The creator of the award-winning indie game Monaco says Kickstarter stretch goals hand too much creative control to the crowd.
“Stretch goals,” for those unfamiliar with the term, are a rather simple Kickstarter phenomenon in which a project creator promises to add more stuff if you give him more money. With Project Eternity, for instance, Obsidian added new factions, races, translations into non-English languages and other features as the funding kept piling higher. It’s a very common way for Kickstarter creators to encourage funding for their projects, but Monaco designer Andy Schatz takes a different and somewhat dimmer view of the practice than most.
“I have a little bit of an unpopular opinion of Kickstarter,” he told the Penny Arcade Report. “I really like the idea of free money, but I’m of the opinion that designing a game around a variable budget is a terrible way to design a game. To be frank, I think that stretch goals are total bullshit.”
“When you’re designing a game, the way I think you should do it… you figure out what the game is, you figure out what the game needs, and you should make that,” he explained. “If you are adding in some optional thing to incentivize people to give you money… there’s a difference between allowing your fans to have an extreme amount of input on the game, which I do, the beta testers have an incredible influence on the game, but letting them design the game in the sense of, ‘If the budget is this, then I’ll do this, and if the budget is that, then I’ll do that,’ that to me sounds like the perfect way to make a game that’s insufficiently complete or bloated.”
Monaco, which is still in development, won two prizes at the 2010 Independent Games Festival including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Schatz was fortunate enough to not need Kickstarter to pay for its development; it was given a $100,000 budget by the Indie Fund, which has previously funded games including Dear Esther, Q.U.B.E. and Antichamber. Unlike money raised through Kickstarter and other crowdfunding efforts, the Indie Fund is an advance on sales of the game and also claims a portion of the profits.
Schatz acknowledged that his position is “idealistic” and said that he might actually try a Kickstarter himself one day, but for now he remains skeptical. “I don’t like what it does to design,” he added.
Source: Penny Arcade Report