The lights are on
Precursor Games is giving Kickstarter another try with a drastically retooled Shadow of the Eternals. The episodic model is gone, and the budget has been drastically reduced.
The Kickstarter pitch opens with video of Eternal Darkness, a property owned by Nintendo, before detailing a story of Detective Paul Becker (voiced by David Hayter), two suspects, and events of hundreds of years ago. Members of the studio, including CEO Paul Caporicci, chief creative officer Denis Dyack, and chief operating officer Shawn Jackson discuss the project without ever mentioning directly how it's been retooled from the first campaign.
The video focuses on characters we saw in the last pitch, Erzsébet Báthory, The Blood Countess, and the player's character, handmaiden Klára Rusznyák. The video also shows a young man that was featured in the original pitch, but he is not mentioned by the developers.
The backer tiers are standard up until you reach the $5,000 level. At that contribution amount, backers can choose to work with Precursor Games at E3, PAX, or GDC demoing the game. Precursor will not pay for travel, and lodging is not mentioned.
The budget for the title, which was originally $1.5 million for the first of twelve episodes, is now $750,000 (plus an undisclosed amount of external funding) for a complete eight to ten hour game. You can view the pitch and check out the campaign on the Kickstarter page.
Our TakeThe original episodic format for Shadow of the Eternals didn't pair well with crowd financing. This plan is better, but there are still some major points of concern.
The campaign amount is low, but Precursor states that it has an undisclosed amount of external funding. Backers should demand to know how much that is in order for to judge the feasibility of the project. Given the size of the staff and the related overhead, the amount of funding that would need to be in place would have to be in the millions.
Additionally, I find the "reward" of backers offering free labor distasteful. On paper, it might be appealing for someone to think they're going to get the VIP treatment at an event, but working a booth isn't play time. It's work. Paying for travel on top of it, while logical from Precursor's perspective, is silly from a backer's point of view.
I recently wrote a short rulebook for crowd funding campaigns. Precursor's Shadow of the Eternals project violates every one of them.