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Thorvalla Kickstarter cancelled, burial of the land of dragons

Monday, 3 December 2012

Guido Henkel's, his team's G3studios', and Neal Hallford's campaign for traditional computer-role-playing-game "Thorvalla" has been cancelled in 3rd of December 2012. Sad day for fans of Guido and Neal, and for those hoping to see the two teaming up for a new game. Though the campaign had it's share problems from the start despite interesting game concept (that would unveil perhaps bit too late):

Pledging for Thorvalla started really slow. Even though one thing probably is, that there weren't enough support for game like this one, the lads behind game perhaps should had planned press-relations bit more effectively. There was nothing wrong with the scene and setting of the game, but it just didn't get (in my opinion) enough recognition by magazines and e-zines. I'm talking by my own personal observations about this matter, since when I was checking out news from Fargo's Wasteland 2 and Obsidian's Project Eternity, the news items were to be found on several major gaming websites, and from Google search as well.

Thorvalla, however, seemed to fade into obscurity a bit on that part, mostly being featured in RPGcodex and some smaller scale blogs like this one. The lads also had a bit slow start with the campaign as there wasn't perhaps enough information about the game on the day one of the campaign, which has been proven to be the most important day of kickstarter campaign, by far. Usually huge slice of the pledges are made in day one.

However, the future kickstarter updates about game revealed perhaps enough information about the game that could had turned several day-1 "no-pledgers" into "potential pledgers", if they had known this information when making decision in the first place. The word about the updates revealing new information about the game didn't seem to spread well enough.

Another speculation, is of course, that there had been already several cRPGs crowd-funded successfully in year 2012, and therefore people were unwilling to spend any more money in this year to more games of the genre. Some people had already emptied their wallets.

One more big thing hampering Thorvalla's kickstarter campaign was, that it's setting, although would produce most likely interesting game, didn't appeal to big mass. More accurately problem relied in game mechanics, considering the game's target audience. Thorvalla in my eyes was aimed for older computer-role-playing-games loving audience rather than for modern cRPG fanatics. We've seen few games like that recently, "the old school cRPGs", to raise enough money needed for development of that kind of a game (as much as there has also been failures in terms of funding). However, old school cRPG fans are very pedantic about the fact that the game should rely on the table-top-rpg-like presentation on it's game mechanics, character building, and combat etc. If the game mechanics feature some "oddities" not regularly used in the regular old school cRPG which emulates table-top-rpg, then it will be far less appealing for gamers like that.

Guido wanted Thorvalla to appeal into that more old-school type audience, yet to use combat mechanics that were unusual for the games like this. Instead of dice rolls and usual cRPG combat, Guido had a vision about combat being handled with sort of "action-cards" representing different attacks and moves. Something that to me sounded like mixture of Magic The Gathering card-game series and original Realms Of Arkania cRPG series. You can read his more accurate description of this in Thorvalla kickstarter website. Needless to say this didn't appeal to many pedantic old-school cRPG fans at all, and therefore Guido and the Team lost some potential pledgers there, where he also didn't gain much audience among those cRPG fans who like newer games like Mass Effect for example.

Guido had his own vision to create something different yet traditional for the genre, which sort of a cut out some potential buyers from the both ends: hard-core old-school cRPG audience and modern cRPG audience, and in the end audience the game was aimed for was perhaps, too thin. This of course is bit sad, since nobody can say that game mechanics and setting for Thorvalla couldn't had worked. Hell, it could had been fresh breath to the cRPG field, but we will never know now.

I would personally like to see Guido and Neal try out a re-launch Thorvalla with improved campaign, either that or try something else. I wonder how much another sequel for Realms Of Arkania, or even Might & Magic, could raise? Another question is though, who owns their rights at the moment, and how much they cost to acquire. Then again, spiritual successor is always possible, too.

1 comment:

  1. Oh... I’m so depressed, I’m a crazy fan of Guido and was curiously hoping to see the two teaming up for a new game. All my hopes are in a blunder.