The lights are on
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 Joe Buchholz, Luke Walaszek, Joseph Knoop, Marcus Stewart, Parker Lemke, Hershall Cook, Christian Belland, Alissa McAloon, Jon Gregory, 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.]
Projects Seeking Funding
The Artful Escape Of Francis VendettiDeveloper: Beethoven & DinosaurFundraising Goal: $35,631Funds Due By: March 31, 2016
Equal parts Broken Age and Fantastic Planet, The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti moves like a construction-paper diorama with a Technicolor sheen. Francis Vendetti grapples with the legacy of his dead uncle, who was a culturally impactful folk singer. Francis has big shoes to fill, and goes on a kaleidoscopic journey through multiple dimensions to find a proper stage persona that can measure up to his uncle’s stardom. The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti seems to be a psychedelic mixture of the adventure, platforming, and rhythm game genres. This promising game already has a list of accolades such as being Greenlit on Steam and winning an Unreal Developers Grant.
Discordia: Guardians of the DomainDeveloper: Movimiento ÉpicoFundraising Goal: $70,000Funds Due By: March 28, 2016
The pitch video for Discordia: Guardians of the Domain shows a Chilean office space with cartridges lying everywhere. Games like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, and Golden Sun are strewn about as one developer talks about his inner child living in the secret world of video games. Discordia draws from these spaces and experiences with its vibrant hand-drawn world that encompasses an intriguing-looking online tactical video game. You take control of one of three factions and gather collectible units as you move through the game. The units that you earn are opened in a flashy sequence similar to Hearthstone’s card packs. The grid-based combat seems like it will translate well to the game’s projected PvP mode. Discordia: Guardians of the Domain will be a game to keep your eye on if it reaches its funding goal.
Echoes of the First DreamerDeveloper: Highwire GamesFundraising Goal: $45,000Funds Due By: April 12, 2016
After a messy breakup with Bungie, Destiny and Halo composer Marty O’Donnell has paved his own path with Echoes of the First Dreamer. It’s a musical prequel to Highwire Games’ VR game Golem, which debuted at PlayStation Experience in December of last year. Although you wouldn’t expect a Kickstarter to be necessary for a project that’s already in full swing, it’s interesting to imagine an auditory prequel to a video game. Usually a soundtrack accompanies a game just fine, but having an audio-prequel introduce players to the themes of Golem before it comes out is a fresh idea. Highware Games plans to contribute an additional $20,000 above the project goal if the Kickstarter is successful.
KaidanDeveloper: Metanoia GamesFundraising Goal: $75,000Funds Due By: March 29, 2016
There has been a recent crop of asymmetrical multiplayer horror games similar to Friday The 13th, but Kaidan may have the freshest concept of the batch. Players choose between three roles: the storyteller, who crafts a story and builds the level, the victim, who cautiously traverses a mansion created by the storyteller, and the haunter, who actively tries to scare and kill the victim. While watching the beautifully rendered demo of the game, it reminded us of a robust form of gothic Dungeons & Dragons. The storyteller sets goals for the victims and the player who selects one of the haunter classes tries to intervene. It’s a unique concept that we would love to see come to fruition.
Mediocre MonsterDeveloper: Opal SquadFundraising Goal: $50,000Funds Due By: March 24, 2016
There’s no sympathy for JRPG monsters. Slimes are obliterated at the beginning of Dragon Quest without remorse, eerily smiling as Level 1 heroes plunge them into the void with a cheap copper sword. It seems depressing, but the genocide of early RPG creatures isn’t as bleak as it seems. The Bestiary is a company that employs random-encounter monsters who pretend to die for protagonists. You work your way up the corporate ladder, moving from the tutorial forest to a palette-swapped monster who is only marginally stronger. Mediocre Monster is a creative take on what it’s like to be on the other side of turn-based RPG combat.
MöiraDeveloper: Onagro StudiosFundraising Goal: $13,225Funds Due By: April 13, 2016
Möira (not to be confused with Barry’s daughter from Resident Evil Revelations 2) is a retro platformer molded to fit the aesthetics of the Game Boy Color. Made by the Brazilian independent developer Onagro Studios, Möira follows the adventures of Rubick, a student mage with the worst grades at his magic school. His master inexplicably goes missing, and now Rubick must travel through Magic Kingdoms in search of his teacher. Möira takes more than a few pages from the likes of Cave Story, Ori and the Blind Forest, and other gear-gated exploration titles. The game has already been Greenlit by Steam’s community, and asks for a modest amount of money in comparison to other titles on the list.
NeloDeveloper: Magic & MirrorsFundraising Goal: $25,000Funds Due By: March 27, 2016
Calling Nelo “fast-paced” is an understatement. Even adjectives like frenetic, breakneck, and frenzied don’t seem to do the twitchy shooter justice. Nelo takes place in a grim sci-fi setting where a race of aliens war with their own A.I. creations. You use four levitating robotic hands to shoot enemies as you pop the perspective back and forth between third-person combat and twin-stick shooting similar to Geometry Wars. If you’re curious how Nelo actually plays, you can check out a pre-alpha demo on the game’s Kickstarter page.
WartileDeveloper: Playwood ProjectFundraising Goal: $76,677Funds Due By: April 1, 2016
Taking advantage of the Unreal 4 engine, Wartile is a visually-stunning tabletop game. Each board is a miniature vista with hexagonal tiles breaking up the terrain. Fans of Harry Potter who drool at the prospect of having chess pieces come to life will probably have a similar reaction to Wartile’s tiny moving warriors. Wartile seeks to merge the strategic thinking of traditional tabletop games with the quickened pace of contemporary video games. There’s a pedigree behind Wartile, too; the game is being developed by Playwood Project, which was founded by Michael Rud Jakobsen. He worked on art for Kane & Lynch 2 and the game design in the recent reboot of Hitman.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.