Devin Tripp, from Grapevine, Texas, says he is 20 years old. His is not the first name that springs to mind when you're thinking of development of a new Star Wars "open world RPG". Nevertheless, Tripp — who is "not a very good programmer" and "an even worse artist" — has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Star Wars Open World RPG, a game he promises "will have the graphics of Battlefront or better with the feel of The Witcher 3".
I've seen a lot of people making fun of Devin on Twitter. I mean, yes, a campaign like this is hopelessly naive, and displays a stunning lack of understanding of even the basics of stuff like copyright law (not to mention the complexity of game development).
There are problems with his proposed rewards (with no difference between the $US5 and $US10 pledge). There are problems with his spelling ("obi one kinobi").
But read this:
I am currently looking into talking with Disney if I am able to do this. If not then there might have to be a compromise on the name or some other parts. I need your help. I am not a very good programmer, and I'm an even worst artist. I want to put this project into the hands of professionals, but in order to do that I need money to hire them. This was my dream as a kid I hope you can share my same compassion, thank you.
I know a lot of you reading had the same dream. Hell, I did; for a long time as a kid/teen, my fantasy game was X-Wing vs Dark Forces (working title), a game where (in my head) you could land a starfighter and get out for some shooting/RPG action across the Star Wars universe.
Thing is, I did nothing about it.
So what if Devin's asking for $US200,000 ($279,867) and his spelling sucks? What some will call a fraud or just laugh at, I see as a guy who maybe doesn't know any better getting off his arse and doing something about one of his dreams, regardless of how futile his efforts will likely end up. After all, all Devin is doing is asking for money; he's not the guy actually donating their cash, like it was some kind of internet joke (and people are donating; the pledged amount is jumping up by a few thousand bucks every time I refresh the page).
I asked Devin about his Kickstarter, and he said "I'm a little scared on the legality of this. If I do not receive the go-ahead from Disney, then I am not sure what I will do. I'm not even sure if i am allowed to make a Kickstarter with their name. I guess I will find out."
He also tells me that he has a little experience coding, having made "a couple apps on the android app store and some programs using java", and that both the Kickstarter campaign and $US200,000 funding request haven't just been settled on randomly, as he's been inspired by projects like Shenmue 3, which used Kickstarter as a springboard for further funding elsewhere.
Not that the $US200,000 (or the people donating to him) matters, since Disney's lawyerbots have no doubt already been alerted. But until the moment comes that they shut it all down, I hope — if this isn't some kind of bizarre, saccharine fraud — Devin can live at least part of his dream, even if it's only for another day or two.