Each video game that is created from a successful Kickstarter campaign serves as another piece of evidence to prove just how wrong AAA publishers have been about what gamers truly desire. As a separate entity, Kickstarter has become an increasingly viable platform for popular game development personalities and passionate creators to make games that would have otherwise never been funded by big-name publishers.
Currently, there are a multitude of games that serve as prime examples of titles that have either been turned down or ignored by publishers, only to gain new life by conducting well-received Kickstarter campaigns and become successful releases on the market. The success stories of these games show that publishers in the gaming industry are forgoing stacks of money on the table by not being in tune with what consumers want to buy.
A phrase that has been constantly used when discussing games that have found success from Kickstarter have been coined, “spiritual successor”. This title derives from the similarities to series and titles that were once backed up by major publishers in the industry. The most recent example of this, and a big missed opportunity for AAA publishers, is Koji Iragashi’s spiritual successor to the Castlevania series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Originally, Igarashi had planned to have a campaign that lasted for 30 days and a goal of $500,000 to be funded towards the development of the game. To everyone’s surprise, the game was not only fully funded within a four hour period from the start, but had generated an amazing amount of more than one million from Kickstarter backers, and that amount continues to climb by the hour.
Igarashi told his story about how his vision for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night spawned from the desire to advance the “metroid-vania” gameplay style further, only to be constantly turned down by major publishers throughout the industry. Igarashi stated, “We went to many different people about Bloodstained. All of them were willing to work with Igarashi and were enthusiastic… but all of them had passed….” says Igarashi’s translator in an interview with KindaFunny Games on a Twitch stream for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
As the interview with Igarashi continued, he voiced his wishes that more of this style of game would be available on the market, but major publishers passed on his pitch because they believed nobody would want to buy this kind of game in this day and age. One million dollars of consumer generated money from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’s Kickstarter campaign certainly say otherwise.
Igarashi’s game isn’t the only title to have fast success using Kickstarter. Other titles, including 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee from Playtonic Games, a game which recently found success through crowd funding as well. The campaign for Yooka-Laylee generated more than $1 million dollars within forty minutes from when the Kickstarter went live.
To date, Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter campaign is the fastest and most successful, generating over $1 million from consumer pledges. In various interviews and information about Yooka-Laylee, former RARE developers stated that their desire for creating Yooka-Laylee originated from a lack of creative freedom when making games like Banjo-Kazooie, a title owned by Microsoft Studios.
Members of Playtonic Games attributed the lack of good 3D platformers in the market to major publishers believing that 3D platformers would not sell well on the market. A lot of this is due to the poor reception of RARE’s Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts on Xbox 360, which was heavily criticized by many for the missing elements that had transformed the older titles into beloved classics.
These examples, and quite a few others, clearly show that big name publishers are out of touch with what a large portion of gamers are willing to buy. It is certainly true that well established titles will sell well in the industry, but this doesn’t mean that they are the only kinds of games that consumers want to buy into.
In a gaming industry that is now dominated by a blending landscape of watered-down ideas and recycled sequels, there are games that are now finding great success by appealing to a demographic of enthusiastic gamers that would directly support them.
It’s fair to say that millions of dollars generated in mere hours and days is very hard for any proper business to ignore. This analysis of desire vs. trend could prove to be a very useful element for AAA publishers when analyzing the success of their I.Ps. Ignoring this newfound development of information while avoiding the crowd-ignited success of these Kickstarter funded games is equivalent to leaving money on the table for others to scoop up.
How do you feel about video games taking off through crowd funding? Do you think that successful publishers are no longer essential to a game’s success? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!!!