I suppose this was inevitable. We started with just funding games. Then we made the questionable-at-best leap to funding prototypes. We also funded DLC. And mods. Now, we’ve reached the logical conclusion to this idiocy:
Funding Minecraft world creation.
I’m sorry, but I really need to be sure that you understand what I’m saying here – people are paying money to have someone else play Minecraft and place blocks in a particular arrangement. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Kickstarter backers are trying to get me to kill myself. And they’re coming closer and closer every day, because I don’t want to live in a world with people this fucking retarded. I just don’t.
So let’s get one thing out of the way right now: the only reason anyone gives a shit about Redwall: The Warrior Reborn is because they talk about creating an adventure game based on the Redwall books.
“We have been given an unbelievable opportunity to now make a video game that’s based on the [Redwall] story.”
What kills me about this Kickstarter is that Soma Games CEO Chris Skragg seems genuinely passionate about the project – that is, the adventure game that is only tangentially related to the Kickstarter. But that doesn’t make the Minecraft level any less exploitative of fans of the series. After all, I can’t really ignore the fact that people have already done this. Building something in Minecraft is not a way to prototype your game, unless your game is voxel-based and, well, a Minecraft clone. And you’ve clearly already started to build the world in Unity, so why not just give people builds of a simple interactive walkthrough of what you’ve created?
Probably because you could exploit the popularity of two things at once with a Redwall Abbey Minecraft world.
The first minute of the video goes on about how great the Redwall books are, and then there are about 10 seconds that shows a 3D walkthough of Redwall Abbey, as if it were, you know, a video game. But then…
“…we want to make that into another game where building is the core component: Minecraft”
And suddenly, the video transitions into a Minecraft version of Redwall Abbey. I feel like I was just the victim of a bait-and-switch. I was just looking at a pretty nice 3D rendering of Redwall Abbey, and all of a sudden, I’m looking at a Minecraft re-imagining.
“This is a place where you would get early access to the models, to the characters, to the storyline, to the details that are going into the large adventure game.”
Sorry, the models? Are you putting block characters in your game? The Redwall Abbey I was just looking at in the Unity editor was not voxel-based at all. How does it make any sense that you’re going to get models from the adventure game in Minecraft? And why would you build all of these details into the Minecraft world just to completely fucking start from scratch once you actually made it into a real game?
“It’s also a place where, for the course of the entire project, you interact with us to make sure that we are on track, we get to hear your feedback on what features are important, what’s not so important, what characters are your favorites, so that we can make the decisions as the story progresses into what is the game you really really want.”
Ah, the classic bullshit Kickstarter line. If Soma wanted to listen to the desires of fans for this game, there are so many things that they could do. They could post a request on their site for people to give them ideas, they could do an AMA-style reddit post, go on forums, etc. So why, then, did they choose crowdfunding? This should be painfully obvious, but I’ll spell it out for you: this isn’t about listening to your stupid nerdy desires; it’s about taking your money.
“But Minecraft is such a perfect way to do this.”
No, it’s not. At all. Not even slightly. It’s like saying that putting some Legos together is the perfect way to plan how to build your house. It is nowhere fucking near an accurate representation of anything in the actual game that you want to make. Not only that, but all of the work that you do in Minecraft will have to be completely thrown out and redone. How does any of that make it the perfect way to start making your game?
“When you explore the Minecraft Abbey, you will be seeing the same architecture, the same scale that you see in the final product.”
Do I really have to point out how stupid this comment is? You cannot get the same architecture in Minecraft that you do in other games with pre-made, non-voxel worlds. The Minecraft Abbey will be the cheapest, most crude representation of what you’re actually making. And not only will it not display the quality of the real architecture in the adventure game, but again, it will be utterly useless, as you’ll have to make it all again, but for real, with real modeling software.
“Our Kickstarter ask is relatively small…”
Not for making a god damned Minecraft world it isn’t. It’s out-fucking-landish for such a simple task that’s already been done by several people before, and literally anyone with the game and a little bit of time to spare can do.
“…it’s for the Minecraft project. But we know that the real project is this larger adventure game, and the reality is, that our stretch goals will be to get to that.”
Let me translate this for you: Soma has discovered a new way to make a video game Kickstarter without the responsibility of having to deliver you a video game. In that way, it’s similar to what Leviathan did with Project Lodus, but this is almost more insulting, because you have to own Minecraft for the deliverable to be of any use whatsoever. There are no reward options that get you the actual adventure game they keep talking about. Curiously, what they do have for the higher reward tiers is an invitation to the launch party. The launch party for what?! You don’t even know if this game is going to get funded, which is why you’re not even offering it. But you’re already planning a party for it?
They set the goal relatively low so that they could get whatever money the fucking idiot fans were willing to part with while not having to actually make the game, by setting a series of absurd stretch goals to theoretically fund parts of it, after the series of stretch goals to fund more Minecraft locations. No, I’m not fucking kidding: even the stretch goals up through $33,000 are only funding Minecraft blocks. It’s not until $40,000 that anything with the actual game is funded.
It’s just so depressingly obvious that they were planning on this Kicsktarter taking off and being a multi-million dollar hit, but didn’t want to set the goal that high just in case, and still get a few thousand dollars. I mean, the goal was $11,000, and their stretch goals went all the way up to $85,000. And then they post this in their blog just as they’re getting ready to launch:
“That said, there is the outside chance that we’ll blow way past our goal and overfund by some ridonculous level. That kind of thing would undoubtedly make our jobs easier, save us a bunch of time, and insulate us from having to make unwelcome concessions to unreasonable publishers. The idea of raising 7 figures on Kickstarter is in no way out of the question, just ask Veronica Mars, but we always knew it’d be a longshot.
And yet…I’ve been totally blown away by the level of engagement coming from the Redwall fan base. You people are awesome! So I can’t help but feel like if any group could make a long shot it’d be the men and women of this tribe so we may all just be surprised.
So when we hit our initial goal, don;t slow down. Redwallers can beat out Marsmellows any day of the week!”
Oh god, how sad is that? Hey guys, this thing is totally possible – but I mean, let’s remain reasonable, it’s probably not going to happen. BUT HEY, it totally could – I mean, just ask the Kickstarter based off an already hugely successful series! And the link they posted for the Veronica Mars Kickstarter had the “?ref=most-funded” tag at the end, meaning they just searched for the most funded recent Kickstarter to show off how successful these things can be. Man, these delusions of grandeur are just painful to watch.
But I’ll tell you what, guys: you put Kristen Bell in your game, and you can have lots of my money.
And there’s another hilariously sad part to the $85,000 stretch goal: it was the first one they announced. They got halfway to their funding goal in a few days, and were so excited that they immediately tossed up this absurd stretch goal.
“What seemed like a very long shot four days ago feels doable today – Eulalia!”
Then, when funding really started to slow down, they realized that there was no fucking way they were going to reach that one stretch goal they had. So, six days before the campaign ended, they announced a series of mini stretch goals, most of which were complete and utter shit, as I’ve already mentioned.
And to top off this shit sundae, they’ve already shown that they’ve created at least a good portion of the Redwall Abbey in both Minecraft and Unity. So for $11,000, they are going to take two months to finish some things in the Minecraft world, and then respond to feedback and redo everything in Unity, possibly scrapping the world they’ve already started in Unity, wasting even more work? That is a fucking flawless plan if I do say so myself.
BUT WAIT – there’s a twist.
Now why would I go and do something like that?