I should have an opinion on this. I know I should. Yet at the same time, I find myself struggling to form one.
Consider that my natural view of any kickstarter project is disdain. My knowledge and familiarity of kickstarters is driven mostly by things that go wrong. Watching Tim Schafer promise a funny/classic/fun point-and-click adventure through kickstarter was phenomenally interesting, and suggested to me, at the time, that kickstarter could be used as a barometer to break conventional marketing views. It could reverse the pay scheme for games, where a trusted developer could get paid to make a game, and therefore the game’s lifespan would not be consumed mostly by marketing. At its finest, that’s how I hope Hero-U works out.
On the other hand, Kickstarter projects have been a hotbed of things that disgust me. Richard Gariott, a certified millionaire and crazy person, using Kickstarter to raise money for his game production. Chris Roberts did the same thing; he used Kickstarter to start funding, provided his own funding, and then used that interest to involve marketers. Penny Arcade – who I am willing to accept I am just looking for reasons to get mad at – kickstarted a podcast with a target of $10, since they were going to do the podcast no matter what. Bonus, that kickstarter included as one of its rewards, an unpaid internship, which … man, just fuck those guys.
Kickstarter is either used by people who don’t know how much they’re going to have to spend and how to get it, or people who don’t need the money but want to monetise hope, and it has produced very few products I want. No lies, I keep an eye out because there are some for which I hope… but that’s it. It’s just hope.
That isn’t an opinion on City of Titans though. That’s an opinion on Kickstarter.
I don’t like Missing Worlds Media’s name. It speaks of a sort of group pain, where the thing that matters is the loss of City Of Heroes. I don’t know much of the people involved, but the few who have claimed some involvement have been people who, to me, represented the worst elements of City of Heroes.
I don’t like how their kickstarter is written. It talks about spreading a tiny sum of money in game development terms over a huge spectrum of needs. It doesn’t talk about how the game plays, about how deep an understanding they have of the game’s core mechanisms and aesthetics. The game they’re working after was accidentally excellent, it did so many of the things that made it great as byproducts of things rather than causes, and they show no sign of what made it so exceptional.
I hope that something good can come of this. I hope they do well. I expect what they make will be bad compared to City of Heroes, which was bad compared to how it could have been in my mind.
But I hope it is bad in its own way, excellence becomes part of that.