Love it or hate it, there is no denying the influence of Kickstarter. Or the fact that it has single handedly funded some titles which would never have seen the light of day via normal publishing methods. I’ve personally bet on five of these, all of them old school RPGs. So it’s no surprise that when the Jagged Alliance Flashback kickstarter was announced, I was all over it. What is surprising is the lukewarm response it got compared to the others I have tracked. Although worrying, it is also somewhat understandable. For one thing, not many people have heard of developers Full Control. To be honest, before the Kickstarter rolled out, neither had I. For another, their track record lacks the AAA commercial success that older developers like InXile and Obsidian can boast of. Even more telling is the fact that most of their success is within the mobile gaming space. But their biggest failing (imho) was the lack of any gameplay videos in the Kickstarter campaign itself. Compared to other successful campaigns in the crowdsourcing space, Full Control’s attempt to woo investors has been, well, underwhelming.
You should still back this thing. Here’s why:
- Small indie studios like these are precisely the ones that need the most support. Full Control is a small team. In other words, there is a reason why the campaign lacks the bells and whistles traditionally seen with bigger developers. There is only so much a small team can do. (Their goal of $350,000 will be just enough to hire a staff of 7-8 people).
- They specialize in turn based games. From a commercial stand point, turn based strategy is seldom a big money maker. Civilization and X-Com are exceptions to the rule. Developers that choose to focus on the genre do it because they love their work. And though not the only thing needed for success, one cannot understate the importance of passion in resurrecting an old franchise. That being said, team members have worked on some amazing titles, so it’s not like backing a team with no experience in the industry.
- Full Control is currently working on “Spacehulk” a game set in the Warhammer 40K universe. Games workshop is not in the habit of handing out its license willy nilly so this says something. Moreover, their GDC demo of the game looks pretty good.
- They really get Jagged Alliance. This is important. If you have been reading this blog for any appreciable amount of time, you already know I am an unabashed fanboy when it comes to the franchise. There really hasn’t been anything quite like it. X-Com comes close, but even that lacks the personality of the Jagged Alliance crew. How many games have allowed you to create your own Dirty Dozen, quirks and all? Zero. Thats how many.
- This is the best hope we have for ever seeing another Jagged Alliance title (I’m going to pretend Jagged Alliance: Back in action never happened). Seriously, no big-time developer is going to touch this. The same way they wouldn’t go anywhere near Wasteland 2 or Torment: Tides of Numenera. That’s a good thing by the way. Creative independence is absolutely vital to create a game like this. Even the new X-Com, which was a fun experience, lost a lot of its soul in an effort to make it “mainstream”. It would be a tragedy if this were to happen to the JA universe.
- They understand the importance of modding and the community it fosters. Hard core fans do not need to be told about the 1.13 mod for JA2. It is the one thing that has kept JA2 on my hard drives across six systems and twelve years. Full Control has already established a modding advisory and co-design team. When was the last time you heard of a community driven mod team being in place before the game had even begun production? Exactly.
- Jagged Alliance is gun porn. Yes gun porn. You could literally spend hours just tweaking your load out before a mission. And you’d enjoy it. Its like XCom minus the aliens but with your very own A Team. Nuff said.
There’s just over a day left for the conclusion of Full Control’s campaign. Jagged Alliance: Flashback needs your help.
Lets make this happen.
UPDATE: If you are still on the fence about this, consider the recent developments that have occurred over the last few hours:
Chris Camfield, who was the lead designer on the unreleased Jagged Alliance 3 from Sir-Tech (the developer of the original series) has joined the team as an advisor.
Ian Currie, the mastermind behind the franchise itself, has also backed the project. In other words, WTF are you waiting for? Whip out them credit cards and pledge NOW!