Unlike some people, the above two projects knew their audience: people who played their games over 20 years ago, and now have the means to fund their nostalgia trip. David Crane wanted some of that sweet internet nostalgia money for himself, so he started David Crane’s Jungle Adventure.
Let’s be real here for a minute: Crane’s biggest mistake with this Kickstarter was not calling it Pitfall! 3. GET WITH THE I.P. BRANDING, DAVID! Of course, I’m partly joking about that biggest mistake. The real biggest mistake was asking for $900,000. I know that’s what Wasteland 2 asked for, but that only makes your goal seem all the more arbitrary. After all, what are the chances that your game will require the exact same funding as Wasteland 2? It’s so obvious that you saw someone else make a boat load of money by resurrecting their old I.P. and you figured why the fuck not do the same thing.
So, since there’s such a perfect comparison in Wasteland 2, let’s just contrast the projects.
There’s currently no video for David Crane’s project, but I did find this. I can only guess they took the video down when it failed, though I can’t imagine why. Go ahead and watch that and compare it to Wasteland 2. David’s video looks (and especially sounds) like something you watched in high school in the 90’s; from the cheesy techno music, to the overlaying images of computer wizardy (aka source code). And most importantly, gives you no fucking clue what the hell they’re planning on doing with the game. I guess the hope was someone going “Gee, David, I loved your games over 20 years ago, and I can’t wait to play your generic platforming adventure game set in a jungle!” And the attempts at humor.. well I’ve already made the 90’s high school video comparison.. it’s like that.
Wasteland 2 also uses humor (though in their case, mostly successfully), but does it with a purpose: they tell you why they’re using Kickstarter. They’ve tried the publisher route, and it wasn’t working. They actually tell you why they need to be crowd-funded to make the game that they want to make – and more importantly, the game that everyone else wants them to make. Here’s a quote from their Kickstarter page:
“Not a month goes by when an email doesn’t come in asking if we’ve ever considered doing a sequel.”
They actually have good reason to believe that people want this game. They didn’t just pull an idea out of their ass so they could take your money before starting to create it. And they do a passable job of explaining what they want to do with the game. It’s a direct sequel, and they want to stick close to the source material. You can have a pretty good idea of what to expect from that if you’ve ever played the original game, or bother to look it up. David Crane just wants you to guess that his game will be like Pitfall! and leaves it at that – it’s a side-scrolling platformer.. adventure.. in a jungle. The description you do get is full of the same vague nonsense we’ve seen before:
“Our stalwart explorer enters the scene, a traditional side-scrolling view.”
Okay, that’s a start…
“It’s immediately familiar and accessible. But it will only take a few steps into the Jungle to see we’re in unexplored territory. The environment is a lush, vibrant 3D space, not simply a backdrop. The camera moves with us and helps us see what we need to see, from whatever angle necessary, to keep the experience smooth and action-packed, varied in perspective but always simple and true to its platform game roots.”
“Whatever angle necessary”? You just said it was side-scrolling. So it’s side-scrolling, but with a camera that changes angles; it’s familiar yet in unexplored territory; it’s varied, but sticks to its roots. It’s probably also green and yet blue. Whatever contradiction you have to make to please everybody, just run with it, David. Ass.
Crane also did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, and decided to give a bunch of non-answers and be a dick to my favourite indie game YouTuber. Poor form, David. He even internet-shouts
“EVERY CONSOLE GAME I HAVE EVER MADE HAS SOLD MORE THAN 50,000 COPIES.”
for no apparent reason. Crane has issues, and apparently needs nearly a million dollars to solve them.
And therein lies my problem with AAA developers using Kickstarter: they’re used to bloated budgets, and assume that lowering that budget means lowering the quality of the result. But as Josh (IndieStatik) points out:
“I know devs who have made brilliant games on nights and weekends while working day jobs. Its 2012 and the technology and resources are more available than ever before to make incredible games for MUCH less than $900k.”