Posted Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:26 PM
As you know I try to keep an eye on AtariAge, and I ran into this thread. You all make some good points, particularly Dragonstomper who gives a clear analysis of the other big Kickstarter gaming projects. But you are missing the point, and I take full responsibility for that - obviously I am not getting the point across with the brief explanation on the Kickstarter page.
In the early days of Activision I had complete creative control over the games I made. I could keep at it until I got it right. I think I demonstrated that my judgement could be trusted for when a game is really ready. I made a dozen or so games this way, and many of them are still being played today.
I have kept at it over the years as the industry changed, publishing over 100 games in all. Most of these later games were constrained by an arbitrary budget, a client with creative control, or a heavy-handed licensor. Every game I have made since the early days could have been better if I was given an adequate budget and full creative control. The question I am asking with this Kickstarter project is: "Do you want to see what I can make today under similar conditions to those when I made my greatest hits?"
Second, ever since I made my first game people have been asking "How did you get your idea?" "What happens in the design lab?" "Why this feature?" "How do you make a game fun?" And so on. I look at Kickstarter and see it as a way for people to see inside the game design process. This has been top secret for my entire career, and now for $15 you can own the game and take a ride on the creation train. That should be worth the price of admission right there.
I took a risk. If I believe that people want to be a part of the game development process, then they should want to be a part of the game design process even more. If I brought a completed game design to Kickstarter it would be too late to share in that. So it is true that you can't tell exactly what the game is going to be at this point. That is because the game design process only begins in earnest when the project is funded. And you can be a part of that.
Did I set the game budget too high? Hardly. This may be eye-opening for some, but the cost of making a top quality game starts in the high six figures, and goes up from there (into the tens of millions, depending on the design.) Kickstarter will always be a place where small, indie developers can get a Flash game funded for a few thousand dollars. But my project will help to answer the question of whether there is a place for crowd funding in the high-end game development business. And don't get hung up over the number. With crowd funding it isn't the amount, it is the size of the crowd. If only a tiny percentage of the millions of game players are intrigued by the idea of getting in this early, the project will be a success. And think about how many of today's game players learned to play on one of my games.
Finally, will I deliver? I have given millions of game players thousands of hours of enjoyment. You can trust me to deliver. But more important, as far as I can tell I have published more games than any other individual in the world. I know how to allocate time and resources to get a game done. I have access to game development professionals to expand my team as needed. And I will have the final say on creative issues. You may have backed some less experienced game developers and been disappointed. I will not disappoint.
I came here to write a post and I ended up writing a novel. You can see why it is difficult to convey all of this on one page on Kickstarter. But to try to simplify it, this project gives you a chance to be part of the design process of a high-end David Crane game, then be part of the development process, then own the game and get hours of game play enjoyment, all for about the price of a family meal at KFC.
If I didn't get that across in a couple of paragraphs on the Kickstarter page, I apologize.