With video game development continuing to rise as time goes on we continue to see studios flourish in the market from big to small developers. The bigger name companies such as Nintendo, Xbox, and EA will continue to push out high quality and highly funded projects, the smaller studios and projects are starting to get creative with how their products get to the players. A trend that is becoming common practice in video game development is the use of crowd-sourcing platforms like Kickstarter.
Kickstarter describes itself as a public benefit corporation that hosts global crowdfunding initiatives with a mission to support creative projects. Some example projects that Kickstarter support are films, music, stage shows, comics, technology, and video games. The general model of what a Kickstarter campaign looks like is varying levels of backers with varying levels of rewards or incentives to the amounts that each individual is backing.
One project that was supported through Kickstarter is the remaster of the game Wonderful 101. This is a game that was released for the Wii U in 2013 and being brought back in 2020. It is an action adventure game that has the player in control of a group or “horde” of characters and they are utilized to complete various tasks throughout the game, from beating bosses, solving puzzles, or navigating the environment. This game made use of the touch pad that the Wii U pioneered for console systems at that time. In the remastered version it will be available for the Switch console and with varying levels of support from the community it has plans to develop versions for Steam, PS4, and several additional levels and game modes.
Much like traditional Kickstarter campaigns, there are several rewards for the varying levels of donation, which gives an incentive for how much is given by one single donor with the base level pledge being rewarded with a digital copy of the game. While there are certain rules and stipulations to Kickstarter, this has proven to be a success for the Wonderful 101 franchise.
Another example of a studio using Kickstarter to fund their game is Beautiful Desolation. This is a game, made by the creators of Stasis, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that shows the crumbled society with a mix of technology here and there. This is a point and click adventure game that is a great example of what crowd-sourcing can support as they have shown stunning graphics and consistent previews of what players can expect in the game.
The big takeaway from this trend is that there are many ways that developers are starting to get creative in how their projects come to life, there are the traditional ways that involve working with established studios and then there are these independent ways such as crowd-sourcing that can help you see your craft realized. It’s important to look into all of your options when creating and know that sometimes its OK to break away from tradition.