Wrapping Up Successfully Funded Kickstarter Games In Year 2012: Top 50 Most Funded Games And My Personal Favorites

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Prologue

The year 2012 was hugely successful on the part of crowd-funded games in kickstarter.com. Lots of projects made it that year, more than ever before. While in year 2011 there were 87 successfully funded video game based projects in kickstarter.com, in comparison the amount was 255 in year 2012 with December still left out of calculations (Venture Beat. "Kickstarter in 2012: 520,000 backers contributed $79M to game-related projects." December 18, 2012. http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/28/kickstarter-in-2012-52k-backers-contributed-79-million-to-game-related-projects/ (January 6, 2013).). That means roughly that over 300% more projects were successfully funded in 2012 compared to previous year, which is quite remarkable increase.

Most notable event in my opinion was Brian Fargo's successful call for gamers to fund classic style cRPG games, that are dying source these days, and perhaps in addition previous to the event also Double Fine Adventure's huge funding success that also had it's share of making crowd-funding familiar concept of funding video games. Those things really got the snowball rolling on kickstarter.com. Fargo's achievements influenced several more cRPG projects to appear of which some were carefully thought up pitches leading to huge success, while the others truly lacked any real concept and presentation of the game. While some bad presentations got what they deserved, such as Shaker by Tom Hall repeating the word "old-school" until death by boredom without any real concept, there was also few promising pitches such as Thorvalla and Ars Magica which didn't make it.


(Brian Fargo, ex-Interplay founder, InXile Entertainment)

While year 2012 involved many exciting moments, most of the funded kickstarter games of 2012 will see light of the day in 2013 or even 2014, which means that the two upcoming years will probably be the first to show kickstarter games in their true light. Those will be years with lots of broken promises and disappointments for sure, as gamers realise that despite crowd-funded games have deeper interaction with fans, not every developer is cashing out all initial promises for the games. I'm also sure we will see several release dates pushed back, as well as many games rushed out half-optimised. Hopefully, though, there will also be some pleasant surprises when some companies succeed to meet their expectations, if not more. As for one thing, us gamers will see which developers to trust in future.

As a positive thing, many various types of games were successfully funded in 2012 ranging from classic party-based cRPGs to real-time strategy games in veins of Total Annihilation, 4x space strategy in veins of Master Of Orion, sandbox style space-simulators in veins of Elite, adventure games, and many more.. as well as some games that in my opinion are utter crap and I don't get how they got so much funding compared to some others (but I leave those unmentioned).

I've compiled a list of Top 50 most funded successful kickstarter games for you! See it below (also see my personal Top 10 in the end of the post). The list does include short descriptions and links to actual kickstarter websites of each game. The list does NOT include any games that didn't match their goal thus not being funded, any campaigns which are still on-going set to end after last of December 2012, nor any "tech demos", which aren't really full games. Funded amount also does not take into account any other form of funding than kickstarter.com income. Without further ado:



TOP 50 SUCCESSFULLY FUNDED KICKSTARTER GAMES OF 2012
Rank, Name (Developing company)Funded Init. Goal
1 Project Eternity (Obsidian entertainment)$3 986 292 $1 100 000
>> This game will be isometric party-based RPG in veins of many nineties classics such as Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. The game's combat will not be turn-based, but RTwP instead (real-time with pause option) like in aforementioned games. Project Eternity features high-end fantasy setting very much influenced by Dungeons And Dragons whereas magic is common in the game world as well. Game world is not based on any pre-made setting or universe, but instead written from the scratch. The game will have deep character development, deep dialogue (and options), various quests, interesting stories, and character relations. You're able to create one character in the beginning, while the rest of your party will be able to be recruited along the way on your journeys. Game world will consist cities, towns, dungeons, as well as freely explorable wilderness areas. Graphical presentation uses 2D  pre-rendered environment scenes, user interface art, 2D portraits, combined with 3D characters.
2 Double Fine Adventure (Double Fine and 2 Player Productions)$3 337 371 $400 000
>> A company founded by game developer veteran Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango for example) is about to make a point-and-click adventure game based on Double Fine universe which heavily relies on cartoons and drawn art. Will feature voice acting due hugely successful funding. 
3 Wasteland 2 (InXile Entertainment)$2 933 252 $900 000
>> A true sequel to a post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland which was released in 1988 (predecessor to Fallout-series). Brian Fargo aims to bring classic style party-based turn-based cRPGs back alive with this game. Wasteland 2 will feature some core mechanics from it's predecessor, but with a new presentation in rotatable pseudo-isometric 3D view. Action point-based turn-based tactical combat is promised, as well as deep character-development, freely explorable interesting game-world, and meaningful dialogue options.
4 Homestuck Adventure (MS Paint Adventures)$2 485 506 $700 000
>> An adventure game based on "Homestuck" series by Andrew Hussie. It features cartoon-style art that's intentionally badly drawn, and supposedly hilarious. The game is story-driven and.. well.. it reached high funding, but it really isn't something that interests me personally. That's pretty much all I want to say about that. I suppose games like this have their audience since it got massive funding, right?
5 Planetary Annihilation (Uber Entertainment Inc)$2 229 344 $900 000
>> A innovative presentation of real-time strategy game influenced by old classics such as Total Annihilation. The game play leans towards classic RTS games of the nineties, but instead of 2D presentation, the game takes step into fully explorable 3D environments in space. For each game play the game creates procedural set of space including several planets (randomized). You can seamlessly explore and expand between the planets. Planetary Annihilation still features classic RTS game play: building your base, gathering minerals, expanding, producing units, and planning your tactics on attacking and defending against enemies in large scale battles.
6 Star Citizen (Cloud Imperium Games Corporation)$2 134 374 $500 000
>> Insanely ambitious project by Chris Roberts to bring MMO (massively multiplayer online) into modern sandbox-space simulator, influenced by old classics like Privateer and Elite games, but featuring high-end graphics. Star Citizen aims to present almost endless space to explore (100 star systems on launch) in multiplayer mode, combined with story driven single player scenarios seemingly integrated into the same universe. Feature fully dynamic world economy tied to player actions. Roberts promises continuous updates and expansions added to the game on regular basis after the launch. No "pay to win" option, keeping universe ran by playing rather than paying real money for great items. 
7 Shadowrun Returns (Harebrained Schemes LLC)$1 836 447 $400 000
>> Jordan Weisman, original founder of FASA company, known for creating BattleTech and Shadowrun pen and paper role-playing universes in the eighties, aims to bring a turn-based 2D role-playing game to computers based on original Shadowrun universe. The game will also be influenced with original Shadowrun SNES-game. The universe is cyberpunk style setting reminding hugely Blade Runner movie from eighties, which presented one of the dark visions of future. Basis of the game consists of deep story interaction, turn-based tactical combat, in-depth character development and interesting game world presentation.
8 Godus (22cans)$851 982 $720 767
>> A new team led by Peter Molyneux, original creator of first computer god game Populous, is about to make a "spiritual successor" for Populous, an another god game. The game will be presented in full 3D environment, where you indirectly control and influence your tribe of worshippers, and transform the land for their needs. Make your tribe the most powerful, and raid the heretics villages! 22cans promises to mix scope of Populous, detailed construction of Dungeon Keeper, and technical innovation of Black & White.
9 Broken Sword - The Serpent's Curse (Revolution Software)$771 560 $400 000
>> Conspiracies, mysteries, puzzles, and deep-story. Serpent's Curse is a totally new sequel to the Broken Sword franchise, which is known of classic point-and-click style graphic adventures with cartoon-like art, but adult themes. George and Nico are witnessing an armed robbery of a painting in Paris gallery, which leads them to solve sinister mysterious case, racing against the time when dark forces from Europe's turbulent past are woken from their slumber. Charles Cecil has gathered together a team involving many of the original game developers from The Serpent's Cures predecessors. 
10 The Banner Saga (Stoic)$723 886 $100 000
>> The Banner Saga aims to bring a mature-themed graphically cartoon-like story-driven turn-based strategy game to computers. Early preview videos show combat to take place in pseudo-isometric view presenting grid-based battlefield. The game looks like something out of animated films influenced by norse culture and vikings. The Banner Saga has quite unique graphical approach.
11 Castle Story (Sauropod Studio)$702 516 $80 000
>> Another obviously Minecraft-influenced game. Castle Story calls itself a strategy game which is about building castles brick by brick and defending against enemy attacks. Art-style is something like goofy and vibrant cartoons combined with lego-like edgy terrain. Not my cup of a tea, but looks better than Yogventures in my opinion. Probably aimed for younger audience.
12 The Leisure Suit Larry (Replay Games)$655 182 $500 000
>> Adventure game designer Al Lowe returns to re-make the original Leisure Suit Larry game. The franchise is known of story-driven graphic point-and-click adventure games featuring loads of comedy and soft erotic. This is not a new chapter, but a re-make, featuring updated graphics, music, user interface, and perhaps even part of the dialogue is going to get a fresh touch. The re-make sticks to the original art-style, however.
13 Carmageddon Reincarnation (Stainless Games)$625 134 $400 000
>> Original creators of Carmageddon titles bump their heads together for bringing a Carmageddon sequel for modern computers. The game will feature some re-made old maps, as well as old vehicles and characters, in addition with some totally new stuff. Expect fun arcade-racing where you can freely explore the map and be rewarded for crushing your opponents cars Destruction Derby style, as well as running over pedestrians. Will include wicked power-ups to spice up game-play. The most bloodiest, funniest, and brutal driving game returns (in hopefully well made sequel).
14 Tex Murphy – Project Fedora (Chris Jones & Aaron Conners)$598 104 $450 000
>> Fedora aims to bring real adventure games back to life re-uniting original Tex Murphy  games creators C.Jones and A.Conners (Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon and Pandora Directive) for another shot. The game will combine FMV (full-motion video) style presentation from the mid-90s adventure games with real actors, deep storyline, memorable characters, and taking place in full 3D environment. Like it's predecessors you step in shoes of a detective investigating crime-scenes and interviewing people to get clues about solving crimes and mysteries. Art-style blends sci-fi and film-noir together.
15 Yogventures! (Winterkewl Games LLC)$567 665 $250 000
>> An open world sandbox adventure game designed in first and foremost multiplayer mode in mind. Allows you to shape worlds in bit similar fashion than Minecraft and share with friends. The game uses full 3D-engine, and art could be though like this: combine cube-shaped legos and cartoons and you get what this game looks like. Not my cup of a tea.
16 Shadowrun Online (Cliffhanger Productions)$558 863 $500 000
>> From same company that developed Jagged Alliance Online recently, using most likely quite similar base-engine for the game. SR:O will be tactical turn-based RPG set in the world of Shadowrun using Unity3D game engine. The gill work as browser-game, as well as downloadable client for PC, Mac, iOS, and Andreid tablets. Free-to-play once bought, but with upcoming add-ons (cities, campaigns, etc.) that cost.
17 Republique (Camouflaj)$555 662 $500 000
>> Originally planned for touch-based devices. A game's story starts with a phone call from a young woman trapped in shadowy totalitarian state controlled by omnipresent Overseer. She begs you to help her to escape the state. You step in sort of a "big brother's" shoes as a spectator through security cameras, whereas you have to hack into nations network system to observe and help the woman by hacking the system by shutting lights, wiretap calls, summon elevators and so on. Republique aims to be an action/stealth game without killing promising: 4-6hours of campaign, stealth/survival game play, gripping story, full voice-overs, and real-time cinematics. Sounds bit too mainstream for me (with some promising elements), but we'll see.
18 Two Guys SpaceVenture (Two Guys From Andromeda)$539 767 $500 000
>> A story-driven sci-fi comedy adventure game from original creators of Space Quest series: Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe. This game features interplanetary exploration, space travel, puzzles, and lots of humour.. not forgetting emphasis on voice acting. Graphics are generally presented in 2D, but do contain some 3D characters, rest of the presentation is still bit unclear.
19 Grim Dawn (Crate Entertainment) $537 515 $280 000
>> Original creators of Diablo influenced Titan Quest are set to make a spiritual successor for it: "Grim Dawn". It will be victorian era fantasy action-RPG with open-world and lots of past-paced action, like featured in Diablo series. Game's story takes place in dark world setting in times where only last glimpse of humankind survivalists are still alive, being sandwiched between two kinds of otherworldly powers, of which other tries to use human bodies as resource, while other tries to kill the remains of human race first. Some promised things are: vast open world, random events, five skill classes (can combine two), refined loot system more focused on meaningful loots more rarely than loads of junk, quests, modding tools, online and LAN game play.
20 CLANG (Subutai Corporation)$526 125 $500 000
>> Neal Stephenson aims to make a sword-fighting game focusing on combat and it's physics. The game will come out as one-on-one multiplayer duelling game at first, but will expand on actual game-world with stories and quests later on. CLANG is bit unclear case just yet.
21 Jane Jensen's Moebius (+"Mystery Game X" 3rd person dark setting) $435 316 $300 000
>> A metaphysical thriller of game in veins of Gabriel Knight. The is adventure game in it's heart with 2D graphic novel look and it uses 3rd person-view. Moebius follows the roots of classic point-and-click adventure-games featuring many puzzles to come. Additional game to choose: "Mystery Game X" similar to Moebius, but featuring 3rd-person view and overall dark theme. 
22 SolForge (digi card trading game) $429 715 $250 000
>> From creators of Ascension and Magic The Gathering trading card games comes a new digital trading card game. The game will be free-to-play (after initial funding), coming out as online game for PC and mobile platforms.
23 Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption (Corey Cole)$409 150 $400 000
>> From creators of Quest For Glory comes top-down 2D (or possibly isometric 2D) adventure-RPG. Hero-U aims to feature deep story driven experience with memorable characters, combined with turn-based combat, character development, puzzles, and fun uplifting atmosphere. So far art has looked very cartoon-like, which doesn't really look like something I'd enjoy that much, but who knows maybe core of this game can still become solid.
24 Dead State (DoubleBear Productions)$332 653 $150 000
>> A party-based survival RPG set in zombie apocalypse presented in top-down rotatable 3D-view. This game promises to offer deep character interaction and relations, world exploration, survival game play, scavenging, and tactical grid-based combat featuring fog-of-war.
25 Defense Grid 2 (Hidden Path Entertainment, AMD & Razer)$271 726 $250 000
>> A "tower-defense"-game, where you spend resources to build your static base out of different types of towers (armed with guns) as you face hordes of enemies attacking your base. Some basic strategy is involved within the game play and quick reflexes and thinking are required to keep up the pace while under attack.
26 Sui Generis (Battle Mere Entertainment)$257 969 $240 255
>> An open-world class-free RPG set in dark and hostile medieval world setting. Right now, Sui Generis seems to focus more on it's physics-driven combat engine and changing game-world and weather-effects, rather than on story and deep character builds and skills.
27 Pier Solar HD (WaterMelon Co.)$231 370 $139 000
>> Bringing an original SEGA Mega Drive and SEGA Genesis old-school anime-style top-down RPG for Xbox360, PC, Mac, Linux & Sega Dreamcast with redone high definition graphics faithful to the original presentation. In veins of Chrono Trigger and Secret Of Mana.
28 Maia (Simon Roth)$225 008 $160 238
>> A Sci-fi god-game taking place in alien world spiced up with dark humor. The game features exploration, mining minerals, building rooms, researching technology, taking care of colonists of yours, and building up defences against attacks. Your colony will face hostile attacks and environmental hazards, as you're doing your best to keep it growing.
29 Takedown (Christian Allen, Serellan LCC)$221 833 $200 000
>> A tactical first-person shooter and spiritual successor to the original Rainbow Six and SWAT 4. The game focuses on  realistic weapons, strategy, tactics, and squad based game-play. Once your team member is dead, he's dead for good.
30 FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)$200 542 $10 000
>> A Roguelike-like (word-monster!) strategic space simulation where you take control of a space-ship and it's crew while exploring the galaxy. Focus of the game is on top-down grid-based ship-view where you constantly have to command your crew to take care of your ship during battles. Out now!
31 Limit theory (Josh Parnell)$187 865 $50 000
>> A sandbox-style space-simulator with free exploration of infinite space. Features trading, fighting, exploration, and mining. Presented in 3rd person view with rotatable camera. Bit like Elite, Privateer, Freelancer and such games, but game play demos gives me rather familiar feeling of Hardwar (taken to space).
32 Project Giana (Black Forest Games)$186 158 $150 000
>> A sequel to the original Super Mario Bros clone "The Great Giana Sisters" released in 1987. Staying true to it's side-scrolling platformer roots. Includes music by Chris Hülsbeck (Turrican).
33 Strike Suit Zero (Born Ready Games)$174 804 $100 000
>> Influenced by frantic 90s space-combat games, but presented with modern day graphics. Featuring massive battles and intense dog-fighting. As a new take smaller space-ships can transform into "mech"-like robots in heat of the battle.
34 Zombie Playground (Massive Black Inc)$167 590 $100 000
>> You take a role of a kid in times of zombie apocalypse. Described as "online team-based 3D action-game played in 3rd-person-view with over-the-shoulder camera. Not my cup of a tea.
35 Distance (Refract Studios)$161 981 $125 000
>> Futuristic and totally un-realistic arcade racer featuring wicked physics and vehicles. Flashy game-world with neon colours and dark skies. Roads feature lots of obstacles intending to slow you down.
36 Nekro (darkForge)$158 733 $100 000
>> A top-town-view 3D game influenced by Dungeon Keeper and Myth, where you control powerful Necromancer summoning minions. Game world is randomly generated. You're set on a revenge against corrupt King who killed you previously. Your powers grow the more living you slay. World of Warcraft resembling art-style.
37 Starlight Inception (Escape Hatch Entertainment)$158 152 $150 000
>> A space-simulator promised to be in veins of Wing Commander and Freespace series. Features 1st-person cockpit view and 3d-person view with blend of action (scenarios) and storyline. Combat takes place in moons and space with interplanetary exploration included.
38 The Dead Linger (Sandswept Studios)$154 968 $60 000
>> An open world sandbox-style FPS-style zombie survival game with looting and inventory available, with obvious focus on action. Huge random generated game-world. Scavenge, explore, and fight zombies. 
39 Xenonauts (Goldhawk Interactive)$154 715 $50 000
>> In veins of the classic X-Com series with strategic management of bases around the globe and command of personal forces against alien invasion. Includes turn-based ground combat.
40 Sportsfriends (Die Gute Fabrik)$152 451 $150 000
>> Four "joyful" multi-player sports games for PS3 and PC. Designed for motion-controllers. For festivals and home-parties. Social take on concept.
41 Star Command (N/A)$151 806 $100 000
>> Cartoon-like spaceship management game art-wise dating back to 8-bit and 16-bit era glory with pseudo-isometric view and ship building and space exploration. Originally for iOS and Android (which mightn't be start), soon ported for PC/Mac.
42 Sir You Are Being Hunted (Big Robot)$148 239 $64 068
>> First-person survival-horror-shooter. A weird combination of a game taking place in procedurally create British dark landscapes, where robots hunt you. Features lootable items and inventory, and involves lots of exploration and stealth elements. Out of ordinary concept at least to say.
43 Shadowgate (Zojoi)$137 232 $120 000
>> A classic first-person fantasy point-and-click puzzle/adventure game re-imagined and enhanced for PC, featuring some members who created original Shadowgate.
44 Word Realms (Asymmetric)$121 442 $100 000
>> Cartoon-like graphics and story-driven loose RPG with combat mechanics relying on making up words out of letters, of which success defines your damage. Weird stuff.
45 Forsaken Fortress (Photon Productions)$121 096 $100 000
>> A survival RPG focusing on defending a team set in player-built home-base within post-apocalyptic world, as well as scavenging around it for food and items. Interesting concept.
46 Barkley 2 (Tales of Game's)$120 335 $35 000
>> An RPG sequel to Barkley Shut Up And Jam with unique cyberpunk-like art combined with 8-bit and 16-bit gaming era influence and weird comedy. Played in top-down-view. 
47 Unforgotten Quest (Robert Moran)$118 824 $100 000
>> Very cartoon-look-a-like side-scrolling platformer. Featuring RPG-like elements such as loot, levels, skills, quests, and co-op-mode. Perhaps for younger audience.
48 Mercenary Kings (Tribute Games)$116 064 $75 000
>> A vibrant side-scrolling platformer in veins of 8-bit and 16-bit era with weapon crafting included.
49 Kaiju Combat (Sunstone Games LLC.)$112 513 $100 000
>> An online fighting game bringing mythological and legendary monsters on the field such as Godzilla. Simple as that.
50 Furcadia (Dragon's Eye Production & Catnip Studios)$106 835 $55 000
>> Vibrant look as in anime, but western response with overly cute art. This is social MMO (Not my cup of a tea).
15 MORE MENTION WORTHY GAMES
Name (Developing Company)FundedInit. Goal
Cheetahmen II The Lost Levels (Greg Pabich)$94 270 $65 000
>> Bringing unreleased Cheetahmen II cartridge to retro NES systems, enhanced to fully working version. Unreleased NES game in 2013, outrageously.. cool?
M.O.R.E. (IdeaLcenter)$90 925 $50 000
>> Old-school style turn-based 4X sci-fi space strategy game in veins of Master Of Orion series featuring galaxy and battles, races in bit similar fashion as it's idol.
Greed monger (Jason M. Appleton)$90 132 $30 000
>> Medieval-themed fantasy MMORPG with 1st-person/freely rotatable 3D-view. PVP, PVE, housing. No item-drops, but all items forged of materials instead.
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (Steve Pigott)$85 934 $50 000
>> Fast-paced medieval 1st-person/3rd-person action game focusing on combat mechanics and large melee battles.Scenarios: raid villages, besiege castles etc.. Skyrim-look-alike combat.
Legends of Eisenwald (Aterdux Entertainment)$83 577 $50 000
>> Strategic medieval non-magic RPG featuring turn-based battles. Combination of strategy and RPG with top-down rotatable 3D-view.
Drifter (Celsius Game Studios)$81 304 $50 000
>> A 3rd-person view sci-fi space simulator focusing on vast space, exploration, and trading.
Expeditions: Conquistador (Logic Artists)$77 247 $70 000
>> Story-driven pseudo-isometric-view adventure/RPG with strategic combat and resource management based in 1518 conquistador-era at South America.
Kinetic Void (Sean Pollman)$66 528 $60 000
>> Sci-fi space simulator game with free exploration and third-person view, focusing on procedural content and customisation.
Forced (BetaDwarf)$65 413 $40 000
>> Cooperative fast-paced arena combat game with Diablo influences.
Jack Houston and the Necronauts (Warbird Games)$64 256 $56 000
>> Retro style point-and-click graphic sci-fi adventure set in space.
Quest For Infamy (Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander)$63 281 $25 000
>> Retro-style point-and-click adventure/RPG with Quest For Glory-like graphics.
Predestination (Daniel Morse)$49 899 $25 000
>> Turn-based space strategy game in veins of Master Of Orion.
Arakion (Chris Taylor)$47 580 $25 000
>> 1st person party-based 3D RPG influenced by Might & Magic with Bastion-like vibrant graphics.
Malevolence: the Sword of Ahkranox (N/A)$33 506 $6 000
>> Single character 3D first person RPG with procedural infinite content.
Legend of Dungeon (RobotLovesKitty)$32 999 $5 000
>> Rogue-like co-op beat'em up dungeon crawler with early 90s style graphics.

Personal Top 10 of successfully funded kickstarter games in 2012


This is my personal Top 10 list of my favourite games that were funded last year. Bare in mind that this list is based on premise set by the game in their kickstarter pitches rather than on ready products, since almost each of these (and following honorable mentions rewarded) games are yet unreleased and in early stage of development and we don't know yet how the final product will be! However, I felt that these ten were the most interesting games for me personally:

1. Shadowrun Returns



This game was my third most expected game for long time after Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 (forming cRPG kickstarter trio of 2012), but the more updates Harebrained Schemes release, the better the game starts to sound like. First of all I appreciate they stuck with the turn-based combat with 2D environment graphics and 3D rendered characters on top of them. In early screen shots the graphics look beautiful, and the cyberpunk setting totally works. Harebrained Schemes postponed the release date, with what, half year? Just because they realized that they were making game with huge potential, so the company wanted to give deeper game for us gamers than they initially planned, and it's coming out really nicely.

It just keeps amazing me how well they seem to be implementing original Shadowrun universe and it's rules into the game, how good character system sounds due latest updates, and how great the art theme looks. Really looking forward to this one! And who's better to do Shadowrun universe implementation to computer game from original pen-and-paper game, than it's original creator? All hail Jordan Weisman!

2. Project Eternity



A party-based cRPG in veins of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, which used classic Infinity Engine for it's graphics with beautiful 2D environmental backgrounds? Count me in! I've waited a game like that to come out for some time, while still playing the old ones once in a while. However, modern games that have tried to adopt the same feeling with full 3D graphics such as Dragon Age: Origins, haven't really managed to capture the magic (DA:O was still enjoyable game in my opinion, though).

Who's better to do such a spiritual successor for Baldur's Gate than ex-members of legendary Black Isle Studios, now within ranks of Obsidian Entertainment? And even better, with presentation truly influenced by the old-school games rather than turning it into modernised version! The team will feature known names such as Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, Josh Sawyer, Scott Everts. These guys have worked with games like Fallout, Arcanum, Temple of Elemental Evil, Fallout: New Vegas and so on.

Project Eternity will truly bring back the magic of mid- and late nineties cRPG graphics, with deep character generation and development, and vast dialogue options. The early screenshots really impressed me of their in-game art, just the graphical presentation that I was looking for. Although game mechanics are heart of the game, graphics have huge meaning for me too. And I don't talk about high-end graphics, but rather it's style and presentation, whereas P:E seems to set things right paying honor to old good infinity engine and beautifully drawn 2D environments. Recent updates about diverse combat mechanics have also got me even more excited about Project Eternity. Sure, it will be probably another cRPG that we've seen before (in the nineties), but so far it seems to become a good and stylish one. Really looking forward to this!

3. Wasteland 2



Brian Fargo's personal war against publisher's control over a game developer. Fargo started his own rebel act saying that he doesn't care for publisher influencing his work, he wants to make games he likes, not the ones he's publisher likes. Thus he found another way to get funding for computer game, crowd-funding through services like kickstarter.com and indiegogo.com - and boy was he successful on funding Wasteland 2. Money just kept coming and coming from the fans hungry for old-school influenced post-apocalyptic computer role-playing game.

What interests me in this game though, is it's story-line taking place in post-apocalyptic world. A setting that is usually win-win situation and fascinates me a lot. Also knowing Fargo's merits with being involved in original Wasteland and forming Interplay Entertainment (company who made Fallout 1 and 2) adds some excitement. But overall the game sounds great on paper too. Post-apocalyptic party-based cRPG with party creation, free exploration, and turn-based combat based on action-points per turn led by a man who's influenced with Fallout and Jagged Alliance cannot be too bad can it?

Although first in-game-screenshots featuring full 3D in Unity engine didn't look all perfect (but not too bad either, just bit faceless), I'm still hugely excited about Wasteland 2, and hope it will be a great game. However, I will have to rank it to third position now instead of initial rank #1 due the fact that my expectations have dropped just slightly.

4. Shadowgate



I remember playing this game quite often as a kid on old NES. It was one of the more scary games back then that I didn't fully understand, and man that those death scenes used to freak me out. Hundreds of ways to die. Shadowgate presented classic first-person point-and-click adventure-puzzle game with great atmosphere and memorable music, and yes, memorable rooms to encounter.

This is re-make of the classic, and it seems to follow the style of the old game very honestly. Re-made art-work I've seen so far has been totally stylish and awesome, and the re-made music has been great too! The game is made by original developers of original Shadowgate, so they should know their game well. In addition to just updating the whole game with new graphics and music, they are also re-doing some of the puzzles, varying content of some rooms a bit, and also adding quite nice chunk of totally new rooms with new puzzles into the game. This game so far looks insanely cool and worthy re-make of the original Shadowgate. Do you sense me having some nostalgia over here? Of course, I do, but honestly, putting nostalgia aside this project still amazes me.

5. Carmageddon Reincarnation



Well, another nostalgic moment takes me back to late nineties. Back then a racing game was released that raised a lot of controversy and was banned in several countries: Carmageddon. It featured great intro and cut-scenes, total metal soundtrack, and it even awarded you for running over grannies and lambs.. in a bloody, graphic way of presentation. And yeah, it was cool.

But the game also presented fun arcade-like racing with free exploration of the map, twisted physics, even more twisted power-ups (electrocuting pedestrians?), unique cars with bumpers full of spikes (you know why, right?), and all that stuff. The cars were also destructible and damage caused to them was literally to be seen on the screen. It was all quite innovative for year, what, 1997? The original game also featured cash to update your cars (yes you could also get enemy cars awarded at the end of race if you were lucky) awarded after each race depending how many people you ran over and how many cars you wrecked.

Now all this is coming back, updated towards more nowadays graphics, and it's made by majority of the original Carmageddon team. While actual information and game play material has been a bit scarce so far, I'm still looking forward for a Carmageddon sequel. Two things are sure: the game will be bloody, and it will have wicked power-ups again. It's quite rooted to it's predecessors, and well, we'll see how it turns out. A lot depends of driving model and physics model they implement to the game this time, as well as of the map quality.

6.Star Citizen



Will Chris Roberts succeed to seamlessly combine massive multiplayer online space simulator and a single player campaign together? Will he succeed to implement massive multiplayer mode into almost endless galaxy containing 100 star system even after initial launch? This game is hugely ambitious project, and very interesting one, even when I generally am not huge space simulator fan. I've had my moments with Freelancer, Privateer, and Freespace but that's pretty much it.

Well, the scale of this game is just enormous, but combining Elite-like freedom of exploration and career choice in almost limitless universe to large scale multiplayer experience and world economy transformed by player actions - it's indeed tempting idea, and Chris Roberts even promises free regular micro-updates adding more content to the game after the release.

On top of it all the game aims for high-end next-generation graphics. Outrageous? Even I might be influenced to update my computer for this game after few years if it looks like it really succeeds to be what it promises to be. This might be the wet dream of sandbox-style space simulator fan, who while playing Privateer said: "Wish I could play this with hundreds of others similarly, but it's never gonna happen".

7. The Banner Saga



Now this one looks quite unique. Banner Saga features that drawing-like or cartoon-like artwork from animated pictures we used to love as a kid, but featuring mature themes. The game setting is influenced by norse culture and vikings in general. Hell, the look of it reminds me of Asterix And Obelix series turned into more mature series.

Banner Saga will present deeply story-driven adventure game with turn-based strategic combat, which uses grid-system for movement. It also features recruiting several unique characters along your journeys that will fight along you in battles. I like the fact that your dialogue choices also will mean a lot how the story plays out, and the game art looks totally beautiful. Overall, this looks interesting setting and combination of different elements, and might come out as authentic game.

8. Dead State



When I first read about this game, I was only moderately interested in it. Ideas were good on the paper, but first pictures of the game didn't look that good. The game generally looked bit "cheap". Then the team moved into kickstarter.com and got their funding (over double of the amount they asked for). I think that lately Doublebear Productions has made some progress and the game seems to take shape of exciting game.

Survival cRPG under zombie apocalypse is interesting idea and offers exciting game setting with limitless possibilities to create a great game, whereas success depends about presentation and interesting ideas. So far the more ideas I heard about Dead State the better it sounds after bit dull start of things. In the game you step in shoes of group of survivalists under zombie apocalypse. You can create your own character but the rest are most likely just there for recruit for your party. You only control your own character directly while the others have mind of their own (AI), and might rebel against you or disagree. As this is survival game, exploration of the world to scavenge food and items is crucial. Character relations also play a big part in the game.

Dead State combat takes place in grid-based turn-based combat event. It features fog of war meaning that if your member doesn't have line of sight for an enemy, it's now shown up in the game-view. Party members can also wound in several ways including getting infected or blind, or they may panic. Use of the medic is indeed necessary. Like there should be in cRPG, all party members have their stats and perks, and they will get better over time. Dead State will also feature extensive amount of lootable items and weapons.

Generally the setting of this game sounds really great, and I have feeling that DoubleBear Productions is on the right tracks for this game. If they are able to make dialogue interesting, and combat to feel interesting event rather than repetitive grinding, as well as make the world vibrant place with a lot to offer and explore never really feeling dull experience, this game can be a true winner.

9. Xenonauts



Everything in this game screams for a spiritual successor for original X-Com game. You'll manage a bases or multiple bases around the globe with a mission to defend Earth against alien invasion from space. Xenonauts  features similar game play than X-Com with "globe-view" where you can set your aircraft for instance to guard certain points around the Earth to track down alien aircraft and manage your bases. When you have spotted an U.F.O you can engage aerial combat bit similar to original X-Com. The game also features turn-based ground combat, where you manage a squad of soldiers taking against aliens with firearms. Xenonauts features fully destructible environments in ground combat missions, recovering and researching alien technology and corpses, and building new weaponry due your advancements in research!

Again, a lot of this game's success depends of how well the game and it's elements are implemented, and how well Goldhawk Interactive succeeds to update X-Com's game play and it's shortcomings (which aren't many). The core of the game itself is not too original, since it is almost copy of X-Com's core elements. However, X-Com rocked and provided quite a bit replayability value too, so why wouldn't I want another game like it if it was made with style and contained some good updates to the game play? If that will be the case, remains to be seen. But I'm quietly excited about this one.

10. M.O.R.E.



M.O.R.E. aims to bring 4x turn-based space strategy games alive from the dead. The 4x stands for "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate". This game pays honor to games like Master Of Orion franchise. Select your race, create a random-generated game world with size of your liking, and go expand your space-empire, research technology, gather resources, and manage relations with other races, often leading into problems solved with war. That's pretty much what M.O.R.E. is about.

I have very good feeling of this game and it totally surprised me when I first time saw it's pitch video on kickstarter.com as I wasn't expecting much from very low tier budget game. It's impressive nodding rooted towards Master Of Orion, but most of all, the game seems to very stylish too. M.O.R.E. will feature whopping 20 different unique races with each having unique appearance, military tactics, own living-condition requirements and personalities. But that's not all. What I meant by stylish presentation earlier on, is that each race for example also features their own unique animated cut-scenes, own personal user-interfaces, and own music. That should be something really cranking up the game atmosphere and make each race feel like their own experience to play!

Other than that the game features: planetary micromanagement, spy system, extensive diplomacy, vast technology tree, random generated galaxy of the scale you prefer, and tactical turn-based grid-based combat. And much more. Really hoping M.O.R.E. will turn out to be a great game despite it's small budget of $90 000. User interface graphics still could use some work to make them more appealing, but the general game play ideas by the team are fantastic.

Five honorable mentions of successfully funded kickstarter games in year 2012


Games that didn't quite reach to my personal Top 10-list, but nevertheless, left some kind of a promising impression and possibility to surprise us yet in the future.

Tex Murphy - Project Fedora



Bringing true point-and-click adventures with witty humour and dark mysteries alive following the nineties style of adventure-games from CD-ROM era. A sequel for Pandora Directive and Under A Killing Moon is always welcome! In my opinion Project Fedora is the flag-carrier of the 2012 kickstarter games to support a dying adventure genre.

Barkley 2



Sequel to Barkley Shut Up And Jam. Stylish top-down isometric cyberpunk presentation with insanely weird humour graphically in veins of perhaps 16-bit or 8-bit console era RPGs, but not quite as over-pukingly vibrant than many anime games from the aforementioned era. Looks like stylish, entertaining, and interesting game so far.

Grim Dawn



A classy looking dark-themed and Diablo inspired hack'n'slash action-RPG from makers of Titan Quest, looking to be on the right tracks for entertaining game. It's core elements feature exploration, character development, and vast loot collection in dark world setting. Not perhaps the most unique game funded in year 2012, but will most likely come out as enjoyable for the fans of the genre.

Expeditions: Conquistadors



Story-driven isometric action-RPG with tactical turn-based party-based combat. The game takes place in setting of 1500s conquistador-era in South America where you take a role of Spanish Conquistador, a setting that I don't recall seeing quite often. The game features nice combination of resource management, party-management, tactical combat, story and dialogue, and exploration, with rather loose looking but implemented RPG elements, such as bunch of skills, personality traits, and special moves for combat.

The only thing that worries me right now is that does the quite small budged allow the team to implement all the good core elements to the game they want to, and do they have the cash to shape it up into the game they have vision of, because I have feeling they have rather good vision about quite complex computer game. Other than that, Expeditions' core elements and game play looks like quite nice and promising at the moment, but it can still be top of flop when released. Check it out though!

FTL: Faster Than Light



Faster Than Light is roguelike-like spaceship simulation where you take role of a ship captain as you're exploring the surrounding galaxy. Instead of dog fighting, the game takes focus on managing your crew in the heat of the battle, and ordering them to put out fire, repair shields, killing intruders boarding your space ship, and so on.

The main view of the game therefore takes place in top-down view of your ship, where the ship is split into grids presenting it's different areas, and the crew is located inside ready to take action towards anything that's up to come. Game play is rather hectic, and once you're dead, you're dead and have to start all over again. In this matter the game is quite unforgiving but also challenging and fun.

FTL managed to raise over 2000% budget out of it's initial goal, which is somewhat remarkable. Now they've also released the game as fully functional and it's there up for grabs and play. While this may not be the most revolutionary game concept ever, FTL certainly has it's unique appeal and it's worth a try for anyone who ever wanted to manage space ship and it's crew. Kill the intruders!


Runner-Ups that didn't fit into any of my top-lists:

Forsaken Fortress, which had nice theme and ideas managing a base and crew in post-apocalyptic word with exploration and scavenge options, but game play videos didn't quite convince me, The Leisure Suit Larry, which is basically just re-make of the old with updated graphics but no new content, Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse, which may turn out to be a fine adventure game and surprise me even if I'm not biggest animated adventure game fan, Godus, a god game from the master which art and graphical style so far didn't really catch my interest but the mechanics behind the game should be fine, Cheetahmen II: The Lost levels, a cartridge for original NES, which is the nostalgia bomb in the list for sure, Legends Of Eisenwald, a party-based low-fantasy medieval strategic RPG which had some nice ideas but looked bit bland on game play part of things, and Sir You Are Being Hunted, which had unique setting and theme as a action-stealth-robo-horror FPS taking place in British country-side, but I'm still not quite convinced of it. Also Daggerfall-influenced Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox had some potential, but I don't think that the potential is going to be cashed with small budged and a team, who aim to replace decent story with endless procedural content and world, and why couldn't they make it party-based cRPG if it's turn-based game, instead of just one character?


-www.thegamersdungeon.com




1 comment:

  1. It appears my personal TOP 1 favorites list #1 position holder Shadowrun Returns didn't quite cash the expectations set for it. Well, hopefully Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity do better.

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