Horizon’s End Can’t Get Their Project Off The Ground

I hope you just came here for the clever title. I have nothing else to say about the Kickstarter project for The Great Gaias.

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JUST KIDDING, LET ME TELL YOU WHY FUCK THIS GAME.

Have you ever just looked at a screenshot from a game and instantly known the software used to create it? If you’ve ever seen a game made with RPG Maker, you probably have. The very first thing I noticed about The Great Gaias is that it unquestionably uses RPG Maker, and you can therefore assume that it is generic garbage.

Why? Because any software that promises you the ability to make a game with “little to no programming required” is doing so much for you that you’re essentially filling in text, images, and sound. If you really just can’t get enough of the tired old generic JRPG turn-based mechanics with no innovation whatsoever, and a fresh coat of paint is enough to justify your purchase of a new game, then I would recommend you check out every RPG Maker title out there. There are plenty. And the vast majority are shit.

Game development without programming is like making food without cooking. You’re getting a pre-made solution, and trying to sprinkle your own ingredients on top, as if that makes any real difference. My SpaghettiOs taste just like your SpaghettiOs, even if I shake some pepper flakes over them – then they just taste like weird SpaghettiOs. And that’s the other problem with pre-made solutions – if you try to do something that wasn’t intended with it, it’s more likely to lead to disaster than success. And you’ll inevitably waste more time trying to wrangle an engine made for generic garbage into doing what you want than you would learning a programming language like a god damned grown up.

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But I’ve gone on too long already without telling you why The Great Gaias specifically is a shit project. You know, if the RPG Maker part didn’t already sell you on that idea.

“Horizon’s End is proud to present its first game, The Great Gaias.”

Strike one; you’re out. Why do people think that it’s acceptable to Kickstart your very first game? A few thousand dollars is not the thing stopping you from being a game developer any more than being a pastry chef. It’s not expensive kitchenware that you’re lacking; it’s experience, and maybe some common fucking sense.

We can get through most of this pretty easily. Story? I don’t give a fuck about your story. Any asshole can write a storyline for a  game. Do you know how many bullshit stories are pasted all over game development forums, hoping that someone who actually knows how to make games will waste their time doing all of the real work? Game details? Yeah, it’s generic RPG Maker bullshit. I’ve seen it. But the arrogance here gives me a good chuckle:

“In more recent days most games implement a run of the mill, hack-and-slash, action-based fighting system that limits the player to a small amount of skills which you are forced to mindlessly hammer over and over again.”

Whereas you’ve made the innovative step of bringing turn based battles to your game? Riveting.

“Player growth doesn’t stop at level 40-50 like in many RPGs. With 14 playable characters, each with a unique skill set, the total number of abilities the player can learn is over 200!”

This is like bragging about how many polygons your 3D models are. It means nothing. I bet instead of 11, your guitar amplifiers go up to 20! And speaking of abilities, remember the Limit Break system from Final Fantasy? Well, they have that! Except it’s called the Deathblow system, and it has more complicated requirements for use. So that’s cool, right? INNOVATION.

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This is a bro fantasy game. Just look at all those fucking popped collars.

“We want to have some of the most diverse enemies of any RPG.”

Well at least you’re not overshooting for your first title. You sure you guys don’t want to make this an MMO while you’re at it?

Do you worry that you don’t do enough reading in video games? Horizon’s End has you covered with their Biography system, cataloging every character in the game. Because that’s how you tell stories, guys. That’s what I want in my video game – a little less game, a little more book. And do you know why this is the feature that the most work was put into? Because it’s easier to dump a bunch of text into RPG Maker than it is actually decent gameplay. All you have to do is know how to type; not how to code.

“The player will have the chance to find inhabitants for a new city.”

Well, that sounds interesting. Nothing super ground-breaking, but at least it’s not typical.

“As mayor of the city, you have the choice and final say in what kind of citizens may live there.”

Okay, I don’t think you know what the word “mayor” means. Have fun with your overbearing dictator simulator. But in all seriousness, it sounds impressive for an indie game. My main issue with it is my lack of belief that you can pull it off. And I don’t think your magic money-to-features machine is efficient enough to do this even if you did get the $25,000.

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Speaking of words you don’t know the meaning of, that’s not footage; it’s a screenshot. But let’s go ahead take a look at your actual footage.

“For some reason Kickstarter cannot produce our video in 1080p quality, for the HD quality video please view here:”

Man, this must be a super HD RPG Maker title if you’re worried about having the video in 1080p.

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Come on guys, are you fucking kidding me with this? Watch it in 1080p for what, so that the half of the screen you’re using is in “HD”? How about you just make your video in the proper fucking resolution in the first place?

And yeah, you can craft and blah blah, it’s an RPG. But it’s all just the proverbial pepper flakes on the SpaghettiOs; polishing the proverbial turd.

What I’m trying to say is that I own a really strange bible. But here’s where shit gets weird.

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Ah, my favorite question of all. And I dare you to find the answer in this answer.

“Unfortunately, the past year has brought unforeseen hardships to the Developer and his home on Long Island, NY in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.”

I’m sorry, are we buying you a new house? Is that what this is about? Pictures of the ruined home are posted on the page.

“The Hurricane had forced Matt to be separate from his home, but development of The Great Gaias never ceased. Working from apartment to apartment and even at his school’s computer labs, he never wavered in devotion to this project.”

Look, that’s really touching and all, but we were talking about what you need $25,000 for..? Surely you haven’t just been homeless since October, and will continue to be so if this Kickstarter isn’t funded. So what.. is going on here with this?

“Even though this has been tough financially, we have found people from all over the world that believe in this story enough to dedicate their time and efforts to see this project become a success. Though they have been contributing generously, their artwork and musical compositions take a lot of time, and we would like to see them finish this project to its very end. The donations we receive will be used to fuel these artists for the long-run and ensure that we complete The Great Gaias on schedule and exceeding our expectations.”

So this money will be going toward the artists? THEN WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU GOING ON ABOUT THE LEAD DEVELOPER’S HOME FOR?

You can look at a breakdown of the budget, and it’s all music and art – aside from the $9,000 required to ask for the money on Kickstarter in the first place, and $5,400 for whatever the fuck they’re just labeling under “Taxes”. The total proposed budget for the game is $40,000, and $5,400 is for taxes? Here, I’ll help your budget out a bit: fire your accountant.

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But hold up, you are thinking now, because you are thinking the words I wrote back there, I thought they only asked for $25,000 – where is the rest coming from?

Well, the co-founder and composer have generously decided to take pay cuts – and/or fund.. it.. or maybe fund themselves.. fund something. And that co-founder? Well he’s the “business guy”. You know, the guy every tiny indie studio needs – the one that covers all of the “business management, funding, and advertising” of failing video game Kickstarter projects. I don’t think a pay cut quite covers the lack of necessity of his presence. But it’s okay, because he helps design it, and is the “sole producer”. That alone is worth the price of his Lunchables, I’m sure. But even with these pay cuts, there are still implied stretch goals.

“Anything above the $25,000 goal will be used to embellish The Great Gaias further with even more sidequests, hidden characters, more content for the artbook, more musical tracks, new dungeons, and mini-games!”

You have people on your team who are allegedly getting underpaid for their work, and you still offer up stretch goals to jam more bullshit into this game if you get more money? If it wasn’t already obvious by virtue of this being your first game, you don’t know dick about video game development, and have no fucking grounds at all to be taking anyone’s money for your pipe dream bullshit. And, fortunately, you won’t be.

And then, the whimper of a dying Kickstarter.

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5 days ago? I must be slipping in my old age. Well, I guess we’re not buying anyone a new house today, nor are we paying obscene taxes, or buying all of the pixel art you can shove into RPG Maker. I guess Horizon’s End and contractors will know a new meaning to the word “underpaid”.

Let’s all say a prayer for them from my pepper flake, turd-polishing bible.

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3 thoughts on “Horizon’s End Can’t Get Their Project Off The Ground

  1. Ibuki says:

    Hah…so many popped collars.

  2. avisch says:

    Found your blog through the Skullgirls thing.
    Decided to take a further look and have been thoroughly entertained.

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