The Resurgence of Role-Playing Games on Kickstarter

aNewDomain.net—If you enjoyed early computer role-playing games (RPGs) like Planescape: Torment, Wasteland, and Fallout you’re in luck. An upcoming crop of RPGs created by many of the same people who worked on these RPG classics is on its way to retail shelves. Unlike the old RPGs, these upcoming games use isometric graphics and lack voice-overs or cut scenes, and do not require the massive budget of AAA RPGs. They may lack some of that polish, but they promise to offer deep text-dialogues and rich stories that immerse players into compelling narratives without the development headaches.

Role Playing Games

Kickstarter has been essential in funding these types of games which gives studios creative control, letting them bypass the necessity of appealing to a publisher. Another benefit for the studios is the ability to engage fans directly from the very beginning of the project by getting them to input their ideas and even art into the games. Kickstarter has been so successful for inXile Entertainment that it seems to be moving a continually-funded-by-Kickstarter model.

Here are four games that have already been funded:

Wasteland 2, inXile Entertainment

Brian Fargo, formerly of the glory days of Interplay Entertainment, founded InXile Entertainment in 2002 and then quickly released The Bard’s Tale, a game that has recently been ported to Android. InXile remained out of the spotlight until it announced a Kickstarter for a sequel to the critically-acclaimed Wasteland (1988).  Driven by the promise of uniting Fargo with Chris Avellone (Lead Designer of Planescape: Torment) the Kickstarter raised more than $3 million. InXile recently released a gameplay trailer that shows an early build of the game.

Torment: Tides of Numenera, inXile Entertainment

InXile followed its successful Wasteland 2 Kickstarter with a game made in the tradition of Planescape: Torment. Raising over $4.4 million, Torment: Tides of Numenera will also feature the creative input of Chris Avellone and add the writing talent of Patrick Rothfuss (of The Name of the Wind fame). The basic story of Torment is that a great master flees death by inhabiting various bodies and then casting them off. Players control one of these cast-off bodies as they try to understand this world and who they are while having to make hard moral decisions on the journey.

Project Eternity, Obsidian Entertainment

Obsidian Entertainment is another publisher that can claim the heritage of RPG classics like Fallout 1 and 2, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. With the promise of Chris Avellone being highly involved as both a writer and director, this project raised over $4 million on Kickstarter. The world of Project Eternity is filled with elves, humans, dwarves, and other fantasy creatures who live and die in a cycle of reincarnation. Gamers play as any of the 11 classes and can control a party up to six characters as they explore.

Shroud of the Avatar, Portalarium

Lord British (Richard Garriott) the creator of the Ultima series was the driving force behind The Shroud of the Avatar project that raised over $2 million. Garriott promises a game with rich storylines where player choices have strong consequences. In addition, the world will be fully interactive so that players can use and touch almost any germane object in the game. This game will also feature an interesting new slant on multiplayer gaming where different modes allow players to join friends in the game or play with other characters who match their own in certain ways. The goal is to move away from the MMO model of playing with strangers to trying to create smaller communities that play together.

Image credits:

Featured Image: thanks to Zanatox http://www.flickr.com/photos/katora/5265519210/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Story Image: thanks to Hatchibombotar http://www.flickr.com/photos/hatchibombotar/3894976475/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Based in Los Angeles, Seth Heringer is senior editor at aNew Domain.net and co-host of the Attack of the Androids podcast. Seth also is a PhD candidate in the humanities who, when not working on finishing his dissertation, loves to partake of all things tech. Email Seth at [email protected]

Seth Heringer
Based in Los Angeles, Seth Heringer is senior editor at aNew Domain.net and co-host of the Attack of the Androids podcast. Seth also is a doctoral candidate in the humanities who, when not working on finishing his dissertation, loves to partake of all things tech. Email Seth at [email protected]
Seth Heringer
Seth Heringer
Tags: Tech Culture