None! Now we get to use the "zero, zilch, zip, nada" line for real!
· We kick off with Celestian Tales: Old North. Greenlit and funded twice over (130% of their goal in the first attempt), this Zelda-looking JPRG definitely did something right second time around on Kickstarter and we can expect to see this story-driven morals-based fantasy world in May next year.
· EarthLock: Festival of Magic wasn't quite so spectacular, but still finished strongly and made its first stretch goal to include a mega-boss in this beautiful fantasy RPG. The final pledge total of $178k was still not as high as the goal from first time around, but the goal was reduced without cutting scope because Snowcastle Games has an additional $200k grant which become effective upon successful funding. It fell only a few hundred dollars shy of its second stretch goal to include an orchestral score, so you never know.
· Meanwhile, Grimm Bros is grinning mockingly at Celestian Tales. "Only funded twice over?", its grin asks. As well it might, because Dragon Fin Soup managed to scoop just a touch under $120k, almost exactly FIVE times its $24k goal! Flush with success, the project creators felt generous and threw in the 9th stretch goal despite the missing $281. ;) This tactical RPG is like pretty much nothing you've ever seen before and their well-animated campaign page, wonderful imagination and ambition seem to have blended into the perfect Kickstarter project.
· Making its target twice over, perhaps DUELYST benefited from their star-studded studio line up from Diablo 3, Ratchett & Clank and Rogue Legacy. Although Linux support was relegated to a stretch goal, at least it was included with the easily-passed first one. The final tally of $137k included 3 more interesting stretch goals focused on additional content and more translations.
· Frog Fractions 2 project creators had so much fun running a Kickstarter that they made a game about it which "depicts events exactly as they occurred". Now that their hard work in running the campaign has paid off, the lights will go dark on this project now, with Twinbeard reminding loyal backers that since there must be total secrecy around its development, only "oblique" updates will be made via the Kickstarter email update process (and they recommend that you unsubscribe even from that if you want to keep the game "true" until release). In other words, Twinbeard can kick back and have fun making a game without being harassed about the lack of updates, while backers do all the hard work of figuring out what guise Frog Fractions 2 will take when released. At least that's the plan according to this FF2 backer's conspiracy theory: the purpose of Twinbeard's ARG being actually to collect ideas on how to secretly release the game... picking the absolute craziest suggestion after the other players have ripped it to pieces and thoroughly abandoned it.
· JetGetters may momentarily seem to be misplaced among the Winners, seeing that the campaign got cancelled. However, the reason for cancellation turned out to be an alternative funding source, with would-be backers promised free copies and beta access as thanks for having pledged before the alternative funding was acquired. The world is a crazier, happier, jettier and grapplier place for this insane game now being made.
· This author thought that Julian Gollop would have a shoe-in success on Kickstarter, but it turned out not to be the case. In fact, his remake of the original Chaos game, Chaos Reborn was still unfunded with only two days to go! However, after some well timed Reddit threads and a big community push, it surged over the finish line, pulling in $210k, over its $180k budget. If, like I was, you're curious about those final numbers - 1 Supreme Benefactor ($5,000), 18 Gods ($1,000), 67 Demigods ($250), 360 Wizard Kings ($100) and many, many (nearly a thousand, at $50 a pop) Wizard Lords. Phew!
· It was also a close call for The Hero Trap, limping over its $25k target on the final day, perhaps helped again by a well timed Reddit IAMA thread. Oddly, Smashworx haven't made a "victory" announcement on their Kickstarter yet, but we'll keep you posted on any news we hear.
Here's a Biggie that technically isn't one. However, since it had a Linux support stretch goal of $120k and it's already nearing the $150k landmark with two thirds of the campaign still to go, we think it totally deserves the term. So without further ado this is Heart Forth, Alicia, a Metroidvania RPG with gorgeous 16-bit visuals and gameplay straight from the '90s.
It's the story of young Alicia, one of the last two wizards of the bloodline that has ruled Auster, an island in the sky. After being thrown off the edge of the island by her companion wizard - which at the time was under the influence of an evil spirit - she ends up in a strange land beneath the clouds that turns out to be the rest of the so-called Old World, which they thought to be gone forever after a cataclysm that took place centuries ago. She then will set off on an adventure to find a way back to the island in order to stop the malevolent spirit.
As in any Metroidvania that's worthy of the tag, Alicia will have to explore a vast territory, divided in 12 regions, while she levels up and gains new abilities and spells. While magic is a very powerful weapon, she won't have to rely entirely on it as she's also very apt at melee combat thanks to her enchanted whip, which of course can also be upgraded. And besides, Alicia will count on the help of up to 5 fairy companions and their magical powers to overcome a variety of obstacles and foes.
As we said, this campaign is well into Stretch Goal zone and it has already unlocked New Game+ and some secret challenge dungeons, and it's about to achieve a whole new zone with new monsters and loot. So far there are no more announced game-related goals, but there's no doubt there will eventually be some considering the pace at which the pledges are coming. You have to fork out $15 to receive either a DRM-free copy or a Steam key at the game's release, which will happen about in a year's time. If you understandably cannot wait so long to get your hands on it, you'll have to go to the $50 level to get an alpha demo.
Our second 'Biggie' goes to show that, while having credit card only pledges is a severe hindrance to any campaign, if the project is good then it will be able to overcome the obstacle nonetheless. Please meet Armello, a beautiful digital mix of card and board game from Australian-based League of Geeks, who are seeking to raise an ambitious grand total of $200kAUD. And mind you, they're on a good track to success as they are standing at 75% of that goal with more than a third of the campaign to roll.
As for the game itself, Armello combines the traits of adventures and RPGs with the strategy of card and board games. Set in the fairy-tale animal kingdom of Armello, where the Great Clans have set forth their Heroes to claim the throne after the King fell ill to the Rot, a mysterious dark force that is consuming him and driving him into madness. So you'll take the part of a Clan's Hero, each one with its own powers and abilities, and will have to travel across the hex-based and procedurally generated board representing the Kingdom of Armello while questing, fighting monsters and other Clans' Heroes, and deciding the best course of action to obtain the throne for your Clan: be it by force or by persuasion.
The game has been designed for digital platforms but retaining the tabletop feel of board games. It's turn-based, with a dice-base combat system, and each player has a certain number of action points to perform... er, actions. After a turn ends, it's time to equip items, to recruit allies, to upgrade abilities, and to play cards against the adversaries. There is also a day/night cycle that affects what your hero can do based on its traits and talents, but also the kind of enemies you'll have to face, be it monsters of the night or the Royal Guard by day.
All in all, a very promising and good-looking adventure-strategy game for those that are not that into complex grand strategy games or very deep RPGs -- and maybe even for those that do, when they need to take a break and play something simpler. The minimum pledge of $15AUD will give you access to the finished game and a backers-only set of special in-game dice, so what are you waiting for?
And we're done! As usual we hope you enjoyed this issue of The Funding Crowd and we equally hope to see you again next time!
Finally, it wouldn't be a Funding Crowd article if we didn't remind you that you can join the team by sending a private message to one of the contributors who brought you this issue, Speedster, muntdefems, and scaine or simply by replying down below about joining up. Alternatively, you can also send your suggestions our way by posting this column's thread in the forums. Many thanks to BillNyeTheBlackGuy for suggesting that we covered Serpent in the Staglands this issue!
See you! ;)