I continue to be overwhelmed by the positive feedback and enthusiasm from the support I have gotten from Kickstarter. The groundswell of people cheering us on and the evangelism – people spreading the word – is unlike anything I have experienced. In fact, I would say the last week was the high water mark of my career.
We are closing in on the funding for 1.5 million which will allow us to add both a Mac and Linux version of Wasteland 2 to the release. One of the (more common) questions I am asked is whether we’ll support console and I believe it to be unlikely. It is imperative that we deliver the core PC experience that the fans are expecting here and I want to avoid any elements that could distract us. The console interface is quite different when you consider the input device and proximity to the screen whereas the Mac and Linux are pretty much identical to that of the “PC”. We will consider a tablet version due to the similarity of the screen and interface but even on that we need to do a bit more research.
There have been some nice human moments along the way that I thought I would share.
We started off strong in the first 24 hours raising nearly 50% of our minimum need but still I was nervous. All the signs of success were there but we all wanted it to happen so badly that it seemed to good to be true. Around 6:00 that first night we received an email from a wealthy software industry individual who is a passionate fan of Wasteland and offered to help fund the game if Kickstarter came short! Talk about feeling good. Of course I thanked him and said I hoped we would not need his assistance but he made my whole day/week/month/year.
On the next day I get a short tweet from an individual that confesses he pirated Wasteland as a kid and was donating to help make up for it. I of course forgave not knowing he had donated $10,000 dollars. An incredible gesture… now if we could get every pirate of Wasteland 1 to donate we could really beat the Kickstarter all time record.
Mason Douglass who plays the kid publisher in the Kickstarter video has gotten rave reviews for his performance. His delivery was great and I have had people wanting to contact his manager for parts in TV/film. I jokingly told him when we shot the bit that he might become famous from this. Perhaps he will.
And just today I got an email along with a donation from a kid who lived down the street from me when he was a teenager. His note was as follows:
“This message is intended for Brian Fargo. Brian, I was your next door neighbor when you used to live in Laguna. I was a pesky 15 or 16 year old kid that would come around and ask you about games. You would sit down and take time to talk to me about games, and the industry, and I just wanted you to know how cool it was that you didn’t blow me off. It meant a lot to me. Recently, I found out about your Kickstarter movement for Wasteland 2, and I contributed to it because I believe in you and your ability to resurrect the glory of the franchise. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and thank you again for creating some memorable memories for me during my teenage years. Take care!”
It shows that being nice creates goodwill 20 years later.
And speaking of goodwill it occurs to me that we can harness the power of Kickstarter in a more meaningful way. Fan funding is bigger than me or Wasteland 2 as I have remarked before. The development community has come together to support us in ways that I didn’t think possible and our power as developers will ultimately come from us sticking together. Both gamers and developers have so much more strength than they realize. But in order to help facilitate the power of crowd funding I am going to suggest that all of us that do utilize this form of financing agree to kickback 5% of our profits made from such projects to other Kickstarter developers. I am not suggesting taking a backers money and moving it to another project.. I mean once a game has shipped and created profit that we funnel that back into the community of developers to fund their dreams. I am tentatively calling this “Kick It Forward” and I will be the first to agree to it. In fact, I will have our artists create a badge that goes on all Kickstarter projects that agree to support this initiative. Imagine the potential if another Minecraft comes along via Kickstarter and produces millions of dollars of investment into other developers. This economic payback will continue to grow the movement way beyond the current system. I hope others will join me with this idea and make this a true shakeup.
Let’s get the power shifted around a bit!