Kickstarter’s Next Good Week


Apparently Kickstarter runs in cycles.  There was a pile of highly promising new games that popped up the other week, and here we are again with another trio of fantastic-looking goodies to tempt a few optimistic dollars from your wallet.  It’s hard enough being able to afford the present, when there’s so much that looks so fantastic in the future.

The big game of the week has already cleared $400,000 at the time of this writing, and that’s the take from only two days.  Planetary Annihilation is an RTS from the developer of Monday Night Combat, and if the title doesn’t make it obvious it’s a direct descendant of Total Annihilation.  The development crew includes key members from Cavedog, and god knows MNC has a dedicated fanbase, so Planetary Annihilation was already in a good spot to begin with.  The gameplay in the pitch video, though, set hearts and minds afire all across the internet, thanks not only to its interplanetary scope, but also the way it showcases the ability to build rockets on a meteor and use it to perform a megaton death-hammer strike on an enemy base.  There’s just no resisting that kind of mayhem.

Mercenary Kings didn’t get quite the level of fanfare, but it’s equally worthy of excitement for very different reasons.  The team that made Scott Pilgrim, including pixel artist Paul Robertson, are creating a Contra-style action game with an unexpected emphasis on crafting.  Enemies drop parts that the Gunsmith or Knife Expert can then craft into new destructive toys.  When handled well, that’s exactly the kind of hook that makes a game incredibly replayable.  Toss in some fantastic animation and the dedication to classic gaming styles evident in Scott Pilgrim and you’ve got a firm foundation to support wild optimism.

The third game of the week isn’t so much a new title as it is a new table for The Pinball Arcade.  The Twilight Zone didn’t manage to reach its stretch goal of licensing Star Trek: The Next Generation, so now it’s getting its own Kickstarter to finish the funding job.  Licensing ain’t cheap, and while the table design is already taken care of, Star Trek has a load of actors and musicians who also need the rights to their output acquired.  Star Trek: TNG is one of the highest-rated tables available, with a ton of unique table elements and excellent flow to the action, and seeing as the odds of finding a copy in good shape are highly unlikely, this is the next best thing.

As usual, week in and week out, there are other, lower-profile projects that I probably didn’t notice, but these are the ones that jumped up and down screaming for attention.  The results of Kickstarter’s effect on gaming, post-Doublefine, are still a ways in the future, and we won’t have a sense of its longevity until a few projects are actually completed, but for now there’s plenty of reason to be hopeful thanks to the high level of talent that continues to make use of it.