Going Back on Things Said

Battle Chasers
Image courtesy of Airship Syndicate.

Learning lessons along the way.

Justin Knight

By Justin Knight @OptimusJut

Along time ago I was writing for a lower quality website and my first-ever article was about being weary of backing anything on Kickstarter. I myself had never backed anything on the website at that point as I simply didn't trust it, and that was the stance I continued to take long after that piece was published. The worst part for me was when I looked back on that piece before writing this blog entry was that I had used Broken Age as a good example. Oh man was I a dumb ass. In my inexperience, I had not researched it that well and was not aware of the main reasons for the game turning out the way it did. It's a game that got much more funding than it needed, but was still split into two parts and the second coming out over a year later. The project was a lesson in how not to do things and I am so glad I never put money down on it.

Another project I am glad I avoided was of course, Mighty Number 9, and these days I am still thankful for that, the disgusting behaviour of its now former Community Manager, Dina Abou Karam, the delays in launch date, the problems with the Beta and the change in its art style has left many of its backers with a nasty taste in their mouths, some were even able to get their money back by disputing the payment if they had paid using their credit cards. I watched some gameplay footage that had been uploaded to YouTube and after watching it as open minded as I could be, the game looked average at best. I could only wonder how backers of this felt.

After maintaining my distance from Kickstarter for so long I realized something I had seen on there that caught my interest and I broke my own rule and backed it. It was a micro board game called Lord of the Dead and its design and story not only appealed to me, but it was a cheap one to back and I was guaranteed a copy of the game if I did so. That one was successful and I have since backed two other Kickstarters that the same guy has done, both for board games of similar design. Then, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night came along and whilst I loved the sound of it, I was cautious. Should I have chosen to back it, it would be the first video game I would throw money down on and I didn't know if I wanted to take the risk. In the end I did, and it was a success, achieving all stretch goals as well, and it seems to be headed in the right direction, so I have no regrets about it at this point. However, I backed another game recently called Battle Chasers, it was based on a comic series of the same name by Joe Madureira and was a creator owned series. I had played Darksiders -- made by Vigil Games -- which Madureira had been involved in and I really liked it, but Darksiders 2 was quite dull. So I had that in mind when I chose to back the title, thinking that my worries would amount to nothing here. Then, I remembered the comic's history and I started to think maybe I had made a bad choice here.

For those who do not know, creator-owned series' were quite the thing back when Image comics first got going. Such titles as Spawn, Savage Dragon, WildC.A.T.S, Cyberforce, Shadowhawk and Youngblood were all owned by their creators who wrote and illustrated each issue. The problem with these comics was that a lot of them had trouble keeping to schedule and they would ship months late. Erik Larsen was the only one who managed to get his comic, Savage Dragon, out on time and it drew a lot of criticism from fans as it went on. Battle Chasers was one of the worse examples that I can think of, as there was usually five or six months between each issue; sixteen months between issues six and seven. Altogether there were nine issues released in four years, and as you would expect, Madureira took a lot of crap for it, and quite rightly so. The worse part of that series was that issue 10 was never released and left the series finishing on a cliff hanger,. One of my friends who had been collecting the series had gone nuts about it and I don't blame him, which made me think back then that if you can't be bothered to put the effort into something like writing and illustrating your own series, why do it?

So why did I back this Kickstarter? Why have I not withdrawn my money and left it to its own devices? Part of me wants to see if they finish this story or just do a new one altogether as a service to fans of the comic. Part of me wants to see if they can get it out on time, and another part of me just wanted to help make it happen. At the time of writing this the project had met its funding goal with over 20 days left on the clock and achieved six of its nine stretch goals, so it is certainly going to happen, but the doubt is still there as the memories of the eventual fate of the comic series remain. What Madureira and his team will need to remember when they get going on this is that they have taken money directly from their fans and as people like Tim Schafer, Peter Molyneux and even Keiji Inafune will remember, when the fans get angry they will soon know about it. Plus I will certainly look forward to see how some of the critics out there react to the character "Red Monika" when they see her if they stick to her original design. That will be funny indeed.

Still it could have been worse for me. I could have been a backer for Feminist Frequency's Kickstarter. Dear god, look how that turned out.

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