Kickstarters to Watch - May Edition - Article

By Kasper Andersen, May 15, 2012
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Kickstarter became a new way for developers to get support for the projects they wanted to make when Double Fine blew things wide open back in February. Many speculated whether the support Double Fine gathered would translate into a sustainable trend, and though no project has managed quite the same level of success, the community continues to show broad and unwavering support.

Kickstarters May - Republique

This is also why I am happy to report that, barring one, all of the games from last month's article have met their goals and were successfully funded (the exception being Police Warfare). Police Warfare had its campaign cancelled after a few days with the message that: "...this is by no means the end of Police Warfare. News will be coming", which could mean they found a publisher or other means of funding, though that's purely speculation at this point.

But the old makes way for the new, which is why I have a new list of interesting projects worth your attention and, just maybe, your support. First, a brief description of the Kickstarter process for those who don't know much about it:

”Is my support needed?”

You might be cautious about supporting projects, and that's not without reason. You have no guarantees that your investment is going to result in a game you will enjoy, after all. But in reality, it's not much different from buying a game as you normally would. There are no guarantees there either, and many of these projects allow you to receive a copy of the game as a reward if your pledge is large enough.

But how do you know there will be a finished product? Again, there's no guarantee that a project you pledge money to will succeed, but most developers will know what kind of budget they'll need to finish their game, or will be able to snag additional funding from other sources. There's a target sum of money they want the community to meet, but if the target isn't met, no supporter will be charged anything. In other words, your money isn't going anywhere if the developer can't actually secure enough funds to get their project off the ground.

But what about when that target has been met? Is there any point in funding projects beyond their target? Absolutely! The target that is set for the project is a minimum target; the target that needs to be reached in order for the developer to keep the promises that have been made with that target in mind. But every project that has managed to go over has provided additional value to the community, by making the game bigger or developing it for more platforms, for example. So your money isn't wasted just because the target has already been met.

Meet the projects

Now it's time to meet the highlights of this month. Read on!

SKYJACKER (Windows, Mac)

Pledge required to receive the game: $15
Funding ends: May 31st

Kickstarters May - Skyjacker

Skyjacker is a space combat game where you play as a pirate. The game has you undertaking missions to loot and destroy other spacefarers, which lets you increase your rank and strength. 

What makes Skyjacker stand out is its focus on components. You're given great freedom in customizing your ship to best suit each mission, all the way down to changing flight styles (from traditional flight to much more dynamic styles as well). The opposing ships can also be damaged in several ways, giving the player different ways of dispatching them. The game features multiplayer - both cooperative and competitive.

Haunts: The Manse Macabre (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Pledge required to receive the game: $5 (every $5 gets you an extra copy of the game)
Funding ends: July 6th

Kickstarters May - Haunts

Haunts is a turn based haunted house game with both single player and multiplayer. The single player campaign allows you to explore the macabre history of the mansion, while the multiplayer puts one player in control of the denizens of the mansion while the other player controls the intruders. The intruders choose an objective they need to accomplish inside the mansion (recover some artifact, cleanse the house, etc.) and the denizens have to defend the mansion, but without knowing what the intruders are trying to accomplish. All of the choices made by the players aren't revealed until they physically show up within the game, and there's a lot of focus on this ”hide and seek”-like mechanic.

Xenonauts (Windows)

Pledge required to receive the game: $20
Funding ends: June 10th

Kickstarters May - Xenonauts

Xenonauts is an old-school strategy game that's channeling the spirit of X-Com. It has both real-time aerial combat and turn-based ground combat, with missions and environments generating dynamically depending on the events that occur in the world. 

Xenonauts is unique, partially because it will be released regardless of the success of the Kickstarter campaign, but also because everyone is offered full access to the latest development build of the game. This means you can try the game before you decide to pledge any money to it. Kickstarter funding will help flesh out the final release; without Kickstarter funding the final game will be more bare-boned.

Is that it?

Absolutely not, the crowd sourcing scene is buzzing with activity, and the games presented here only show a few of the projects worthy of attention. If you're hungry for more, below is a list of games that can help settle your stomach, but there are many more where they came from, so visiting kickstarter.com (and other crowd sourcing sites for that matter) is the best way to get the full picture.

I hope you found a project you want to support.

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