Crate Entertainment has taken the wraps off of a new action-RPG for the PC called Grim Dawn and is asking for help from the community to get the game finished and launched.
Formed by two veterans of the defunct Titan Quest developer Iron Lore Studios, Crate Entertainment initially wanted to focus on console development but decided last year to find its feet by sticking to more familiar territory: Creating PC games using a modified version of the Titan Quest engine. Crate co-founder Arthur Bruno said that approach would let the company stay small while taking advantage of digital distribution to keep the project viable.
The new studio’s first game has now been revealed to the public: Grim Dawn, an action-RPG set on the dark world of Cairn, where the human race is on the verge of extinction, caught in a cataclysmic war between two other races who see humanity as nothing but a resource to be exploited or destroyed. But there’s a bit of a twist to this project: In order to avoid surrendering control of the IP to a publisher, Crate is seeking financing directly from gamers in the form of very early preorders.
“The greatest impact of preordering now is that it will help save us, the developers, from having to give up the intellectual property rights to Grim Dawn in exchange for additional funding. This is not only important for us as a company but it has benefits for you, our audience, as well,” the company said on the Grim Dawn website. “It means that Crate will be able to continue interacting openly with the community and freely sharing information. Post-release we will be able to decide when to work on updates for the community and what to include in them. Most importantly, you will be giving us control over the future of our creation; allowing Crate to produce expansions and sequels without having to pitch each new project to an IP-holder that could potentially decide to discontinue the Grim Dawn franchise.”
Given the way Titan Quest worked out, it’s not too surprising that Crate is a bit gun-shy about handing over control of its new IP to a separate publisher. On the other hand, asking gamers to assume a similar risk is a bit of a dicey proposition too. Three levels of preorders are available, ranging from $20 to $50, but is it realistic to expect the community to respond to pleas for support when not even a single screenshot is currently available?