Wake up. Check emails. Check Twitter. This is the routine I go through every morning before I put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Today was different, though. Today I wake to find the news that Blitz Games Studios and the Oliver Twins are seeking funding to reboot theSpectrum classic, Dizzy.
My inner five year old nearly burst with excitement. Dizzy was one of the first videogames I played. Before Mario and before Sonic, there was Dizzy the egg.
However, this is the games industry, within minutes my child-like wonder is reduced to nothing more than a feeling of hollow apathy. We could be excited, we could make a million bad egg jokes, but this is journalism, right? Heaven forbid we allow ourselves to enjoy something from our childhood. No. We are journalists and we need to rip everything to pieces in order to provide a 'unbiased' and 'fair' style of reporting. Or at least so we can convince others of our 'unbiased' and 'fair' standing.
Here's an idea, if you want to be seen as 'unbiased' and 'fair', just don't do anything that's 'biased' and 'unfair'. It's not rocket-science.
Despite all of us who are genuinely excited about the launch of a Dizzy Kickstarter, there are developers and journalists alike – who I expect better from – who have decided now is the time to question the merits of Kickstarter and make cheap popshots.
Ben Parfitt of industry punch-bag MCV questions whether Kickstarter was originally designed for these types of games. When talking in relation to Peter Molyneux's latest Kickstarter and Blitz's Dizzy, he says:
“Broken Sword, Shadowrun, Carmageddon – it’s all the same. This isn’t what Kickstarter was designed for, surely?”
Okay, let's look at this from another perspective:
Developer: Hi. I've got this killer idea to reboot Tomb Raider. It's like an origin storyline. Cool idea, no?
Publisher: How many units did Tomb Raider sell and when?
Developer: Errm. Millions. And in the nineties I think. Do you like the idea?
Publisher: I love the idea. You are the personification of brilliance!
Translated, that last line should read:
Publisher: It'll make us rich! SOLD! Ching, ching, ching!
If there's mass amounts of money to be made, a publisher will back it. What happens though, if the game isn't going to make millions upon millions? What if the game is more of a fan-service; giving people who want the game a new iteration? Let's see shall we:
Developer: Hi. I'd like to reboot Dizzy or Carmagedd-
Publisher: Sorry. I'm not here to take your call at the moment. If you'd like to leave a message. I'll ignore it.
Dizzy, Shadowrun, Carmageddon, Broken Sword – these are arguably great titles but would a publisher believe that games from the eighties and nineties can fetch the same amount as the Halos or Call of Dutys? Or are these games too niche to be sold to the masses? If we accept that they are in fact niche, then it's understandable that the developers would rather take to Kickstarter and see if people actually want it enough to back it, than go through hundreds of publishers who won't get what they're trying to achieve.
But people like Peter Molyneux and 22 Cans don't need Kickstarter, do they?
Molyneux is shackled by the oppressive Microsoft or Molyneux is evil for NOT having a publisher. Which one is it? Damned if he's with a publisher and damned if he's not. Look, in this instance he's either evil or he's not. The Internet slated him for being with Microsoft, then he leaves and to avoid seeking a publisher for funding, he turns to Kickstarter to get the money the publisher would normally provide.
I'm all for bashing Molyneux when he deserves it. But is this really the right time? Sure, “Fable II's co-op is great!” I called him a liar while everyone else praised his innovation. “We did a lot of things wrong in the first Fable,” I was there saying when Fable III launches, he'll say that about Fable II. Low and behold, he did exactly that. I'll call him out on his practices when they need to be, but since when is an indie studio turning to Kickstarter something to be considered as wrong and not “what Kickstarter was designed for?”
Isn't this exactly what Kickstarter was designed for? An indie studio seeing if people want their idea before it's made?
Here's the catch: If you don't like a Kickstarter, don't give them your money. Better yet, don't report about how much you don't like their Kickstarter. But what will journalists write about, what will the poor developers do with their time if they're not making snarky comments on Twitter or Facebook? Oh I don't know, maybe, just maybe, they could do some journalism about videogames or perhaps, and this is a little out-there, the developers could do some developing.
Name: Wesley Copeland
Born in Cyrodiil but raised in Ferelden, more commonly know as England. Wesley Copeland is a passionate writer with more opinions than an ostrich