Double Fine's attempt at securing funding for an adventure game that everybody seemingly wants has resulted in a massive crowdsourcing success story in less than a day. It sure didn't hurt that you could basically pre-order a game you trusted to be good, made by the people who are icons in their genre, for the price of what the game would likely end up being. Even if Double Fine Adventure ends up being $10 when it's released, you receive an intriguing insight into its development for an extra $5.
As developers and publishers scratch their heads wondering what this means for the years ahead, we decided to make their lives a little easier. Here are a few titles we'd love to see funded in a similar fashion. Games that are hard to find publisher funding for, even if fans would sacrifice their firstborn to see them realized.
[Image by Kelly Snapka]
It's not a widely-known fact, but PR people for Relic studios constantly have to remind the press not to ask about a potential new Homeworld game, and instead concentrate on whatever Warhammer 40K-related thing they're working on at present. Even nine years on, that's how well-regarded the games are. And with few exceptions, they've yet to be equaled. I would absolutely love to see the lessons Relic has learned from Dawn of War and Company of Heroes and even Space Marine applied to a game set in the Age of S'jet.
Volition Space Shooter
I think we've all reconciled ourselves with the fact that a new Freespace title by Volition is just not going to happen. THQ is not in any position to fund a risky niche title for the foreseeable future, and then there is the whole IP ownership thing. Funding and the right environment, not lack of interest, has always been a key obstacle for such a game, and there's no reason why fans of PC space combat sims wouldn't jump on it given the opportunity. I'm sure Mad Catz would also be happy to release a few branded joysticks to match.
A Volition Space Shooter doesn't even have to a full-fledged title. Smaller and mid-sized games thrive on the digital distribution platforms, and once you have a successful title it becomes a lot easier to make another one. After all, if publishers love anything, it's a franchise with as many sequels you can get away with. As for the IP rights issue for Freespace, I don't think we are that attached to that universe. As long as it's by Volition, plays mostly the same, and we get to shoot at giant capital ships in space, we'll play it.
When Ensemble Studios closed, it shattered into a few studios. Two of them which shall not be named were later acquired by Zynga for their respective Words with Friends and We Farm. A third, Windstorm Studios, made Atomic City Adventures. So that leaves Robot Entertainment, with their Orcs Must Die! and Hero Academy success stories, as the only remnant of Ensemble worth mentioning.
Because it's clear that they still have a lot of talent when it comes to different approaches to strategy, it's about time they returned to their RTS roots. The past two games have made different types of audiences familiar with the studio name, something that will help immensely in spreading the word required for a successful crowdfunding endeavor. And who would argue against even a bite-sized or mid-priced strategy game from some of the people who gave us Age of Empires and Age of Mythology?
Mega Man Legends 3
Seeing as Capcom fans quickly drummed up $2,000 need to convince someone to release a crappy, unreleased version of Resident Evil for the Game Boy Color, I think it's safe to bet that there is a financial well there that's just waiting to be tapped. If Capcom were to start taking hand outs towards funding the development of Capcom vs. SNK 3, Darkstalkers 4, Strider 3, or Mega Man Legends 3, they'd find themselves swimming in money in no time.
My other thought is that the ever growing legions of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Regular Show, and Adventure Time fans would be more than willing to shell out cash up front for the promise of a game based on their respective, beloved cartoon program.
If they really want to make cash fast, they should make all the games dating sims. There are hundreds of thousands of affluent young Americans who desperately want to see Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen have a lover's quarrel, leading to the inevitable make-up and make-out. There are even more who would do anything to attend an all night virtual cuddle party with the likes of Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle.
Furries -- it's like money in the bank.
A new Maniac Mansion game
Technically, this could be what Tim Schafer is giving us, but it's doubtful. Day of the Tentacle (technically Maniac Mansion 2) is my favorite point-and-click adventure game of all time, so seeing a new game set in this same universe would make my head explode from happiness.
Purple Tentacle 4 life!
As Tony Ponce pointed out to me, we would need a Mother compilation and localized release of Mother 3 first, but why don't we just get all of those and Mother 4?! IT CAN BE A MOTHER EXTRAVAGANZA!
This needs to happen.
A new 2D Metroid game just seriously needs to happen.
Mirror's Edge 2
I know DICE isn't exactly an indie studio, but man, I would love to see a sequel to Mirror's Edge. Sure, it was a divisive and flawed game that definitely didn't live up to its hype or potential. But the videogame industry is all about iteration: new IPs don't always succeed initially, but if given the chance, talented developers can build on on good-but-not-great games to make tremendous sequels that make us all forget about how mediocre the first game may have been.
Major franchises like Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, and Uncharted all began with decent-to-good titles, and with their respective sequels, they blossomed into some of the most beloved series of this console generation. Mirror's Edge had a unique concept and captivating art design, but fell short in bringing those elements together in a complete experience. I imagine a lot of folks would be willing to give DICE money for another try.