Wasteland 2 could be the epitome of why publishers do not need to have power over game development, first announced on Kickstarter in April 2012, video game designer Brian Fargo talked about the new sequel and how he decided to take the crowd-funding route over picking a publisher.
What Fargo also did was open the minds of millions of fans, who loved the original 1998 Wasteland, known as the predecessor to the Fallout series Black Isle Studios worked on for several years. Fargo wanted to go back and create a whole new experience, sticking to the same PC format original gamers know and love, while appealing to newer audiences similar to Fallout 3.
Making it Big on Kickstarter
The formula for making it big on Kickstarter is still unknown to a lot of people making projects for the crowdfunding website, but when it comes to video games having a well known development studio or IP that was popular decades ago helps.
Project Eternity, Broken Age and Might No.9 are three of the biggest games funded on Kickstarter, they all have faces who are recognised as kings of the gaming industry, like Keiji Inafune from Mega Man, Double Fine Studios and Black Isle Studios.
Wasteland 2 fits into this area of well known IP and faces in the gaming industry and is probably the main reason the Kickstarter achieved just shy of $3,000,000 in funding, making it one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time.
Making A Game
Making a Kickstarter is easy, it’s backing up the campaign with an actual good product that is hard to achieve. We have seen many products, including very popular Kickstarters like Ouya, fall flat once they get into the public.
Wasteland 2 still isn’t actually “out” but it is available on Steam Early Access for £34.99, the developers at inXile Entertainment are actively working on bugs, but the brunt of the game has been completed and they are looking to announce an official release date in a few months.
Early Alpha and Beta reviews are pretty good, although most recommend waiting until the finished product before actively playing the game, since the narration and storyline will only be great once, similar to Fallout and other RPG adventure games.
Wasteland 2 has a lot of features that appeal to older audiences who love PC gaming. It doesn’t do a Fallout 3 and make the world run on the same engine Elder Scrolls did and it doesn’t take away the core experience of the original Wasteland.
This could be Wasteland 2’s biggest downfall in terms of selling on Steam, while the core audience from the original Wasteland and fans of Fallout 1 and 2 may be into the game, we are not sure the younger audience on PC will be particular hyped for this game.
Is Kickstarter a Viable Solution?
Wasteland 2 has shown how Kickstarter is a way to step away from publishers and we are starting to see indie developers move towards Kickstarter, instead of other routes like Xbox Live Arcade or Steam Greenlight.
The issue with Kickstarter is the gamble on success, grabbing an audience is hard enough and for games, it means having people who have decades of experience in game development and have a reputation for incredible titles.
If a new indie company springs onto Kickstarter, they will need to pitch small. Pitching for millions of dollars without previous experience will leave people questioning how this game could be possible and will be a big failure for the company.