Concept artist Andrée Wallin is on the Wasteland 2 team. An example of his work.
If you kick in $15 or more on the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter crowd-funding drive you’ll get a “Digital Downloable copy of game DRM free for PC or MAC OSX or Linux.” Better yet, “your party will start with a unique and quirky skill.”
There’s something about being very fan-oriented in your game development that I think shines through with projects like these, and that will only become more accentuated if the crowd-funding model takes off. It appears to be doing so already with titles like Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2.
For instance, DRM is widely seen as the antithesis of good gamer/developer relations. Sure, there’s a reason for DRM and there are ways to go about managing it that are seen as less pernicious than others (such as Steam.) But with a crowd-funded project, gamers are telling the developer that they’re willing to kick in right from the beginning. Fans help build the project from the ground up, and developers respond in kind. Trust is there from the get-go, and it shows.
If there’s one thing missing in the gaming industry right now, it’s trust. I’ve been surprised, quite frankly, by the level of distrust and animosity in gaming right now: toward the media, toward developers, and toward gamers themselves. When you peel back some of the layers, though, you begin to see why. Maybe crowd-funded games can be one piece of the process in which this is all turned around, patched up and repaired.
Wasteland 2 has crossed the $2 million mark, with over 42,000 people backing the project. That’s an average contribution of over $47. This is impressive, and for fans of the game it means more content. Brian Fargo and co. said that “after $1.5 million the sky is the limit.”
With $2 million in the bank, and ten more days of funding remaining, the team has promised Mac and Linux versions of the game, more maps, and better environments. All this cash “means a better product for all as we can hire more writers and scripters to add even more depth of consequence to the world, add more music and sound to set the atmosphere, and make the world larger to explore.”
It’s neat to see the whole thing unfold from the outset. Game-changing, really. Lots of assumptions about the relationship between gamer and developer are starting to wobble, including what role piracy plays in the success of a game. I for one can’t wait to see what comes next. And to play Wasteland 2, of course.
Oh, and if you’re really a high-roller, you can be in the game. At $1,000 the Wasteland devs will include you or your name as a weapon, NPC, or location in the game itself. It’s sort of like product placement, but with people…