Shadowrun Director On Kickstarter
Jordan Wiseman, fearless leader of Harebrained Studios, has opened up about crowdfunding and several other topics in an interview with gamesindustry.biz. In his analysis of Kickstarter, Wiseman notes that the backers "tend to be a older audience, ones you can afford to take a little risk, and who have an emotional attachment. I think the majority of games that have been funded there to large numbers are people or properties that have an emotional tie to the audience in some way" - which makes sense considering how few teenagers have money to throw around online (at least the ones I know don’t) and the kind of titles that have been funded to insane levels (Double Fine’s Adventure Game, Wasteland 2, Project Eternity, FTL, etc) are the kind of things that tug at nostalgia’s heartstrings.
Apparently the scariest thing for Wiseman, and the rest of Harebrained Studios, is the fact that they’re now dealing directly with customers (and some 36,000+ of them), rather than just a couple of board members willing to publish the game. There are issues with both systems, as part of what Wiseman calls the "double edged sword of democratization" he goes into great depth about it. One thing that kickstarting a game does is put consumer demands in sharp focus with Wiseman saying that "Shadowrun is something they passionately care about, and they are risking their money a year or more ahead of time with you to make the game they hope you're going to make. We have 37,000 people who likely have different expectations, and I think the only thing we can say universally is they have very high expectations." Those backers have been supportive so far, but it’s easy to see how ugly it could get if design changes go against consumer expectation.