Kickstarter may be the closest thing we have to democracy in game development. Although gamers, in a sense, always vote with their wallets, Kickstarter lets them feel integral to the game development process by directly funding games. The results have been excellent: From Kickstarter funding, we've gotten knockout titles like Hyper Light Drifter, Pillars of Eternity and Kentucky Route Zero. On Sunday, Prey for the Gods, a Shadow of the Colossus-inspired action survival game, was funded with over $US500,000 ($651,925) on the crowdfunding platform.
Note: all goal totals have been converted into Australian dollars from their various currencies, and were accurate at the time of writing.
Below are five live Kickstarter campaigns for video games that I'd play the crap out of. Many are already funded, but offer excellent "stretch goals," like co-op racing or customisable maps. Who knows -- maybe one of these games will be the next indie darling.
Pledged: $212,828 of their $186,573 goal
Days to go: 22
One-sentence description: "A fast-paced multiplayer Arena FPS set in a colourful robot universe developed by former Quake and esport professionals."
Why we like it: Because of their familiarity with Quake, Diabotical's developers strove to make a similar, but more accessible game for players of multiple skill levels. It will also offer multi-user map-making and make modding easy -- fun add-ons for a traditional-style Arena FPS.
Pledged: $21,044 of their $9058 goal
Days to go: 10
One-sentence description: "PC game about Emergency Services - Answer emotional 911 calls, give First Aid Instructions, play on ANY CITY in the world!"
Why we like it: The game apparently simulates the emotional labour of being a 911 dispatcher. Players will manage emergency services, give first-aid instructions and handle bomb threats, all while struggling through callers' emotional needs during emergencies. In one instance, a caller acts as if she's ordering a pizza to prevent an armed assailant from overhearing her call the cops.
Pledged: $47,932 of their $9777 goal
Days to go: 12
One-sentence description: "A fourth wall breaking RPG where the hero slowly realises that you, the player, exist."
Why we like it: GLITCHED's developers say that the JRPG-style game will unravel, slowly getting crazier as the player makes more decisions for the protagonist. As the character's personality and morality shifts, the world around them will change. Also, the graphics are really cute!
Pledged: $15,098 of their $26,074 goal
Days to go: 23
One-sentence description: "Close Your is the first game to use your webcam to track your blinking, telling a story of a life literally flashing before your eyes."
Why we like it: The game shows touching vignettes of an average person's life, from life to marriage to death, which last as long as players keep their eyes open. The game mechanics seem to perfectly convey its emotional affect.
Pledged: $60,093 of their $57,971 goal
Days to go: Finished!
One-sentence description: "A story-driven nonlinear point and click adventure set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world."
Why we like it: Columnae's gorgeous, shadowy art style is compelling, but its plot seems to really shine: It's set after an environmental catastrophe that made air on the Earth's surface unbreathable. While the rich thrive in a pillar-mounted sky settlement, the poor are trying to escape the surface. Developers also boast about the game's replayability, since it's got a nonlinear plot.