’s a cheap knock-off, really. Not only does KillerFog borrow the same aesthetic, gameplay, and narrative elements as these titles, it even copies the style of their UIs.
KillerFog‘s main problem is that it isn’t attempting to do anything drastically new with the formula. Aside from setting the game in old-timey America and throwing in a bunch of creepy girls (which, come to think of it, sounds strangely familiar, too), it simply doesn’t offer enough to necessitate its existence.
I’m not trying to outright trash the game here, but it needs to be said: why would anybody want to play a poor Dark Souls rip-off when they could just play Dark Souls instead? There are already AAA developers trying their hand at the formula. How does a 4-man team expect to compete with that level of competition?
Not every successful Kickstarter is completely original, of course, but in many cases it’s because these projects target a sense of nostalgia. They attempt to bring back genres that haven’t been around for a while, or pay homage to the classics whilst simultaneously putting a new twist on things. The Miyazaki formula, on the other hand, is still very much an active, thriving part of contemporary gaming. Indeed, Dark Souls III is on the horzon. There’s absolutely no reason for KillerFog to exist. Not in its current form, anyway.
There’s too much ambition here, and not enough originality. My advice to the KillerFog team? Do something new, something intimate and laser-focused. If the early footage on the project’s Kickstarter page looks incredibly janky, that’s because it is. It shows a quantity over quality approach, with lots on show and none of it impressive.
Doing less would allow the team to really sharpen, polish and fine-tune everything in sight, which has a far better chance of impressing the Kickstarter community. Just look at Allison Road, the entirety of which takes place in a single, immaculately rendered environment. The reason it looks great is because its scale matches the size of the team working on it. 4 men could very well bring a small environment to life, but if they set out to make an entire world realistic and believable, they’re going to run into problems. I’m not convinced a €45,000 budget would be nearly enough to achieve what the KillerFog team want to achieve, either. Not at any desirable level of quality, anyway.
KillerFog needs some serious rethinking. Failing that, it needs to die altogether, making way for a more intimate and creative project. As it stands, the clock is ticking, and the fog is rolling in…