Doing Things Together

Video games are the path to the future that we can now all  enjoy. Let’s face it: since we were young, working and being a part of the gaming ecosystem is what makes great indie companies spring into being, drives young coders to experiment and coaxes designers to try their hand at making characters, enemies and worlds. It went from “video games are a hobby” to “video games are a lifestyle.” Now, whether you’re creating, publishing, or even playing (big congrats to ZeRo and Armada after EVO 2015 this weekend!), you can make video games your career.

 

Crowdfunding has become as much a part of gaming as teaser  trailers, playable demos or pre-order bonuses. They serve the purpose of generating hype, creating and showcasing demand and letting users feel like they are part of the process. Crowdfunding also allows for dreams to come true. For some, they have the talent, the ambition and the idea, but not the capital to execute. Maybe you’ve never made a game before in your life, but you know that your project could wow and delight fans all over the world. Maybe you just had bad luck with your recent works and you need fans to vote and confirm that it’s worth giving you another chance. Or maybe you know the fans want it, and you can make it, and you just need evidence to convince the publishers and producers that it’s a worthwhile investment.

 

 

This last element is incredibly relevant in the recent trend  of crowdfunding. Big names have come into play to make the project that they – and we – have always wanted, but larger publishers weren’t certain about. It’s incredibly easy to give the green light to the next installment of Grand Theft Auto or Halo: the numbers are recent, accurate and concrete. But retro games making a resurgence in modern times is a bit of a gamble. Sure, if you go to any Nintendo based forum, you’ll hear everyone clamoring  about how amazing Banjo-Kazooie was and that they’d totally buy a sequel. But it’s when you make people put their money where their mouth is and conjure over 3.2 million USD that others take notice and agree: this is a viable platform.

 

The success, inevitably, comes down to the fans. A great idea  with little to no support or excitement will be dead in the water. Interestingly, an idea that diverts far from current trends support will bloom in the wildest ways, even if it should, on paper, not even get off the ground. It’s the wonderful whim of having  people vote with their wallets: no matter what it says in theory, it’s the execution, ultimately, that yields results.

 

This past weekend was the conclusion of the wildly successful  Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign, which yielded an unprecedented 6.3 million dollars, making it the most funded  video game Kickstarter ever, beating Bloodstained (which only  achieved that title as of last month). It’s really interesting: everyone I’ve ever met who’s played Shenmue has been salivating and begging for a sequel for now two generations of gaming consoles. The Dreamcast passed away, the XBox and the 360 came and went before, of all people, Sony stepped up to resurrect  Shenmue on the PS4. An older game that, arguably, was obscure (at least in the scope of gaming exposure nowadays) has just raised over 6 million dollars without any real screenshots, demos or story line  to speak of.

 

 

It comes down to the mentality of crowdfunding. In the minds and hearts of each backer, they are a part of the creation process. They are now an intricate part of the game development world, even if it’s as simple as putting down money in a move that says “I want this to happen.” Letting consumers be a part of the game is what makes Kickstarter, IndieGogo and the like so appealing. You are part of this game. Even if you can’t write a line of code or draw a good circle, you can show your passion and confidently bet on a project you want to see happen. You are the part of the machine that makes this all happen. Without the love and mentality of the fans, things like Wasteland 2, Mighty No. 9 and even our own La-Mulana 2 would have never seen the light of day in the incarnations we see now.

 

So I say thank you. Whenever a game gets funded on Kickstarter and hits Steam or another platform one month, six months, six years from now, be proud. You made it possible, even if you didn’t back that particular game. If you’ve ever backed anything, thank you. You make the process work, and, as in the past unto the future, we couldn’t have done it without you.

ppen.” Letting consumers be a part of the game is what makes Kickstarter, IndieGogo and the like so appealing. You are part of this game. Even if you can’t write a line of code or draw a good circle, you can show your passion and confidently bet on a project you want to see happen. You are the part of the machine that makes this all happen. Without the love and mentality of the fans, things like Wasteland 2, Mighty No. 9 and even our own La-Mulana 2 would have never seen the light of day in the incarnations we see now.

 

So I say thank you. Whenever a game gets funded on Kickstarter and hits Steam or another platform one month, six months, six years from now, be proud. You made it possible, even if you didn’t back that particular game. If you’ve ever backed anything, thank you. You make the process work, and, as in the past unto the future, we couldn’t have done it without you.

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