Okay, RPG geeks, how does this Kingdom Come: Deliverance Kickstarter grab you?
Imagine an enormous #sandbox-style #singleplayer game set in 15th Century Europe for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 with cutting edge, CryEngine-powered graphical grandeur.
There’s no magic in this game. No dragons, no over-the-top army-destroying hero powers. It’s a period-accurate simulation of our world, complete with authentic weapons, towns, and combat styles.
And you, as a bard, warrior, or rogue, will be dropped into the middle of it all to forge your own way as a hero or villain, completing scores of quests as, when, and how you like.
It’s The Elder Scrolls meets The Witcher meets Red Dead Redemption meets Dark Souls meets Mount and Blade, according to the project description.
That’s the plan for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a game already well under production by Warhorse Studios in the Czech Republic, a new outfit made up of veteran designers who previously worked on a wide range of high-profile games, from Mafia 2 to Crysis 3 to Forza Horizon.
Sounds like the sort of game I – and I suspect plenty of other RPG fans – would love to sink my thumbs into.
But it also sounds like a project far more ambitious than the studio’s surprisingly modest £300,000 Kickstarter campaign (about half a million USD) would suggest.
And that’s because it is. Warhorse openly admits it.
Building a complex sandbox RPG with sparkling visuals and complex mechanics for PC plus Sony and Microsoft’s just-released consoles is an enormous undertaking. Warhorse estimates – conservatively, I’d wager – that another 1,000 months of manpower is required to finish the work they’ve already started.
In fact, Warhorse is up front in saying that the target they’ve set for their Kickstarter campaign is but a fraction of the total budget – just 10%.
Which might make one wonder: Why even bother with Kickstarter?
Because Warhorse’s Kickstarter campaign isn’t meant to fund the game so much as prove there’s an audience for it.
Turns out the game is already being fully funded by a deep-pocketed private investor. However, when this investor discovered that traditional publishers were refusing to back the game because it lacked fantasy RPG tropes such as dragons, wizards and magic, he started wondering about his investment.
Warhorse needed a way to assuage his fears, to prove that the kind of game they were making had an audience. And they chose Kickstarter to do it.
This is from Kingdom Come’s Kickstarter campaign page:
Our investor is strong and capable of funding the complete development of our project. But he does not follow the game industry very closely, and needs proof that publishers and marketers are wrong about our game – that you are indeed interested in a mature, medieval RPG that emphasizes freedom and authenticity. And so we stand, as a studio, at a crossroads. Either those naysayers are right, and there truly is no desire for the game we are making, or we are right. Either way, we think Kickstarter is a great way to find out.
So the Kingdom Come Kickstarter is, for all intents and purposes, serving simply a proof of potential consumer interest designed to keep the real source of the project’s funding flowing.
Or at least that’s the way it started out.
At the time of this writing the campaign was just two days old but had already reached its target (Editor’s note: With 23 days to go, the campaign has already surpassed £500,000). This suggests it has potential over the course of its full 30-day campaign to become one of those rare Kickstarters that truly captures the crowdfunding community’s imagination and shoots far beyond its original goal.
At this rate £600,000 seems almost a sure thing. Perhaps even £1 million. If it can maintain momentum the Kickstarter campaign could end up covering as much as half of the game’s total estimated development costs.
If that’s not proof that gamers are interested in the kind of interactive experience Warhorse is crafting, I’m not sure what would be.
The real mystery, though, is who Warhorse’s mysterious backer might be. $5M is a big chunk of change to invest in a brand new studio, especially for someone who “does not follow the game industry very closely.” Perhaps he hasn’t heard any of the investor horror stories of the many nearly finished then cancelled and abandoned game projects that never earn a penny.
Regardless of who he is, one imagines his confidence has likely been restored via the outpouring of support Warhorse is currently receiving on Kickstarter.
And there’s still plenty of time to add your voice to that crowd.
Though, sadly, all 50 slots in the $1,000 Emperor pledge tier, which comes with a hand-forged battle-ready monogrammed sword(!), have already been spoken for.