“You backed them. You made them. Now play them.” With that rallying cry, Kickstarter wants to direct our attention to the crowd-funded games which started as developer dreams and emerged as publicly playable product. In fact, there are more than 100 of them available to experience on Steam right now, and the majority of them are on sale.
100? That number caught me by surprise. It seems like only months ago we were hearing about the crushing success of projects like Double Fine Adventure (which later evolved into Broken Age), the Oculus Rift, and Wasteland 2.
That triple digit milestone is undoubtedly important for Kickstarter’s visibility, viability, and even integrity. For all of its wish fulfillment opportunities, the crowd-funding portal is consistently steeped in controversy and disappointment. There was the case of Haunts: The Manse Macabre, which went belly up three months after being fully funded. Or American McGee’s Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, a project which raised $204,000 then subsequently lost $1.7 million, resulting in the development team being downsized to only two people. That game is now available on Steam in Early Access, but has a Metacritic average score of 53/100.
Even today, a recently launched Kickstarter project named AREAL (a spiritual successor to survival horror game S.T.A.L.K.E.R) is neck deep in accusations of fraud which claim the core development team is a fabrication and that the game uses stolen assets.
Kickstarter is still a sea of hope, but an unregulated one. As their FAQ constantly reminds us, “Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project.”
With all the doom and gloom Kickstarter can be associated with — even when narrowed to just video games — it’s great to see them celebrating this achievement and in turn giving the studios which used their crowdfunding portal a solid promotional boost on Steam. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, either. We’re heading into the yearly Summer Games Drought (though with Grid Autosport, Sniper Elite III, and Valiant Hearts, there’s plenty for us to play), and Valve is doing their best to drain our wallets and expand our backlogs with their annual Summer Sale full of steep discounts.
Taking a closer look at these 100 games elicits both curiosity and hesitation. For example, what’s so amazing about Castle Story that it soared to $702,516 despite a modest funding goal of $80,000? What’s so magical about it that more people funded it than Awesomenauts and FTL combined? I genuinely want to find out.
Then there are oddities like Resonance, an indie adventure funded by only 59 backers but reviewed by at least 36 critics, boasting a Metascore higher than most other games on this list? Does Brian Fargo’s Wasteland 2 earn its $50 Steam Early Access price tag? And how about this resurgence of space-themed games like Starlight Inception, Drifter, and Planetary Annihilation?
Have you backed any of the games on this list? Have you walked away satisfied or disappointed in your investment? Continue the conversation in the comments, or by following me on Twitter and Facebook.