Crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter are quite the polarizing topic in the video game industry as of late.
Kickstarter allows for developers and small studios to obtain the necessary budget to get a title off the ground. On the other hand, backers have been misled in the past by those requesting funding. However, there has been a positive trajectory of developers making good on their promises as of late. Broken Age, Mighty No. 9, and Amplitude are just a few of the titles that have made their way out of the nebulous Kickstarter phase.
Now that a standard has been established, Kickstarter is allowing for some miraculous things. First, I’d like to explain why I feel that Kickstarter is a necessary entity in the modern gaming atmosphere. Games like Call of Duty and companies like Ubisoft are often knocked for playing it safe and scarcely innovating with their games. While this is true, I do not believe this is with malicious intent. Over the last few years, middle-tier games have vanished. Gamers are given two types of games now. First is the big budget triple-A titles. Second is the smaller digital titles. These two are the only ones who have survived the tumultuous form of the gaming industry for very clear reasons. Big budget games stick to a formula. Chances are often not taken because of the money that goes into these games. Publishers need to guarantee a profit in order to cover the costs of development. This means that they need to appeal to the already existent fanbase. Smaller titles are capable of taking chances because of smaller budgets and not needing to sell 10-15 million copies in order to pay its workers.
Enter Kickstarter. Kickstarter traditionally has been used to gather the funding necessary for the development of a project. Mighty No. 9 is a perfect example. Presumably fed up with the state of Capcom, Megaman creator Keiji Inafune and his team took to Kickstarter to find funding for their next project. Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual successor to the Megaman series due out this September. Many fans have felt shunned by Capcom. In addition to a generally nonexistent flow of games, specifically, the lack of Megaman games, arguably one of their most well-known properties,in the last decade has been astonishing. Via Kickstarter, the very developer of the Megaman series is able to create a product that will quench the desires of the long-time fans of the series. In a situation like this, Capcom, for whatever reason, felt that it wasn’t worth it pursuing the development of a Megaman game for quite some time. Kickstarter allowed for that issue, in a way, to be circumvented. Another identical scenario comes by way of Koji Igarashi. Igarashi was a long-time producer of the Castlevania series. Castlevania and Konami have had a similar track record as Capcom and Megaman. A beloved series has been, essentially, abandoned for unknown reasons. This also prompted a veteran developer of the series to make a homage to this untapped vein of excellence.
The list continues with games like Yooka-Laylee,
a homage to the long-dominant Banjo-Kazooie franchise, and Red Ash, an embodiment of the well-received Megaman Legends series. The moral of the story is that crowdfunding services allows passionate game developers to bring long-desired titles into reality and fill the void of the mid-tier game that has been absent for so long.