You might have heard of Tim Shafer's Kickstarter project setting the Internet ablaze. Asking for $400.000 in funding from fans for a new, old-school adventure game he reached that in eight hours... and breached a million within twentyfour hours. And now, after a month (the project closes tonight) he has over $3million in funds to develop his old-school adventure game.
This is great; I'd really like to see a new, old-school adventure game (in the style of Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island and Grim Fandango) from Tim Shafer and Double Fine.
But the really great thing about this is how it opened up doors for other developers. Particularly developers who fall a bit in the middle ground between Indy and AAA and who are much beloved for games that don't get made anymore as they're considered too niche by big publishers.
Brian Fargo, from inXile Entertainment (and original founder of Interplay Productions) is one such developer. And he really, really wants to make Wasteland 2, an old-school, top-down, party-based RPG.
So he started his own Kickstarter drive.
The original Wasteland is considered the grand-daddy of the Fallout series. In fact, when they wanted to make Wasteland 2 they didn't have the license... so they made Fallout instead. So you get similar themes, but keeping the old-school approach (unlike what Fallout 3 did).
As for Kickstarter, in case you're not aware, that's basically a way for people to pre-order a game before it's even being made. Generally speaking at the lowest tier of backing you get the full game. And at higher tiers you get increasingly more stuff (they way I like to look at it is basically a build your own collector's edition). At the insanely high tiers you even get things like dinner with the developers and that kind of stuff. And if they don't meet their goal before the end date then it won't cost you anything.
Of course there is risk with it. There's no guarantee that they'll actually finish the project, or that it will be any good. But personally I think that it's worth the relatively small risk of some lost money on my part for a chance to help make the kinds of games that I would like to see (being, in this case, an old-school roleplaying game). And it's a way to stick your middle finger up at the big publishers and let them know that they're wrong about what types of games people would buy. If you ever complained about them only making first-person shooters then this is a chance to show them that there's a whole segment of gamers not being served right now.
In short, I'm really hoping that this project will succeed. I think that this one is more important than the Double Fine one because that one had everyone jumping on a bandwagon in excitement (and yes, I backed that one too). But this one, while undoubtedly not going to be quite as successful (Brian lacks the same charismatic appeal as Tim has), has a chance to prove whether this is a viable way for developers to make the kind of games that currently aren't really being serve anymore.
So if you're interested, or even just intrigued, you might want to consider backing the project as well. You only pay the money you promise if they actually reach their goal, so you know that you'll only pay if they'll actually will develop this game. And with that there's a good chance of getting a fun, old-school RPG at the end.
Again, the project page: Wasteland 2 Kickstarter
(Do note that for everything that includes physical products they're asking an additional $15 on top of the tier for shipping cost).