Wizardry and Anachronox Vets Jump the Kickstarter Train

Wizardry and Anachronox Vets Jump the Kickstarter Train

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Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall want to make an Old School RPG.

Tom Hall is a well-known industry veteran who's been around since the glory days of Apogee, co-founded id Software and Ion Storm and has his name in the credits of games including Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Anachronox. Brenda Brathwaite has been in the game even longer, getting her start all the way back in 1981 with Sirtech's Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, a franchise she stuck with for 20 years, and also serving as a tester and writer on the Jagged Alliance series.

The two of them have been working together for awhile now at Loot Drop, a company Brathwaite founded with her husband (some dude named John Romero, apparently he's done a little work in the industry too), but Loot Drop has thus far focused primarily on mobile and social games and Hall and Brathwaite apparently wanted to indulge themselves in some old-school game development. So they did what everyone is doing these days: they went to Kickstarter.

Old School RPG (which I would assume is a working title) promises all the usual staples of the genre, including a party of four characters, each of whom will possess various strengths and skills that will improve as the game progresses, a "richly detailed" world packed with "castles, caverns and dungeons" which will in turn be packed with treasure and monsters, turn-based combat and hundreds of quests that will lead to one of multiple endings.

The funding goal is $1 million but in an unusual twist, if the pledged amount breaks $1.9 million, they will make two separate games, one designed by Brathwaite and the other designed by Hall. But they'll still be connected, as the ending of each game will provide a new and unique stepping-off point for the other as well as advantages to the player's party that cannot be gained any other way. Other stretch goals have also been established, including an extra NPC race, "Super Hardcore Old-School Mode," Linux support and more.

The Old School RPG Kickstarter runs until November 4 and with more than $100,000 pledged on the first day, it's already well on its way to reaching its goal. But do we need another old-school RPG on Kickstarter? I've already thrown a lot of money at earlier projects and I'm not sure I can swallow another one, and even if I could I'm starting to wonder if perhaps the long-predicted Kickstarter fatigue is finally kicking in. Then again, Hall and Brathwaite do make an appealing team. I think I'll file this one under "definitely maybe."

Source: Kickstarter

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I remember when Kickstarter used to be a Wagon with only a few developers riding along. Now it's become a train. :l Anyone else getting tired of all these new kickstarter projects?

OT: Seeing as Hall seems to have been more involved in FPS style games rather than RPGs, I'm interested in how the Project would turn out if it gets funded. Of course, not interested enough to throw money at it.

I would enjoy another wizardry style game. I used to own Wizardry VII: crusaders of the dark savant and I thought it was pretty fun actually with a good overall "feel" to it (a mostly medieval rpg having modern scifi elements and decent puzzles and character involvement. It also featured multiple endings which is good for repkay).

fun. i just ordered Wizardry for the PS2 like 2 days ago :)

Nile McMorrow:
I remember when Kickstarter used to be a Wagon with only a few developers riding along. Now it's become a train. :l Anyone else getting tired of all these new kickstarter projects?

no.

i think demand led development is a far, far better idea the supply led development where certain people choose what games they make and then slag us off when we don't want or like them.

i think kickstarter is huge not because i have some kind of fanboy thing for the site but because from an economics pov this a very cool thing: this is demand led economics and offers the possibly of giving the consumers exactly what they want.

not what a marketing department tells the producers the people want and then tells people they want but what they actually want.

i could type pages of stuff i'd love to see up on Kickstarter if i thought about it long enough including non-cutting edge games that could be developed cheaply but imo would still sell well enough to turn a health profit in return for the developers works (maybe an open ended expansion for Sid Meier Pirates for a start)

and i wish there was some kind of associated suggestion site where people could vote on others suggestions and the top ranked suggestions were brought to the attention of the relevant developers thereby drawing devs attention to the potential demand in the market for sequels/expansions/HD remakes or whatever related to games they made that the people would love to see.

an effective suggestion/kickstarter/digital distribution set up (maybe multiple ones) could basically see me abandon the big monolithic "this is what we're making from now on. you buy it." corporate publishers and believe me i want to do that and just buy and play games i want to play rather than what's in their highly limited and restricted pipe more than almost anything else in relation to gaming.

(oh and want Dungeon Keeper 3. i'd give up a limb for DK3...well maybe not a big limb...maybe a toe...but still.)

Eh, I'm waiting to see how some of these other projects pan-out.

Funding is great and all, but thus far most of these projects have been 'all talk, no product'.

:/

Come meet the Old school, same as the new school.

Mm. I like Tom Hall; he's always seemed like one of the more creative people to come out of id, without so much of the ego that haunted Romero or the technology fetishism that seems to limit some of Carmack's thinking. But there are a lot of projects out there right now that seem to be trying to prey on our alleged nostalgia for old-school RPGs. I think I'd rather see someone try something new with storytelling or character, even if it was done on the sub-million-dollar level, rather than another attempt to rehash Wizardry or Bard's Tale. Characters who are little more than small collections of numbers just aren't that interesting to me these days.

ive been waiting years for the old school rpgs to come back so ill chuck in a few bucks. my investment in this genre, to put my money where my mouth is and to say its still viable

Nile McMorrow:
I remember when Kickstarter used to be a Wagon with only a few developers riding along. Now it's become a train. :l Anyone else getting tired of all these new kickstarter projects?

Better question: you think AAA developers are beginning to realize that "cRPGs" still have a market?

I'm on board, provided the project completely changes from a fantasy party-based RPG to a new Commander Keen game.

If there's one thing the rise of kickstarter has taught me, it's that the only thing big developers really want to make are turn-based Tolkien-inspired RPGs or adventure games. Also I was never a big fan of those when they were popular.

I want a sequel for Anachronox :(

But otherwise, sounds really interesting.

Oh hey look, another kickstarter project for an old-school CRPG.

This begs the question: will we reach that awkward era when it's not CoD, but party-based RPGs that are stagnating the industry?

Interesting, I'll keep an eye on it and see if maybe I have a few bucks for it before it ends.

To be honest my concern with the glut of "old school RPGS" is that most of the people doing them seem to be going a lazy road with them, and that kind of irks me. There seems to be relatively few options involved in these games, and while party based the parties seem to be rather small which means your generally looking at parties universally made up of a Warrior, Thief, Priest, and Wizard or some analogy thereof. While functional that's very basic, and the best games of the "classic" period tried to spice it up a bit.

To give an example in the later Wizardry games you had a six man party, and a dozen or more differant kinds of characters and a similar number of races. Overall you needed to fill the basic 4 roles, but with six slots and all of those character types you wound up with a lot of interesting hybrids and specialists, no party could have everything. This lead to a lot of people using differant builds, do you want to run with all hybrid characters? Use one of your slots for an unique varient specialist like a gadgeteer or alchemist?... etc...

By keeping it basic I think a lot of these projects are kind of missing the depth that made a lot of these games popular to begin with.

I've been skipping over a lot of kickstarter RPGs for that reason, basically what I've been hoping someone would develop is a game on the level of Wizardry 8 but with more modern technology behind it.

nikki191:
ive been waiting years for the old school rpgs to come back so ill chuck in a few bucks. my investment in this genre, to put my money where my mouth is and to say its still viable

Normally I'd agree with this sentiment but honestly the indie scene is doing the old-school RPG scene just fine. You have games like Avadon: The Black Fortress and Eschalon: Book I/II, getting made well before the kick starter crazed started, along with free games like Dwarf Fortress. There's also that massive 'Inquisition' game that just got finished, or at least is near finished for an english translation

I'm fully on board with Project Eternity because they're promising to deliver on the peak higher budget classic CRPG, like Balders Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment, etc, but here while I wish them success it sounds like they're just making more of what we already plenty of from indy game development.

Honestly, how many MORE OLD SCHOOL RPGs does the world need?

Can't we a Anachoronox 2 or at least a COMPLEX MODERN RPG?

oh for crying out loud, my wallet cant handle it!

on the more serious note, i think that soon we will reach that point when people will figure out that they already have about 10 games in "pre order" coming out not sooner than over a year and two, and most of kickstarers will fail.

but i am glad to be able to support ideas that would entertain me and are not made by bigger publishers because "there is no market for this kind of thing".

well wonderkids, think again..... thats a lot of money that is flying away from your bank accounts.

ohh, i feel like such a rebel (lol)

How long until Antraxus comes in and complains about modern games and that this new project will ruin the once great series/stamdalone game of Wizardy and Anachronox?

But more OT: I should probably hop onto one of these Kickstarters sometime soon. Some of them seem kinda decent, and we've seen that the games can be really good, just look at FTL.

Good. Very good. I don't think "Kickstarter fatigue" is a cause for concern just yet, if only because it's providing opportunities to create games that would never survive in the traditional market - I just can't see the likes of EA, Activision or Ubisoft publishing Faster Than Light or Beneath A Steel Sky 2.

Of course, the important thing to remember at this point is that it's all theoretical: we'll only be in a position to evaluate the process once the major Kickstarter-funded games come through (ie: the Double Fine Adventure, Project Eternity, The Serpent's Curse, etc.)

poiumty:
Oh hey look, another kickstarter project for an old-school CRPG.

This begs the question: will we reach that awkward era when it's not CoD, but party-based RPGs that are stagnating the industry?

Nope. Genres don't make an industry stagnate. Genres always existed, and they will always exist. Any one basic game system being more popular than others, is not a threat to originality.

When people complain about COD harming originality, they don't have a problem with first person views, or with shooting enemies, but with studies pouring all their money in making either COD, or something that is specifically made as distinguishible from COD as possible. But if Valve would announce Half Life 3, you would not see them complaining about it being yet another FPS that is stagnating the industry.

So far, Wasteland, Shadowrun, Eternity, and this one seem to be set in entirely different narrative genres, and they don't even have the same mechanics, e.g. Eternity is isometric, this is first-person, Shadowrun is turn-based, Eternity is pausable quasi-turn-based, etc.

I'm familiar enough with Tom Hall, and I like a more diverse RPG market, so I've made a basic $20 pledge despite the lack of details to be enthusiastic about.

I hope the game will make it, but honestly I'll be surprised if the Kickstarter reaches the 1.9 million stretch goal.

I'd like to support it, but there are almost zero details about what the game itself is going to be like in the pitch. It's as if they just thought "hey, we should do a Kickstarter!", and 10 minutes later put it up. I'll wait for more information.

Also, personally I'd rather have one big, content-rich RPG than two smaller ones. That seems like a strange stretch goal.

I think they should have waited until the Project Eternity KS was at least a couple weeks past its finish mark before trying to throw in another project. This just smacks of a "me, too" vibe.

It's always nice to have more "old-school" RPG's, but I still don't know anything about the game besides a general pie-in-the-sky idea. Obsidian started their campaign with a world map, basic character details and art for several NPC's already mapped out, along with clear descriptions of what two of the major gameplay locations (and the overarching story) are.

I like the idea for having one game affect content in the other, but that's not really enough to put up a pledge for until I see more information.

Nile McMorrow:
I remember when Kickstarter used to be a Wagon with only a few developers riding along. Now it's become a train. :l Anyone else getting tired of all these new kickstarter projects?

Why? It's not as if you're forced to support every project out there, and the ones I do support, I'm glad they're on there.

OT:

Hall was one of the few people that emerged Ion Storm with his dignity, but he spent the majority of his career as an FPS guy. Anachronox and Deus Ex can be attributed to him, and they had RPG elements, but nothing about them was "old school," there is no reason to expect a quality product from his efforts.

I checked the page in the opening weeks when it was reported on, and there was nothing I found exciting or worthwhile, it just felt like a set of bullet points copy/pasted from "Getting Kickstarter funding for dummies"

 

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