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1:05 AM on 07.25.2015

How to Ruin a Kickstarter Game Campaign!

Hi! So you want to ruin a videogame Kickstarter campaign, do ya? Well, follow these steps and your sure-fire, high profile project could cling to life support and risk missing your minimum funding target!

  • Take a classic console gaming series series with a supportive fanbase rabid for a sequel and launch your campaign with only the PC as your target platform. Once your campaign is a week into fund raising, throw out a vague poll asking what platform your potential backers would like to play on. By doing this, backers can be unsure if they'll have access to your game at all! Once enough vocal fans speak out and your poll results show a clear console favorite choice, announce it as a stretch goal. This way, even with your trend towards missing even the minimum funding, those console fans can be even more unsure of the possibility of getting the game they want on their console choice.
  • When describing your game, explain that the Kickstarter funding will not be enough to realize the full vision of your title. Talk about it's size and scope of the project, and how much planning has gone into the overall experience. Once you've built up enough interest, explain that the Kickstarter campaign is only for a "prologue" of that experience, and with the minimum funding goal, all the features you want to include won't be possible and you'll need to scale back from this goal. Use descriptive words like "small" when explaining this prologue to wow potential supporters.
  • Once things start trending towards missing your goal, promise an additional future portion of game unrelated to the game that is currently being funded as an "upgrade" for current backers. Set a firm time table so that anyone interested has a chance to miss the message because you continue to send out daily "updates" with useless information about the project. Once time has passed, explain anyone at the $79 level or higher will get both the currently funding title, and the vague unsecured future portion. Yes, $79 is more than the average full-scale retail release, and in your confusing charts and graphs you can show that this is of questionable value. This should shake a lot of confidence for would-be backers.
  • If you can, simultaneously run a separate Kickstarter for an animated companion project related to your game. Don't wait for the game campaign to be over so that potential backers can gauge the scope of the project or allow a bundled tier to get both the game and animation in one go. This would only allow for extra support for the project, and would deter from ruining your chances for success.

 

  • Bonus points: If you have a previously successful high-profile campaign, don't wait for that project to be released before starting your new campaign. If you can, wait until 2 months before that project is going to release so any buzz or positive reviews  or discussion from that title can't benefit your campaign. You'll be able to undermine your own free publicity and jeopardize the success of your project even further! Remember, you want to limit your potential so stretch goals are never on the table, and minimum funding is just out of reach!



On a totally different note, be sure to check out Kenji Inafune and Comcepts latest Kickstarter campaign for the spiritual successor to Mega Man Legends! 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/red-ash-the-indelible-legend

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5:44 PM on 06.17.2015

Interesting Co-Developments: A Different Thought For Nintendo Fans

Interesting Nintendo Co-Developments

 

This year, it wasn’t a surprise at all that Nintendo’s E3 showing was a let down. I’ve been soured by Nintendo’s decision making for years. They are making money, and can technically be considered successful, but they’ve lost any kind of favor with a majority of longtime gamers like myself. Now, before you think you’ve read this rant before, and that you think I am just going to bash these newer games, you’re wrong. I am here to unite BOTH sides. My question is; Why can’t Nintendo continue with the new AND maintain the classics? 

To start things off, lets look at some of the NEW developments from E3 2015:

  • Nintendo announced Star Fox Zero, a new take and advancement on the Star Fox Formula from the SNES and N64. The game is being co-developed between Nintendo and Platinum Games.
  • Nintendo announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force. The game is being developed with Next Level Games and overseen by Nintendo’s Yoshihito Ikebata and Ryuichi Nakada.
  • Nintendo announced unique Amiibo’s will be compatible in the new Skylanders Superchargers. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions and is only a partnership for Activision’s game.

Here is some of the big news from E3 2014:

  • Nintendo announced Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. The game is developed by Bandai Namco Games.
  • Nintendo announced Bayonetta 2. The game is developed by Platinum Games.

If you don’t see where I am going with this, A significant amount of Nintendo’s catalog of games over the last 5 years or so has been co-developments with partnerships from various 3rd party studios. Here’s a few more for you to keep in mind; Metroid: Other M by Koei Tecmo, Yoshi's Woolly World by Good-Feel, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze by Monster Games, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon by Next Level Games. It goes on and on… This is fine, the fact that 3rd parties are lending a hand is great even. New takes on classic Nintendo characters and games by fresh teams. They all haven’t been winners, but it’s helped pad their catalog and build a larger library of releases, right? 



Nintendo's current lineup for major releases over the next year. 13 titles on Wii U, only 4 developed by internal studios.
Nintendo's current lineup for major releases over the next year. 13 titles on Wii U, only 4 developed by internal studios.


 

Not so much… Nintendo continues to put out a similar number of titles each year, but if a lot of these games are being farmed out to 3rd party studios, what are all the internal Nintendo R&D teams and 2nd parties doing? Where are any of the games these teams should be working on? If the internal groups are free from making these “unwanted” newer games, couldn’t these core teams still make the “main” or more traditional advancement on the classic series that us older fans love?

I am curious to know what the deal is. From what I know, Nintendo houses nearly a thousand developers and designers in its Kyoto and Tokyo offices, plus their second party groups like Intelligent Systems, Retro Studios, Monolith Soft and more. Shouldn’t it be possible to have a greater output of games of ALL styles if Nintendo is going to continue to expand its co-development deals with other studios? If Metroid Prime: Federation Force isn’t looking like the “core” Prime title you want it to be, why not have Retro Studios continue developing the next version of Metroid Prime? If HAL Laboratory isn’t working on Super Smash Bros., couldn’t they make the next big Kirby game now? If they aren’t developing games internally, where did all the developers go? You’ve got jobs for them, Nintendo. We could all be happy!

What do you think?

 

-Darren!
@darrenhupke

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9:53 PM on 06.15.2015

The PlayStation Announcements You Shouldn't Forget

Wow, Sony, thanks for the wall to wall games. The Last Guardian. Final Fantasy VII Remake. Assassins's Creed. Star Wars Batlefront. Uncharted 4. I will be talking about none of those games in this post, because why should I? Those marketing budgets will cram so much video, previews, screen shots and pre-order bonus items down our throats over the next 6 months, it'll be hard to forget those. There were a couple games inbetween that Sony brought to the big stage, the ones between the AAA's, THOSE are the games we should be keeping at the front of our minds. I'll break down a few of the stand outs here.

FIREWATCH

Firewatch is a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. The gameplay video started with some humor and banter with some "safe" visuals, but then things got a little weird and the dialog got tense quick. The trailer ends like solid teaser for a TV series of film, and I am immediatly interested. This is a new developer, Campo Santo, and it's their first game. I will be following this for it's simple introduction and feel, but high production values. Look at their website for more: Campo Santo FIREWATCH page.

CROSSING SOULS

These next few games were packed into one sizzle reel because they are all from indie game publishing god-send, Devolver Digital. Crossing Souls has a great nostalgic feel for late 80's/early 90's kids. This description is direct from the publisher's site: "It’s 1986 in California and a group of friends will live the summer of their lives after a mysterious discovery in woods outside their quiet town.". The reason I am following this with excitment it because I am getting an adult-style, Earthbound-ish feel from it. That is an amazing feeling to have, trust me. I can remember playing outside and pretending with my brother that things like this happened to us... Follow it.

EITR

Eiter. Isometric pixel action RPG. Looks to be filled with tight combat and randomly generated looting. Games like this get me hooked, and it's got a fantasticly drawn, almost OVER-animated, pixel art look. Am I sensing a Bloodborne-esque, Titan Souls-esque gameplay. Could be a frustrating grind, but that isn't a complaint. I'll be keeping my eye on this for more info.

MOTHER RUSSIA BLEEDS

Check out this Beat-em-up. This is a line-crossing, gore filed, violent action game. Devolver also published (one of my favorite games of all-time) Hotline Miami, and this looks like Hotline Miami meets Final Fight. A hard M rating is likely to be stamped on this one. Very gritty looking. The story set up is this "Set in an alternate U.S.S.R, the story focuses on an imprisoned antihero with a crippling drug addiction as he breaks free and barrels down a journey of hate-filled vengeance.". Come on! Sold! Le Cartel Studio is the developer, and they've approached this genre as fans. I can't wait to see more.

Sony E3 2015

Sony brought out a lot of expected, and plenty of unexcpected, and showed they really like to be a solid partner with developers and publishers of all sizes. I am very much looking forward to more titles like these on the show floor and online in the next few days. What did you think? Tweet at me @darrenhupke, I'd love to chat!

-Darren!
@darrenhupke

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2:35 PM on 06.15.2015

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility, The REAL Deal; UPDATED

E3 2015 is here, and so that means overreactions to announcements will be filling our Facebook and Twitter feeds all week. I'd like to take some time to bring a realistic look at select announcements (along with the excitement that followed them) and bring some people back down to Earth.  

Xbox One System

First up, Microsoft, and more specifically, the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility announcement. This feature, on paper, is huge... if it were 2013. Is it worth getting excited over and rushing out to buy that Xbox One? Ease up, cowboy. Put the keys down. Take a minute and think with me about this. Let's start with the fine print, and not just the headline. The promise is that 100 titles will be playable by Xmas. Is that a lot? 100 sure sounds like a lot, but how many games are on the 360 right now? 1,139. Yes, you read that right, and with some simple math, you can see that by Xmas, you'll have access to less than 10% of the entire 360 library. That's not a whole lot of games. 

This generation took the "enhanced edition" trend and ran with it. If you were looking forward to playing Halo, Borderlands, Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider, Gears of War, Dishonored or any other late released/popular title from the last generation, they have Xbox One collections and "enhanced editions" already out, or current releases of popular fracnchises already available (i.e. Madden, Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc.). So who is this announcement for and who is really going to care? Is your copy of Sneak King worth playing over any of the other new titles coming later this year?

If if this was an announcement made prior to the launch of the system, this could have saved a number of fans from jumping ship and making the PS4 their first (and maybe only) next gen system purchase. Even is the software emulation is a time consuming process, having a monthly update adding a few more games each time would have helped the first year drought that always comes with new hardware post launch, and this generation was significantly slow when it came to first year titles. Right now, though, we are in a good groove of releases and it'll only increase from here on. Is it even worth it at this point? It seems to me that this announcement is more for a features bullet point on the back of the box and to stir up false excitement for people who've yet to make the jump. At the end of the day, it won't benefit early adoptors, and it really isn't worth getting excited over for new buyers because of th enhanced ports already available.

Stay tuned for more posts as more announcements are made!

UPDATE:

Microsoft has posted a list of titles available now to preview members. The list is far from the promised 100 titles ready by the end of the year, but if their header image is to be assumed as a sampling of other titles soon to be added, Microsoft has done some redundant work. With the Master Chief Collection now available, why make Halo one of the few playable titles? Same thing for Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata and the Banjo titles, those will be in the cheaply priced Rare Replay compilation. Borderlands? Updated and enhanced on Xbox One. Have a look below and tell me what you think.

Available games

Initial preview titles with more to come. Games are subject to change.

A Kingdom for Keflings

A World of Keflings

Alien Hominid HD

Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Tooie

BattleBlock Theater

Defense Grid

Geometry Wars Evolved

Hexic HD

Jetpac Refuelled

Kameo

Mass Effect

N+

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark Zero

Small Arms

Super Meat Boy

Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers: Cold War

Viva Piñata

Viva Piñata: TIP

Zuma

 

-Darren!
@darrenhupke

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