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Default Larian Studios - Of Kickstarter and Journalists

July 11th, 2012, 13:20
Lar has penned a new blog entry about Kickstarter and the importance of developers selling direct - not RPG-related as such but, as usual, a good read for fans - especially with a bit of history thrown in:
What happened is that I listened to a song I hadnít heard in a long time. It was the startup music of The Lady, The Mage and The Knight (LMK), Larianís first really big RPG that was never released. I was the lead programmer on that game, and probably listened to that particular song 10000 times over. Hearing Kirillís composition again made me reflect on LMKís development, and how the game eventually came to be cancelled.
I still remember vividly the day I had to tell the team that it was all over, despite some very heroic efforts on their part. The situation was that our publisher ran out of cash and owed us over several milestones. This in turn meant that we were up to our neck in debts, and in the end I had no choice other than abandoning development. Because the aftermath of said publisherís demise was extremely messy, there was also no hope of salvaging the game, and we actually had to be careful that they didnít drag us down with them completely.
More information.
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July 11th, 2012, 13:20
Wouah!

I didn't know Larian had their own digital download DRM free shop.

Also, he's right about Kickstarter "popularity" falling off. Big gaming websites stopped talking about them, because there's too many project spamming them for free publicity.
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July 11th, 2012, 13:34
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Wouah!

I didn't know Larian had their own digital download DRM free shop.

Also, he's right about Kickstarter "popularity" falling off. Big gaming websites stopped talking about them, because there's too many project spamming them for free publicity.
True, far too many projects in very short time. As far as I noticed amount of money gaming projects are getting is declining.I think that dead state might got lot more if they waited few months.He is also right there will be high profile disappointments(If I had to bet I would say shadowrun returns might turn out disappointing).
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July 11th, 2012, 17:00
There are no longer heavy weight projects to be funded through Kickstarter.

That is the big difference. No slowdown from what I've been monitoring (both video games and board games)

Here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…e?ref=category

You can collect big money in no time thanks to kickstarter.

More the lack of heavy weight video games projects than the manna drying up.
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July 11th, 2012, 19:15
Lar delivers on another insightful and well-written blog.
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July 11th, 2012, 20:08
Originally Posted by Nameless one View Post
True, far too many projects in very short time. As far as I noticed amount of money gaming projects are getting is declining.I think that dead state might got lot more if they waited few months.He is also right there will be high profile disappointments(If I had to bet I would say shadowrun returns might turn out disappointing).
Isn't it something to be expected with any new initiative? I don't know if you are old enough to remember days when computer games become popular and dozens of developer teams sprung up to life. Most of them didn't stay in game business for long.
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July 11th, 2012, 22:27
I wonder if Obsidian will ever do a Kickstarter, as they seemed to be leaning heavily in that direction for at least a short period of time. As this was -before- they lost that one project, I'm not sure why they haven't followed through.
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July 11th, 2012, 22:32
They still have South Park, I think, and are a small team. Once SP is out, they might try the kickstarter waters.

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July 12th, 2012, 05:21
I think kickstarter is a great tool, especailly if you want a niche game to be made. There are still games being added every day, not as many high profile ones, but it could also be because of the time of the year. Perhaps some are waiting until after the holiday season.

I love the kickstarter website and have like 10 games funded.

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July 12th, 2012, 13:14
an android console kickstarter just made like $2 million in 2 days, so guess next will be kickstarters for games for the console
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July 12th, 2012, 16:28
I disagree with both of his points: 1. a major flop will turn people away from Kickstarter' 2. oversaturation of Kickstarter projects will hurt small developers.

1. Kickstarter games are making money hand-over-tit (I'm not saying they're all successful, but there are now a couple dozen games already funded that had no hope through regular channels). One or two flops don't concern me at all. This is a whole new business model and I highly doubt it's going to go away soon.

2. It has always been hard for small developers, and they've always had to be good at PR. Let's say it gets harder in future to get noticed on Kickstarter. So what? What's the alternative, not doing Kickstarter? If you choose not to go that route for funding, you're no worse off than you were a year ago.

KS is a major new funding opportunity for talented developers. There are ZERO downsides to the service.

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July 12th, 2012, 17:44
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
1. Kickstarter games are making money hand-over-tit (I'm not saying they're all successful, but there are now a couple dozen games already funded that had no hope through regular channels). One or two flops don't concern me at all. This is a whole new business model and I highly doubt it's going to go away soon.
I think major fail won't kill kickstarter but people will become more skeptical and as result amount of pledges will drop on mid/high level and as result of that nearly all devs will have to have playable demo or at least gameplay videos.
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
2. It has always been hard for small developers, and they've always had to be good at PR. Let's say it gets harder in future to get noticed on Kickstarter. So what? What's the alternative, not doing Kickstarter? If you choose not to go that route for funding, you're no worse off than you were a year ago.
Yes but I think that some of project that can find publisher willing to fund them rush to kickstarter and compete with projects that can't.Don't get me wrong I think kickstarter is great idea but I think there is still place for publisher funded indie games.
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July 12th, 2012, 18:04
The problem I see isn't the flops but the easy way to steal money or at the very least pay yourself money that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

My examples to better understand what I mean:
1. Project seeks funding on kickstarter. Shows cool video of supposed ingame graphics. Asks for x dollars. Gets 3 times that. Project never sees light of day. Supposed developers explain the money wasn't enough. In the mean time they lived of off that money for free. There are no checks and balances.

2. Project gets funded. Developers open a forum and then disappear.

Got tired of typing on my phone do my examples don't seem so good anymore…
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July 12th, 2012, 18:57
There are still great games being funded there, but it hasn't been serious "heavy-weight" projects there like in the start with Shadowrun or Wasteland.

Let's not forget Wasteland was a giganticly popular game, and ofc its sucessor would draw massive interest in it (and it did). So was Shadowrun. Both are giant names in the book of PC gamming.

There hasn't been such names in a long time.


But, even small projects are still being funded, a few days ago a game was funded there with $ 330.000 (Dead State). Granted 330k is not 1 million dollars like in the starting days, but let's not compare the scope of the projects then and now.
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July 13th, 2012, 09:59
Kickstarter will be fantastic to see if the backed projects are held to different standards from published projects.


I wonder what people call a major flop for a Kickstarter project.

If the usual standards are applied, the only major flop the gaming communauty could point at, is a non released game.

I dont fear unreleased games when it comes to kickstarter funded games. They might happen with overambitious teams who actually progress well in the game developpment, miscalculate developpment time, keep adding more and more features and in the end end with non mergeable versions of games.

Other than that, kickstarter funded studios will release, just like most of the rest of the industry, late alpha/beta versions. Which cant be called a major flop as it is the common trend and very few players call every release a major flop.

On to supposedly included game features, gameplay, it is the same. The industry is now accustomed to promise features, gameplay that is not included in the commercial version, or even remove features compared to demos or release versions through patching sequences.

Once again, hard to see what a major flop could be relatively to promised game features, gameplay.

Will they be hold to different standards? Will monitor this as small studios could be hold to higher standards, gamers demanding more from them, while gamers being lax on major studios.

Could be helpful to see where the balance of power is, with players playing tyranical with small studios while being helpless with major studios.
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July 13th, 2012, 10:18
I still fear most will end up being piss poor to be honest. When has ever a software project of any kind managed to stay within the estimates? "We need X money" - no, they probably need X*5 or some such thing. Project estimates are extremely unreliable when it comes to computer systems and games.

I do think we'll get some good games out of this though, games that wouldn't have been developed otherwise, but I really do think most will fall flat on their faces without further backing.
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July 13th, 2012, 13:12
Just like for many other video games. They will scale with the amount of money they are funded.

I expect nothing different from the general industry, only games funded with less money, with the scaling down that comes unavoidably with it.
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July 13th, 2012, 16:35
Originally Posted by KnightPT View Post
There are still great games being funded there, but it hasn't been serious "heavy-weight" projects there like in the start with Shadowrun or Wasteland.
POSSIBLY great games. We're seeing the hype for the game before development has even started on most of these. How many games that sounded great right up to release turn out to be crap? And we only see the ones that (mostly) get finished.

And the heavy weight projects all seem to be re-dos. It will be interesting to see if some really major (as in lots of $$$) project gets funded and turns out something good.
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July 14th, 2012, 08:46
Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun are already successes. Hard to see the fans of these kind of projects bashing them down, no matter the quality of the games.
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July 14th, 2012, 10:26
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun are already successes. Hard to see the fans of these kind of projects bashing them down, no matter the quality of the games.
Depends I've seen fans to loyal, fickle, and outright entitled. I agree with Lar on his post. Kick starter is a good idea but time will tell if the games are a success after release.

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