As avid gamers, we have all pondered what the most brilliant game ever created would be. We tell ourselves that, if someone would only design a game based upon our ideas, it would be a revolutionary marvel that would take the gaming world by storm and redefine what real gaming could be. Unfortunately, most of us lack the expertise needed to design, program, or implement our wonderful idea into creation but, luckily, that isn’t the case for everyone.
Kickstarter games take the amazing concepts of normal, everyday people and turn them into market bending projects that keep games evolving. Ideas that mainstream developers are too cautious about can often be seen altering the landscape of game design through Kickstarter projects. Each project creator sets funding goals and deadlines and then backers – ranging from corporations to zealous gamers – can pledge to provide funding if the project succeeds and reaches its funding goal. If the game does reach its goal, the backers’ credit cards are charged and, if not, no funds are taken. Sounds simple but can this really be a productive approach to funding cutting edge games?
Take for example the project game Torment: Tides of Numenera. A crowd-funded game that started on March 6, 2013, it was quickly funded within the first six hours of the project’s launch. It went on to quickly surpass Project Eternity as the most funded Kickstarter game ever, bringing in $4,188,927 pledged from 74,405 backers. Can a game funded by this many different people really be worth playing?
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game set in the rich world of Mote Cook’s table top RPG setting. From what we’ve seen graphically, it likens itself to the beautiful layout and design found in titles like Skyrim and Crysis. It has a deep story line that is driven by a flowing personal narrative that constantly pushes the gamer to the internally reflective question, “can one person really make the difference”? Much like many of the most popular games of the last ten years, your choices help shape the world around you as your decisions open up new story lines and new possibilities. Best of all, how you play is up to you and you are not limited to a linear storyline that takes away from so many other games.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a shining example of what happens when creative minds are allowed to push the boundaries and aren’t limited by gaming or society’s norms. In an industry that can often get bogged down by what the big studios are willing to provide (based on guaranteed profits), it’s nice to see another avenue for game creation which removes some of the normal developmental shackles. With Kickstarter games, this isn’t the exception but the standard that keeps driving and shaping the future of the industry. If Torment: Tides of Numenera is an example, it looks like it’s here to stay.