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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 interesting 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 what games didn’t, and where possible, offer links to the projects as they are developed. 

[Editor's Note: This feature was co-written by Cameron Koch, Isaac Federspiel, Katie Seville, Liz Lanier, Kayla Herrera, Ali Rapp, Mike Mahardy, and Matt Miller, with research by Cameron Koch, Isaac Federspiel, Katie Seville, Liz Lanier, Kayla Herrera, Ali Rapp, and Mike Mahardy.]

Games Seeking Funding 

Ashen Rift
Developer: Barry Collins
Fundraising Goal: $45,000
Funds Due By: April 6

Inspired by old-school shooters like Quake and the scenic adventures of games like Dear Esther and Journey, lone developer Barry Collins is looking to craft a moody, post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his dog. Together the two characters will travel across the remains of the central United States to shut down the “Rift”, the mysterious source of the deformed creatures that now roam the countryside. With limited ammo, players can use the environment to defeat enemies or sneak past them entirely. Collins has worked on the game by himself for the past five months, and is looking for funding to improve the game and outsource some aspects of development such as music, sound effects, and voice-overs. If the Kickstarter is successful, Collins is planning to launch the game on PC, Mac, and Linux.

Celestian Tales: Old North
Developer: Ekuator Games
Fundraising Goal: $30,000
Funds Due By: April 2

This turn-based tactical RPG features six playable characters whose stories will be told over three decades, each with unique perspectives and story arcs that are sometimes in contention with one another. At times, character’s storylines will converge and experience game events together. Don’t let the game’s art style fool you; Celestian Tales: Old North is aiming to create a serious tale of grey morals and questionable moral decisions, with the goal of having the player ask themselves if they did the right thing. Ekuator Games is planning on releasing the game episodically for PC, Mac, and Linux, with each part offering several hours of gameplay and a piece of the larger story.

Chaos Reborn
Developer: Julian Gollop
Fundraising Goal: $180,000
Funds Due By: April 17

Chaos Reborn is a reboot/sequel to the classic strategy title Chaos: The Battle of Wizards, originally published by Games Workshop in 1985. Players take control of a wizard who uses spells and summons creatures to do battle against another wizard doing the same. Maps will feature varying terrain that must be taken into account when making tactical decisions, and the game will include numerous RPG elements for improving your wizard. A large scale single player campaign is also planned. If funded, Chaos Reborn will be appearing on PC, Mac, and Linux in the spring of 2015. You can check out this feature on the original Chaos here for a better idea of where this new game is drawing inspiration from.

Developer: Counterplay Games
Fundraising Goal: $68,000
Funds Due By: April 9

Duelyst first saw life as a custom tabletop board game played among friends, and has now been rebuilt and reimagined for the digital realm as a tactical-turn based game in the same vein of Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Players will assemble squads of sprite fighters, each with unique abilities and spells, and go toe-to-toe with other players in a variety of multiplayer game modes. Duelyst will also include a single player mode where new units and spells can be unlocked and brought into multiplayer. The developers, whose work experience includes Diablo III, Rogue Legacy, and the Ratchet and Clank Series, promise short gameplay sessions of 30 minutes or less, hundreds of units and spells to use, and five unique factions set in a world that isn't just another generic fantasy setting.

Earthlock: Festival of Magic
Developer: Snowcastle Games
Fundraising Goal: $150,000
Funds Due By: April 11

Playing as desert scavenger Amon, you must stop an impending war by uncovering the secrets of a planet that has stopped spinning long ago. A demo of the game is already available and features classic turn-based battles, an old-school RPG overworld, and no random enemy encounters. The game also features a unique organic crafting system that allows players to grow ammunition for their various weapons. Earthlock: Festival of Magic is planning to release on PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4.

Game Developerz
Developer: Onion Squire
Fundraising Goal: £8,000
Funds Due By: April 5

Have you ever wanted to experience the struggles of game development? Well now you can, thanks to the Kickstarter for Game Developerz, a tabletop game that is all about forming your own game studio. In the game you must assemble a team of talented game designers and craft your dream game, all the while dealing with publishers, critics, and random events. The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its fundraising goal, but you can still lend your support to receive a copy of this tongue-in-cheek look at the world of game development.

The Hero Trap
Developer: SmashWorx
Fundraising Goal: $25,000
Funds Due By: April 14

A fast paced dungeon crawler, The Hero Trap is a roguelike where you control three heroes and must swap between them on the fly to defeat the monsters and traps the dungeon throws at you. Only one of your heroes is "materialized" and can be harmed, while two ghost heroes follow behind in ghost form and are immune to damage. Switching between the three characters and utilizing their unique abilities is key to making progress. Developer SmashWorx is looking to bring the game to PC, Mac, Linux and consoles on the PlayStation 4 and Vita is successfully funded. 

Developer: TinyBuild
Fundraising Goal: $50,000
Funds Due By: April 18

If you've watched countless videos of jet antics in Battlefield 3 or Just Cause 2, then this is the Kickstarter for you. It's official description is "a game about jumping out of jets and landing on other jets." Players take to the skies in aerial dogfights, but can jump out of their plane at any time to continue shooting or even hijack enemy fighters. The developers plan on releasing the game on Steam if their fundraising campaign is successful. 

Kick, Punch...Fireball
Developer: Lambda Bound Games
Fundraising Goal: $25,000
Funds Due By: April 13

Kick, Punch...Fireball is a deathmatch style arena game set in a fantasy universe. Players can choose from several different classes to fight it out with other players online, with a progression system allowing for customization like tweaking your character's attributes and upgrading your various skills. The developers are participating in the Ouya Free The Games Fund, which means if funded Ouya will match Kick, Punch...Fireball's fundraising goal in return for the game being a timed Ouya exclusive. 

Developer: MyDream Interactive
Fundraising Goal: $100,000
Funds Due By: April 12

Taking ideas from MMOs and real-world activities like geocaching, MyDream will allow players to build and design their own quests and environments for others to share and explore using 3D creation tools. The developer is looking to promote cooperation rather than competition, and as a result your character will gain experience by exploring, building, and cooperating with others as opposed to defeating monsters. A pledge of $5 grants you access to the game’s beta and additional support grants various in-game items.

Developer: Team Sharkeye
Fundraising Goal: $40,000
Funds Due By: March 29

Oscar is a side-scrolling platform that puts players in the shoes of a young girl and her elephant companion Flynn. As the two go on adventures through Oscar’s daydreams, hints of the girl’s painful reality begin to creep in. The developers promise that Oscar is all about experiencing the story for yourself and putting the pieces together – they will never tell the player what exactly is going on or how to feel about it. Team Sharkeye is planning to release the game on PC.

Developer: Cubical Drift
Fundraising Goal: $250,000
Funds Due By: April 5

Combine Elder Scrolls-style character progression with the voxel-based world of Minecraft and you get Planets3 (pronounced planets cube). The game lets players explore their own cube world, fighting monsters, leveling up craftsmen, and meeting local inhabitants before setting off to explore a galaxy filled with even more planets. Your character grows more powerful as they perform actions, with sprinting increasing your stamina capacity while wielding heavier weapons increases your strength over time. Planets3 will also feature quests, dungeons, and boss monsters to conquer and defeat. And of course, being heavily inspired by Minecraft, there are countless items, weapons, and vehicles which can be created to suit the player's needs.

Pro Wrestling X 
Developer: Wrestling Gamers United
Fundraising Goal: $6,400
Funds Due By: April 7

Pro Wrestling X looks to return to the glory days of wrestling games like WWF No Mercy on the N64. The developers aim to craft a game that is open and moddable, giving gamers the freedom and tools to create and share new content. The base game is modest, matching its modest funding goal, and will come with one arena, two playable fighters, a variety of wrestling moves and controller support. Already reaching its goal, the developers are toying with stretch goals such as character customization and new arenas. Pro Wrestling X will be released on PC, Linux, and Mac.

Proven Lands
Developer: thesetales
Fundraising Goal: £299,000
Funds Due By: April 12

Proven Lands is a classic science-fiction inspired sandbox survival game where players must survive and explore strange alien worlds. Drawing upon rogue-like games similar to Don’t Starve, the environments of Proven Lands are procedurally generated and filled with alien life forms both friendly and hostile. A story told across five episodes in addition to events constructed by the game’s AI director, such as attacks by alien raiders or hostile wildlife, will also be included. The developers are looking to launch first on PC before then bringing the game to Mac and mobile devices.

The Orion Project
Developer: Spiral
Fundraising Goal: $200,000
Funds Due By: April 28

From the makers of Orion: Dinosaur Horde comes another dinosaur-based Kickstarter, this time promising an expansive dinosaur-filled open universe and proudly boasting “No game will ever have more Dinosaurs than The Orion Project.”  A first-person shooter, developer Spiral is looking to create a persistent online universe that can be explored at the player’s whim, with deep customization options, companion characters, loot, and both cooperative and competitive gameplay. There will also be spaceships, because spaceships and dinosaurs were meant to be together. 

[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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