I always feel a bit sorry for genuine video game Kickstarters. The amounts devs ask for is usually in the low six figures, which is nowhere near the amount you need to make most games pitched on the crowdfunding site. Asking for more tends to draw claims of dev ‘greed’ from people who have no idea how games are made. Indeed, when a game raises several million dollars, it’s assumed that that’s WAY more than needed and the game should never be delayed and should be the best thing since sliced I Am Bread.
On the other side, games asking for a tiny amount of money tend to set off alarm bells, and so I introduce to you Indy Scene Wrestling.
Posted on a wrestling subreddit by “a friend”, Indy Scene Wrestling is the work of Shannon Williams of Grind City Gaming Studio. Ignoring the awful title and the lack of any gameplay footage or demo (a Kickstarter of this kind must have a ‘prototype’, which is completely lacking here), the general tone of this just seems off. The dev, who has no prior experience in the industry, is asking for $7,000 to make a fighting game with multiple arenas, a unique ‘living system that interacts with the wrestlers’ and an absurd 11 game modes. $7,000 would pay for maybe a few programmers for one month going by the current average salary, but miraculously, this will all be paid for with $7,000. I asked the developer to break down the costs and how he was going to accomplish all this with such a low amount.
20 weeks worth of work from the current team: $500 Arenas/UI/Shader and Lighting $1200 Gameplay Programming Phase 1 $1500 Creation Suite/Crowd System $1800 Project Management $2000 Networking integration $2000 Animations retouch after Mocap $2000 Misc(Audio and Particles) $11,000
We started building this game from an engine that was a fighting engine already so the damage system and core elements are already there. What the programmers are doing is adding additional grappling option, more controls and interaction with the surrounding environment. Most games spend majority of the finances on animation. I was lucky enough to purchase 2 motion capture suits from another Kickstarter that uses inertial motion capture. More information about this project will be going up soon as well as a video breaking everything down. Also, with me creating the characters, animations, and arenas, we cut down on alot of costs from jump but those prices I gave you are worst case scenarios to make sure the project gets covered.
Now, I’m not pretending to be an expert in video game budgets, but I know for a fact that “arenas/UI/shader and lighting” costs slightly more than $500. UI development alone is a specialised job which would cost more than $500. Nothing has been properly budgeted for; debugging, music (“audio” is way too vague, is that the music, the mixing, the voice acting, the sound effects, all for $2,000? Also, what are particles in this context?), advertising, post-release support, nothing is explained, just a vague mention of animation being the biggest expense.
The game, which is being developed in Unity, is due to launch on three different platforms (being able to deploy a game over various platforms is one of the key features of Unity), which on its own, when you’re looking at support costs, is going to cost more than $7,000.
The developer, who claims to be hiring people from Unity’s forums, is also said to be putting “80% of his salary” into the game, which if true is just sad. This game is not going to be finished. If a playable demo is released it’ll be a miracle and he should really stop before he goes broke. Not that I think he’s actually doing this.
The game is said to use an existing fight game engine, but it’s not said which engine, or how they’ve paid for it (licensing an engine isn’t cheap, that’s going to take a whopper of a chunk out of his $7,000 budget). It’s not explained how a “living crowd system” is going to be added to an existing engine. Video games aren’t like Lego, you can’t just copy and paste stuff. There’s not a Crowd line of code that you attach to your Fighting Game code that magically makes a playable game.
His last game, which failed miserably on Kickstarter, was Detroit On Fire — a thinly veiled rip off of Def Jam Vendetta — which asked for the interestingly specific fund of $10,030, promising appearances from rappers such as Doughboyz Cashout, Icewear Vezzo and fucking Eminem. The extraordinary lack of knowledge about licensing fees further illustrates how insane this guy is. That, or it’s a massive con.
There are only two outcomes with this, I’m afraid. A game that is barely playable, after having $7,000 of fans’ cash sank into it; a game that will almost certainly launch unfinished, riddled with bugs, and looking like something made in 2002. Or it’s a con and you won’t see anything in return for your $7,000. Either way, it’s bad. There’s also the matter of the Paypal-begging, Kickstarter-disguised page here, which is the final bitter cherry on top of this turd of a cake. This is the Shockmaster of Kickstarters, please don’t back it.