So today I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. A couple of games that I really enjoy by companies I really like are headed into an initial round of crowd funding. They tick all the boxes of the things I look for in a project I would consider backing. The two bigs ones being 1) Being made by a company I trust who 2) have successfully completed a crowd funding project in the past. But I think they fall short in one very key thing, but I'm getting ahead of myself a little. What games are these?
The Banner Saga 3 - We did a game corner on the first game in this series. And this is the LAST game of the trilogy. I can't wait to see how the story wraps up. This is a small indie studio in Austin, Texas. And their games are beautiful.
Pillars of Eternity 2 - This is a quasi-retro-game. It's a throwback to the Baldur's Gate games and the other D&D games of that same era. Isometric, party-based, quasi-RTS. It's made by Obsidian, a decent sized studio. It's a labor of love for them, but they are a much larger studio. They have a history of great games. Even the ones that get super rushed by publishers and end up being a little buggy...
So the things that make me hesitant to back them are relatively simple, but leave me with something to ponder about the state of gaming right now.
First thing is, both of these games are going to get funded. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion. Right now Banner Saga 3 (at the time of writing) is 79% funded of its $200,000 with 39 days to go. Pillars of Eternity 2 is 89% funded of its $1,100,000 goal. They're both going to hit goal. Probably by the end of the weekend. Definitely by next week.
This brings a cost analysis into play. If I supper love the game and want to pay full price for it and play it day one? Totally worth funding. $30 will net you a copy of Pillars of Eternity 2 in Q1 of 2018, $20 will net you a copy of Banner Saga 3 at the end of 2018. Of note: if you add $20 to your pledge for Banner Saga, you will get copies of their first two games to complete the trilogy. Something to consider if you're interested in the series. But if your plate is full, and you just want to play it at some point, and maybe you want to wait for it to go on sale... maybe it's better to wait? I mean, the game isn't coming out until next year at the soonest.
Second is the choice of crowdfunding platform. Banner Saga is on Kickstarter (where their first campaign was run), Pillars of Eternity 2 is on Fig. As I've mentioned on the podcast a couple times, I'm not a fan of Fig. Something about it just rubs me the wrong way. It's the fact that some of the people involved behind the scenes of Fig ran big famous kickstarter campaigns, and now they don't want to give KS a cut, so they started their own site. And some of the site policies are sketchy at best. So I'm super hesitant to donate anything to any project on Fig.
Third is taking a step back and thinking about whether either of these companies actually NEED my money to finish the game. That's the whole point of crowd funding, right? "We have this dream, and we've put our all into it, and now we just need some help from you to make this all become reality!" Pillars of Eternity 2 does not. I can pretty safely say that. Mid Tier studio making a sequel to a successful game. It has a huge budget and they're going to hit it and several major stretch goals. Whether I throw in my $30 or not.
The Banner Saga 3? That's something to seriously consider for me. Their budget is small, just like the first game. Their studio is small. I know my contribution will matter more. I know that pushing that funding total higher will result in them being able to make a much better game. More polish and a better wrap to the series. It's also a somewhat successful series, but it's still a small studio. The first game did so well that they didn't have to crowd fund Banner Saga 2. Which is awesome. The fact that they're asking for help for the 3rd game shows me that I can actually make a difference. In the end, that is one of the appeals of crowd funding. Helping an indie studio live the dream. So maybe I'll go take a look at their pledge tiers and see if there's something that really appeals to me.
How about you, what do you look for in a crowd funding campaign? What makes you jump on the band wagon? What makes you hesitate? Are there any games out there you're looking forward to that are being funded right now? Spread the love, let us know.