2012 truly has been the year of Kickstarter, with so many projects being launched on the crowd-sourcing platform. It’s also been a great gauge to see just how willing gamers are to pay for something that is unique, retro or a direct sequel, creating a new market for games that aren’t beholden to include specific features at the behest of big name publishers. But it seems that not even Kickstarter is safe from such meddling, as Obsidian has just detailed a little interference from the shadier side of game production.
Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart has claimed that several big name publishers have recently approached developers to start a Kickstarter campaign, with successfully funded games then being published through the company. As Urquhart detailed on the Project Eternity Kickstarter page, doing so would then result in the game brand becoming the property of said publisher, with close to buggerall of the profits going back to the developers;
We were actually contacted by some publishers over the last few months that wanted to use us to do a Kickstarter. I said to them: ‘So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don’t get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits.’ They said, ‘Yes’.
And while that might sound a touch sinister, Urquhart believes that the companies in question actually had good intentions in mind, as they were seeking to experiment with new avenues of getting a game released;
I think they were trying, honestly, to be able to do something with us and they felt that was the easiest way to do it. They would then not need to go get budget approved and deal with the challenge of that. What I don’t think they did was to think about our side of it and what they were really asking.
Good intentions are one thing, but when making a profit is the driving force behind a company, silly things can happen. There’s a reason why Kickstarter is so popular, and that’s because developers get a chance to make the games that they want to make, and not just a four-hour long single-player experience with pay to win multiplayer tacked on.
As for that Obsidian Kickstarter game, Project Eternity, their old school RPG game is well and truly funded, currently sitting at just over $1.7 million so far.