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Default Wasteland 2 - Colin McComb on Kickstarter Fatigue

November 27th, 2012, 18:51
I've file this under Wasteland 2 because the comments come from designer Colin McComb but they really relate to Kickstarter. A few days back indie developer Cliff Harris wrote about his perception of Kickstarter's drawbacks…
Gamers say they hate in-game product placement and advertising. It compromises the game design for the sake of money. I agree. So why are we deciding that the best way to name our planets or design the appearance of our NPCís is to put that part of game design up for auction? Why should gamers who are wealthy get more influence over a game that those who flip burgers for a living? The cold hard economic reality of the real world is bad enough without shoehorning it into games too.
…and Colin McComb has responded with his thoughts:
3. TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER: Most traditional publishers wonít touch a game of the size Kickstarters generally fund. Brian Fargo got almost $3 million for his Kickstarter. 61,000 backers. How does this compare to Black Ops 2? 11,220,000 in the first week. Thereís just no comparison to that scale. There is no reason for a publisher to look at the numbers for WL2 Ė a non-console game Ė and think that they need to start considering funding similar games. This is a blip on their radar. Consider: Halo 4 had a budget of over $100 million. $3 million is practically an accounting error. Itís a few months of development time. Why would a publisher turn away from their lucrative franchises and blockbusters to develop an indie game?
4. CROWDFUNDING: That brings us to the last option: crowdfunding. While itís certainly admirable to want to open the gameís possibilities to all backers, no matter how much or how little they contribute, itís a simple fact of human behavior that people want to get value for what they put in. Telling someone who contributes $10,000 that they can have a downloadable copy and a special digital pet is not going to motivate themÖ especially if someone who contributes $20 gets exactly the same thing. Consider: if you back a project at $20, donít you want to know that youíre getting more bang for that than a $5 backer? I donít know how to incentivize a higher-level backer other than offering them something that is not available to the lower-contributing tiers.
Sure, it might be a little strange to see names in the game and know that they came from wealthier patrons Ė but is that worse than *not* knowing where design decisions came from? And more: the names in a game are hardly real design decisions. They are essentially window dressing. They are not dialogue structures. They are not combat mechanics. For the most part, they do not fundamentally alter gameplay.
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