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The Kickstarter Compendium

Our regularly revised feature keeps you up to date on the Kickstarter games worth watching, and helps you track projects both before and after they’re funded.

Welcome to the Kickstarter Compendium, a gathering of games and game-related projects that we’ve come across that deserve your attention. The crowd-funding model for video games has resulted in some fascinating new game ideas, and new projects are going up on a weekly basis that deserve your attention. 

The only problem is keeping track of it all – what’s worth watching, and what are these different projects about? As an ongoing feature, our Kickstarter Compendium is your guide to games seeking funding through Kickstarter. After funding projects are complete, this feature will also track what games (and game-related projects) got funded and which ones didn’t – and, where possible, offer links to the projects as they are developed. 

[Editor's Note: This feature was co-written by Elise Favis, Matthew Stolpe, Jason Dafnis, Wayne Stainrook, Cameron Koch, Isaac Federspiel, Katie Seville, Liz Lanier, Kayla Herrera, Ali Rapp, Mike Mahardy, and Matt Miller.]

Games Seeking Funding

Car Mechanic Simulator 2015
Developer: PlayWay
Fundraising Goal: $20,000 CAD
Funds Due By: February 26, 2015

Playway’s new game is a direct sequel to their previous installment, Car Mechanic Simulator 2014. This simulator will place you in the shoes of a car mechanic, featuring improvements such as new cars and parts. There will be 16 new car models, and each will have more than 200 customizable components. Another new addition is mission mode, which will generate random car repair jobs that are time-restricted. There will be different difficulty and payment levels. Beyond car repairs, you will also have to manage your work environment with new skills and designs for the garage. Car auctions are another way to make an extra buck, where you buy old cars to renovate. Stretch goals will offer DLC packages with more cars, such as the classics and hot rods selections.

The Grifta – Morphing Gamepad
Developer: Paul Weatherstone
Fundraising Goal: £65,000
Funds Due By: April 2, 2015

This gaming controller mod aims to reinvent the way we play games. It’s made up of three units: the left part, the right part, and the middle connector. The Grifta can be dismantled and reassembled in its three-unit form, shaped into a comfortable controller optimized for the player. These different shapes include the Grifta mouse, Grifta split, and Grifta classic. What’s particularly unique is its compatibility with a gaming mouse. You can use the right or left unit as a joystick or d-pad, while your other hand holds the mouse. The gamepad features ABXY buttons, just like the Xbox controller, but has redesigned shoulder buttons for quicker access to the triggers. The buttons and D-Pad are made from mechanical components, which the Grifta team stresses are more comfortable than rubber surfaces. This controller is no longer just a prototype or concept, and has already been produced with a manufacturer. The Grifta will be compatible with Windows, Android, and PlayStation 3. Using the XIM adapter, it can also be used for PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Izzy’s Revenge
Developer: Indie4Fun
Fundraising Goal: $55,000
Funds Due By: March 5, 2015

This 2D action platformer takes place in the world of Steelbridge, a steampunk-themed city where four guild leaders rule all.  You play as Izzy, a young inventor, who attempts to carry on her father’s research which could bring her steam-powered city to a new technological era of holographs. To accomplish this, she journeys through Steelbridge, fighting to overthrow the four guild leaders and their oppressive governments. The game will have combo-driven combat, secret items, new areas to uncover, 15 different weapons to choose from, and several difficult bosses.  

The Orphan
Developer: Windy Hill Studio
Fundraising Goal: $32,000
Funds Due By: March 2, 2015

The Orphan is a platformer that looks and feels like a mix of Limbo and Another World. It has mostly monochrome colors, unique lighting, and dark silhouettes, creating an eerie look that resembles old photographs. However, unlike Limbo, there are no puzzles. Instead, The Orphan focuses on stealth, exploration, and combat. Several in-game items can be used against enemies, such as grenades and laser guns. Playing as a young boy, you venture through the barren world as the sole survivor of an alien invasion. Be careful with every step, because you never know what human-killing machine is around the corner. The project is slated for PC, Mac, Linux, and Steam, but if the stretch goal of $36,000 is achieved, the team will be bringing the game to PlayStation 4.

Orion Trail
Developer: Schell Games
Fundraising Goal: $90,000
Funds Due By: March 12, 2015

This game is a reference to the old-school, educational game Oregon Trail in every possible way, but replaces 1800s America with a futuristic space adventure. In the game, you start by picking out a suitable ship, and then you can choose from a selection of captains, one being Cymric Manx, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Grumpy Cat. As you venture through the galaxy, your crew will respond to different prompts that can be either hazardous or positive for your team. How should you investigate this black hole? Should you attack the oncoming, possibly hostile aliens? There are also mysterious illnesses and ailments that can overcome your team. Orion Trail puts those difficult choices in your capable Space Captain hands. Each decision has consequences, often pulling at your resources such as food or fuel, or adding to them. Stretch goals include the inclusion of a new mini-game, new playable Lieutenants and Captains such as the Fabulons (in all their well-groomed, perfect hair glory), and twice the amount of random space encounters. Orion Trail is planning a PC, Mac, and Linux release, and currently offers a free demo on its Kickstarter page.

Strength of the Sword Ultimate

Developer: Ivent Games
Fundraising Goal: $14,000
Funds Due By: March 11, 2015

The two-person studio behind the PlayStation 3 game Strength of the Sword 3 is back with a new Kickstarter campaign, which aims to remaster its first project and bring it to Windows, Mac and Linux. The new edition, titled Strength of the Sword Ultimate, comes with three new gameplay modes: co-op, PvP, and dark mode. As with the original game, story mode and survival mode will still be playable. Strength of the Sword Ultimate is most innovative in its deathmatch PvP, which will have players duel in a tug-of-war style match beginning in a middle-ground battle area. The first player to overthrow the other’s castle wins. Dark mode also holds potential, described as “a kind of extension to PvP,” where players challenge the dark swordsman and gain loot regardless of who wins. If victorious, players can eventually become the dark swordsman themselves with mysterious powers. Strength of The Sword Ultimate has multiple stretch goals that could also bring the game to Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. One of the developers has even promised to go bowling dressed as a pixie if $100,000 is achieved. If that’s not motivation enough to back this project, nothing is.

This Is The Police
Developer: Weappy
Fundraising Goal: $25,000
Funds Due By: February 25, 2015

Ever wanted to play an epic strategy/adventure game, narrated by the voice of Duke Nukem (John St. John)? Well, now you can, with This Is The Police. This detective game centers on Jack Boyd, a 60-year-old cop nearing retirement. Through the trailer, which is reminiscent of Max Payne's interior monologues, Jack describes himself as an honest cop. But, with only six months left before retirement, Jack wants to go out with a bang and start bending the rules. He’s looking to make half a million bucks as his police enforcement career comes to an end, and he’s going to do it any way he can. The game uniquely blends different genres, such as tycoon, strategy, adventure, and interactive fiction. Player choice is a major component, with each choice creating different consequences.. You spend your time managing co-workers and their partying habits, attending press conferences, coordinating crime scene investigations, and fighting criminal gangs.

Developer: Playism Games
Fundraising Goal: $300,000
Funds Due By: February 23, 2015

The creator of the Clock Tower series, Hifumi Kono, and The Grudge director, Takashi Shimizu, are teaming up to bring to life the Japanese-inspired horror game Night Cry. The game is a result of Kono wishing to return to his horror/adventure roots. This 3D point-and-click game puts you on a luxurious cruise that takes an ugly turn as passengers are murdered left and right. Investigating objects, rooms, and clues will slowly lead you towards the culprit. As you search, however, a terrifying dark presence known as the Scissorwalker stalks the hallways, wielding giant scissor blades. Your cellphone can be used to communicate and discover other survivors, but its ringtone can attract the Scissorwalker’s attention.

Underworld Ascendant
Developer: OtherSide Entertainment
Fundraising Goal: $600,000
Funds Due By: March 6, 2015

It has been well over a decade since the fantasy RPG Ultima Underworld franchise had its last release. The series is now being rekindled by its creators, OtherSide Entertainment, with an array of new elements and gameplay improvements. The new entry to the series is titled Underworld Ascendant, and will take place in refined environments such as underground caverns, Dwarven ruins, and enchanted forests. The game’s developers cite Deus Ex, Thief, Bioshock, Skyrim, and others as major influences. Three playable classes include thief, mage, and fighter – each with their own special powers and abilities. 

Developer: Forge Animation
Fundraising Goal: $330,000 CAD
Funds Due By: March 6, 2015

The French game studio, Forge Animation, is creating the transmedia project Windwalkers, which will come in the form of a video game, comic book, and film. The project is adapted from the French sci-fi novel La Horde du Contrevent (The Horde of the Counterwind) and each media will retell its epic story. Forge Animation collaborated with the author Alain Damasio, who worked on DONTNOD’s Remember Me, to bring this media to life. In the video game Windwalkers, you traverse a world  ravaged by strong winds and attempt to uncover the source. The action/RPG will feature Dark Souls-like gameplay, and exploration mechanics similar to Journey. Co-op will be another addition so you can play with friends. 

[NEXT UP: Peruse the numerous games that have been successfully funded through Kickstarter, and track their progress after funding is complete]

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