Spider-Man 2 Developer Launches $1 Kickstarter Project

Spider-Man 2 Developer Launches $1 Kickstarter Project


The designer of the Spider-Man 2 movie game says he doesn't need your money for his Energy Hook indie project - but he needs your money.

You may recall that Zero Punctuation ringmaster Yahtzee Croshaw was actually pretty enthusiastic about the web-swinging element in the old Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in - possibly because Jamie Fristrom, the designer and technical director on the game, makes a point of bringing it up (complete with link) in the second paragraph of the Kickstarter for his new project, Energy Hook. It's relevant because Energy Hook is basically an expansion of that mechanic, "a swinging game where style is just as important as speed, where mixing up wall-runs and loops and big air with your swings is more important than just getting from point A to point B."

It looks like it could be pretty groovy, but what's particularly interesting about the Kickstarter is the Kickstarter itself. It started yesterday and was funded almost immediately because Fristrom set the goal at $1 - that's right, one dollar. He explained that he's going to finish the game regardless of the funding he gets, but he's been "bleeding money" since he went indie and, with a family to support, can no longer justify blowing his savings on it without some idea as to the level of demand for the game and therefore how much he can reasonably sink into it.

"So it's up to you: whether I'm going to spend just a few months tying a bow on this and shipping it, or, in my dream world, spend many months, bring more people onto the team, and do something super-extra-awesome," he wrote. "In a way, this is what a lot of indie games, like Overgrowth, Prison Architect, and Desktop Dungeons, do to fund development-through preorder campaigns-but I'm using Kickstarter to concentrate it into one month so I can get a good idea, right off the bat, what budget I have for this project."

The Kickstarter does have a number of stretch goals, starting at $10,000 and going all the way up to $130,000, and seems to be doing reasonably well, raising more than $8000 in its first day. But does this creative approach to crowdfunding violate the "spirit" of Kickstarter? Perhaps, and Develop actually contacted Kickstarter to see if it possibly violates the letter of the law as well, but if so, it's hardly the first; Penny Arcade launched a Kickstarter earlier this month to fund its podcast with a goal of $10, which also led to some raised eyebrows and questions asked. But that doesn't seem to bother supporters: that Kickstarter has raised more than $67,000 in just two days.

As for Energy Hook itself, it's certainly an interesting idea and if the web-swinging mechanic can be sufficiently expanded while staying focused on what makes it cool, it might be a lot of fun. No release target has been set since the Kickstarter will determine how much more development time will be put into it, but something along the lines of "next year" is probably reasonable.

Source: Kickstarter

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This is probably the best use of Kickstarter. Basicly the demand sets how ambitious the game is.

The guys is webslinging around a city that's partially submerged in water...

I actually had a dream like that once.

Creepy...

Even looking at that video makes me nostalgic. Going back to webs attaching to air was such a backwards step for spiderman

Looks interesting, il consider buying it when it comes out.

Kickstarter games need folk to purchase after its released sometimes too!

Spider man, rocketpacks and the catastrophic effects of global warming.
What's not to like?

While I like the idea of a Kickstarter with no reserve goal, that's just kinda designed to be exploited isn't it? I mean what happens if the goal is $10 for a project that should get close to $100,000 to really work, but they only get $1000. The project DID meet the goal in theory, so they don't really have to give the money back, right? The point of the goal is to say 'we need this much for the project to be feasible at all' and go from there. If the goal is silly, shouldn't we be calling them out for that?

I mean with the PA Podcast, it was done in sort of a parody fashion, and they're mainstream enough that it'd be marketing suicide for them to just take people's money and do nothing. Jamie Fristrom is one guy that made one good game mechanic, and now he's throwing out the idea of making another game revolved completely around it with no set goal at all. What do you really know about the guy, how trustworthy he is? Podcasts require a few grand or so for equipment and time to run for maybe six months, but making a game worth half a shit would require a few HUNDRED grand.

It's why while I like the concept of Ghost of a Tale, I wonder what the guy's thinking. Only asking for 45k Euros to make a game that looks as good as the videos claim is ludicrous at best, unless it's merely to prove there's interest to someone who will to loan him the rest for the venture. Seriously, making promises with that little cashflow is rather disingenuous.

Quiotu:
While I like the idea of a Kickstarter with no reserve goal, that's just kinda designed to be exploited isn't it? I mean what happens if the goal is $10 for a project that should get close to $100,000 to really work, but they only get $1000. The project DID meet the goal in theory, so they don't really have to give the money back, right? The point of the goal is to say 'we need this much for the project to be feasible at all' and go from there. If the goal is silly, shouldn't we be calling them out for that?

I mean with the PA Podcast, it was done in sort of a parody fashion, and they're mainstream enough that it'd be marketing suicide for them to just take people's money and do nothing. Jamie Fristrom is one guy that made one good game mechanic, and now he's throwing out the idea of making another game revolved completely around it with no set goal at all. What do you really know about the guy, how trustworthy he is? Podcasts require a few grand or so for equipment and time to run for maybe six months, but making a game worth half a shit would require a few HUNDRED grand.

It's why while I like the concept of Ghost of a Tale, I wonder what the guy's thinking. Only asking for 45k Euros to make a game that looks as good as the videos claim is ludicrous at best, unless it's merely to prove there's interest to someone who will to loan him the rest for the venture. Seriously, making promises with that little cashflow is rather disingenuous.

He's already done a large part of the work on the game, and has enough personally money that he could do it for a couple more months to finish it up. That's why he can use a $1 stretch goal. From the kickstarter it sounds like he's already or almost completed five of the levels, so you can assume that the video in the footage is the actual game.

It looks really fun, and I totally dig the art style. He also makes a good point about how spider-man games devolved from spider-man 2 I was always baffled why they never tried to recapture that gameplay again. I'll pick this game up when it comes out.

synobal:
It looks really fun, and I totally dig the art style. He also makes a good point about how spider-man games devolved from spider-man 2 I was always baffled why they never tried to recapture that gameplay again. I'll pick this game up when it comes out.

I find the web-swing mechanic from Ultimate Spider-man way better than that from Spider-man 2

Quiotu:
I mean what happens if the goal is $10 for a project that should get close to $100,000 to really work, but they only get $1000. The project DID meet the goal in theory, so they don't really have to give the money back, right?

But they don't have to give the money back either way. There's nothing in Kickstarter's terms that provide recourse for backers who get screwed out of their money; you can pursue independent legal action against the project creator but as far as Kickstarter itself goes, you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Andy Chalk:
The designer of the Spider-Man 2 movie game says he doesn't need your money for his Energy Hook indie project - but he needs your money.

More like "He doesn't need your money, but it would be awfully nice to have."

Is anyone else getting sick of Kickstarter or is it just me?

Andy Chalk:

Quiotu:
I mean what happens if the goal is $10 for a project that should get close to $100,000 to really work, but they only get $1000. The project DID meet the goal in theory, so they don't really have to give the money back, right?

But they don't have to give the money back either way. There's nothing in Kickstarter's terms that provide recourse for backers who get screwed out of their money; you can pursue independent legal action against the project creator but as far as Kickstarter itself goes, you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Wait, wait... I'm confused here. I thought the point of the goal in Kickstarter was that the money wouldn't be taken from you unless they reached the goal. Kickstarter, unlike IndieGoGo, waits until the end of the stretch period before taking your money, and it doesn't take it if the project's initial goal isn't reached.

Has this been changed, or am I just remembering this wrong? Because that makes the initial goal kind of important, if still true.

Andy Chalk:

Quiotu:
I mean what happens if the goal is $10 for a project that should get close to $100,000 to really work, but they only get $1000. The project DID meet the goal in theory, so they don't really have to give the money back, right?

But they don't have to give the money back either way. There's nothing in Kickstarter's terms that provide recourse for backers who get screwed out of their money; you can pursue independent legal action against the project creator but as far as Kickstarter itself goes, you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Well, they *have to* pay it back, this is in the Terms of Use.

Obviously, they *can't*, because they just spent it, but that's beyond the Terms of Use, you would need legal action for that either way.

On the other hand, at least legal action can involve forcing the contract-breaching party to declare bankrupcy, that could liquidate all his personal property. For example if this guy realizes that he ran out of money mid-development, he would be better off selling his car to finish it, than wait for the court to take away his home and his life savings to compensate all of his contractors.

There is already legal precedent to that, though at that time, the sued KS project creator's pockets were empty (and in fact he was already heavily in dept to others as well), but I guess that threat also adds plenty of incentive to more etablished people with a stable financial life, to respect KS projects as contracts.

Andy Chalk:

But they don't have to give the money back either way. There's nothing in Kickstarter's terms that provide recourse for backers who get screwed out of their money; you can pursue independent legal action against the project creator but as far as Kickstarter itself goes, you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Which opens the door to fraud. Although there were only two real fraudulent cases up to date, the system has its backdoors crying for being exploited. This is one of them, collecting KS money and later canning the project after paying high wages to yourself and your "team" (friends & relatives) is another one. Not talking about starting crowdfunding campaigns on 4-5 different platforms...

cidbahamut:
Is anyone else getting sick of Kickstarter or is it just me?

It's not just you but you are probably in the minority.

Kickstarter has already became a major element of the indie scene, and it's on it's way to become a main element of the overall industry.

As long as I'm not getting bored of new games announced, I see no reason to feel more bored about their existence just because they happen to be tied to that particular website.

Maybe I'm a little tired of all the same comments below every KS-announced game, trying to figure out what "Kickstarter's original purpose" might have been, and whether this particular offering betrays it, instead of looking at the actual game itself. But I bet in a few years, we will get so used to it that it will be entirely natural that even if a third of all news would be Kickstarter-based, we would see them only as a third of all post being new game announcements, and take the whole "Kickstarter" part as just self-evident.

Entitled:
Well, they *have to* pay it back, this is in the Terms of Use.

Right, but the point is that there's no mechanism to enforce that rule. You give me money to support my game idea, I spend it all in a good-faith effort to complete the game (hookers and blow) and then I say, well, money's all gone... sorry. You can send me angry emails, you can hire a lawyer, you can come over to my house and break my kneecaps, but you can't go back to Kickstarter and demand a refund because I scammed you.

Andy Chalk:

Entitled:
Well, they *have to* pay it back, this is in the Terms of Use.

Right, but the point is that there's no mechanism to enforce that rule. You give me money to support my game idea, I spend it all in a good-faith effort to complete the game (hookers and blow) and then I say, well, money's all gone... sorry. You can send me angry emails, you can hire a lawyer, you can come over to my house and break my kneecaps, but you can't go back to Kickstarter and demand a refund because I scammed you.

Exactely. And if the counterpart is a Limited (which isnīt that hard to be founded nowadays) there is no personal risk involved even IF you sue them and IF you prove they screwed up and IF you win at court. The limited simply stops to exist, noone will repay you, or even your lawyer costs.
Your only chance would be that you prove it was a scam from the beginning, and thatīs almost impossible.

Andy Chalk:

Right, but the point is that there's no mechanism to enforce that rule. You give me money to support my game idea, I spend it all in a good-faith effort to complete the game (hookers and blow) and then I say, well, money's all gone... sorry. You can send me angry emails, you can hire a lawyer, you can come over to my house and break my kneecaps, but you can't go back to Kickstarter and demand a refund because I scammed you.

What I'm saying is that there is no point in blaming Kickstarter's ToS for that, because obviously, they don't have the legal authority to liquidate a project creator's property on their own.

Quiotu asked whether they have to give back the money if they can't make a game, and the answer is, yes, they *have to*, just like with any other transaction.

If you order a pizza, you pay for the delivery, and only later you notice that the pizza box was filled with sand, because actually the pizzeria you ordered from was a scam, there is no "mechanism" that gives your money back easily.

Kickstarters are not *less protected* by law than any other transaction. Normally, the reason why you don't have to worry about scams in your daily life, is not because there are legal mechanisms that instantly give your money back, but because you are only buying from respectable established corporations that couldn't afford to try a scam.

And for Kickstarter, likewise the solution is to pay creators that are likely to be trustworthy. (or to bother with a few lawsuits, until future scammers are too scared to use the system).

CZ_Rage:

Exactely. And if the counterpart is a Limited (which isnīt that hard to be founded nowadays) there is no personal risk involved even IF you sue them and IF you prove they screwed up and IF you win at court. The limited simply stops to exist, noone will repay you, or even your lawyer costs.
Your only chance would be that you prove it was a scam from the beginning, and thatīs almost impossible.

Almost all scammers believe that, that's why there is a law against this.

lifting the corporate veil is a legal action that a court can use to look beyond the legal fiction of a corporation, and recognize that it is practically an alter ego for it's (main) shareholder, whenever certain common sense conditions are met (Siphoning of corporate funds for personal use, Non-functioning corporate officers, etc).

Entitled:

Almost all scammers believe that, that's why there is a law against this.

I guess you misunderstood what I wanted to say:

1. If the guys were only stupid or lacked the experience or wharever non-scamming reason prevented them from finishing the project, you have no legal hammer to come down on them if they are a Limited.

2. If they are scammers, and this can be proven, the law will come down on them - but itīs doubtful that you will be fully compensated as victim.

Better now?

CZ_Rage:

I guess you misunderstood what I wanted to say:

1. If the guys were only stupid or lacked the experience or wharever non-scamming reason prevented them from finishing the project, you have no legal hammer to come down on them if they are a Limited.

2. If they are scammers, and this can be proven, the law will come down on them - but itīs doubtful that you will be fully compensated as victim.

Better now?

Oh, sorry, I used "scam" in a more general sense, as "they are intentionally asking for less money than they could make a game with away with", not as in "they never planned to make a game to begin with".

What I said still applies to the former, not just to proper scammers. If you created a Limited solely as a personal shield, likely there are enough loopholes that it can be broken down.

On #2, I agree that actually getting compensated is unlikely, (especially if they had bigger creditors, like banks or investors, who would get first dibs on their property even after a successful lawsuit.)

Though we are talking about a few dollars per person here anyways, so the important thing is not that everyone gets their money back, but that failure gets punished and needless risk-taking get discouraged.

JohnHayne:

synobal:
It looks really fun, and I totally dig the art style. He also makes a good point about how spider-man games devolved from spider-man 2 I was always baffled why they never tried to recapture that gameplay again. I'll pick this game up when it comes out.

I find the web-swing mechanic from Ultimate Spider-man way better than that from Spider-man 2

It controlled better, but they removed the acrobatic aspect of it.

I always had more fun just playing as Venom after the story, anyway.

OT: I'm intrigued. Maybe a dystopian conspiracy story to string it together for context? A minimal focus on combat (or hell, none at all) would be nice, too. Variety is the spice of life, I'm excited to see what comes out of this.

@Entitled:

100% agreed now. Sorry if I write sometimes things that are hard to understand, Iīm half Poland / half Czech native and not used to English at all...

If this doesn't hit the third stretch goal by the time I get home after work so I can put money towards this, I will be disappointed in the gaming community who loved Spider-Man 2

I purchased the Spiderman 3 game because I though, "Spiderman 2 rocked so Spiderman 3 will rock." The Spiderman 3 game sucked. The swinging was the best part of 2.

Spiderman 2 still holds a privileged spot on my game shelf. It's my therapy for whenever I have a stressful day.

So 10 dollars for you, Mr. Kickstarter!!!

 

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