Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter success was the gaming equivalent of what E Online considers to be year’s top ten biggest stories, right up there with the ‘Colorado Shooting’ and ‘Miley Cyrus Twit Pic’ (I wish this were a bad joke but do click on that link and scroll through).
We all know that his game will be excellent and we can’t wait, but in all honesty, Schafer can take that money and run for Mexico, for all we care, because he has already done something that is worth every contributed penny – he has paved the way for some amazing gaming projects that could possibly never see the light of day otherwise (not like it’s certain that they will now…). I put together a list of six that we, at AlienLion, are most excited about, and remember that you can still contribute to these (which usually gets you awesome stuff on the cheap) by finding your way to the official websites for the games.
#6. Shadowrun Returns
Some of the original creators of Shadowrun are developing an old school Shadowrun title that has nothing to do with the Xbox 360 shooter but goes for role playing and story-telling instead.
The world of Shadowrun should be appealing to pretty much anyone, as it combines magic, guns, kung fu fighting, herbs and even the fucking Matrix into a futuristic, somewhat dystopian, cyberpunk setting. Really, it’s like some obnoxious kid got into an argument with a game developer, one day, and said “Well, my game setting has everything!”
In the right hands, something like this could be truly special and the hands seem to be right, this time around, as the project is helmed by Jordan Weisman – the father of Shadowrun, as we understand, as well as some people responsible for the Genesis/SNES Shadowrun games. That last part is plenty to get our juices going (it’s not gross; we’re aliens).
The Megadrive Shadowrun game could give PC RPG’ s of its’ time a run for their money and I’m talking about mid-90’s here, when “RPG” was not defined as “any game where you do side missions”. You could have freaking conversations with NPC’s (where you would choose responses) and your character stat screen looked similar to what you’d see in Fallout. Again, that’s a fucking 16-bit console that wasn’t even the most powerful 16-bit console out there!
The SNES version, despite looking similar to the Megadrive game (when outside of the Matrix), was a completely different beast but it was not too shabby either and possibly provided a more fleshed out story.
Now, the Kickstarter campaign is not promising a AAA title that will combine the goods from the older games with the latest technological bells and whistles but considering what was once produced in the freaking… again…16-fucking-bit era, there is a very good chance that we’re in for something awesome here.
#5. Grim Dawn
The makers of Titan Quest (some) are putting together a proper Diablo-esque action RPG.
If you are a fan of Diablo, like all of us are, and you have either not been very satisfied with Diablo 3 or just got tired of playing the thing to death, then you should go buy Torchlight II right fucking now! Seriously, in many ways it’s a better game for a fraction of the price, without the online DRM! But all of us agree that there is still one problem there – Torchlight is even more cartoony than Diablo 3.
You see, for many Diablo fans, the first two games weren’t just about loot but also about the very dark, gothic setting and tone. Believe it or not, the series never used to look like World of Warcraft:
Something’s still missing and that’s where Grim Dawn comes in. From the looks of things, not only is it not going to feature stylized graphics, keeping things nice and gritty (even more so than the excellent Titan Quest), but the game is supposed to feature NPC factions, meaningful quest choices, non-linear progression, destructible environments, and a whole other junk of stuff that frankly sounds too good to be true for a budget of half a million bucks. Hell, we are quite amazed that the game has the visuals that it does already:
Apparently, Crate Entertainment plans to make every cent count, which makes it about the most perfect project to contribute to, which you still can!
#4. Carmageddon: Reincarnation
A new Carmageddon title is being independently developed by Stainless Games – the creator of the series.
We have discussed Carmageddon before, and we mentioned that our excitement was super revved for this Kickstarter campaign. Well, that was no lie. Carmageddon is not just nostalgia for many of us, we consider it a genuinely good game and a grand daddy to all things roadkill. I’d personally go as far as say that despite serving as a decent advertisement, all the controversy surrounding the series probably somewhat cheapened the franchise, preventing some from appreciating the well-balanced mechanics in place.
To clarify though, we are mostly talking about the first two game here. None of us really enjoyed (or played) the third one.
Stainless had nothing to do with that one. Clearly. The title doesn’t even have a pun! I mean, ‘TDR 2000’?? After Carmageddon and Carpocalypse Now??
Thankfully, Stainless themselves are about to bring it back with Reincarnation, and if the title is any indication, their heads are in the right place. The tongue-in-bloody-cheek vibe is here again, and something tells us that everything else that made the originals great will be as well, including the insane violence. Not convinced? Then have a screenshot:
Clearly, they aren’t pulling any punches when it come to gore. We really hope that they give the gameplay the necessary attention as well, and we are feeling somewhat confident that they might. I mean, Stainless has been around (since 1993). I’d think that they wouldn’t suddenly go out with a grand scheme to nab $600k, if they didn’t mean business. By the way, that sounds like the perfect budget for a project this risky but a bit more couldn’t hurt either (hint).
#3. Project Eternity
PC RPG veterans at Obisidan are making an old school RPG.
There are two reasons why you should care about Project Eternity: one is that you are a fan of Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale or the Baldur’s Gate games for PC; two is that you are not a fan of Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale or the Baldur’s Gate games for PC. In the case of the latter, you should get to installing those titles, whether or not you think you would enjoy them. We’ll wait…
You see, anything worth doing is worth doing right so if you have decided to partake in gaming, you want to experience the best it has to offer, no matter how ‘old’ or un-Call-of-Duty-like it may seem, especially if it’s still as playable as something like Planescape. Let’s be honest here, if most people are honest, they’ll probably tell you that Citizen Kane is kind of a boring-ass movie but you can’t consider yourself a movie buff, without having seen it, can you?
If you get past the fact that they are not first person shooters, the aforementioned titles will become among your favorite RPG’s ever made, guaranteed. And if not, you will at least agree that they are good games and will suddenly find yourself very interested in Project Eternity. Don’t forget that Obsidian is the workplace of a lot of ex-Black Isle folk, and they are promising something along the lines of the old school Black Isle RPG’s, only looking like so:
I can’t tell you whether Project Eternity will end up being another classic but any RPG fan needs to keep an eye on it. I mean, it’s a modern old-school Obsidian RPG for fucks sakes and you can still get a good deal on a must have by contributing.
#2. Star Citizen
Chris Roberts, the creator of Wing Commander and a guy who considers himself “legendary” is making a return to video games with an ambitious space-sim MMO.
Well, one reason you should care is that Chris Roberts is NOT making another Wing Commander movie instead. Another reason is that the last two video games he made were Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV! For those who don’t know, those were the ‘Star Wars’ of video games, minus all the irritating dancing rubber creatures. Wing Commander told a serious story, where not only did you get to do the space fighting yourself, you got to make choices that affected the outcome of the games And before you say, “Oh, so it’s an old Mass Effect with laughably shitty presentation of the mid-90’s… ”
Call me shallow but one thing I like about Chris Roberts is that the guy doesn’t fuck around when it comes to presentation. The Wing Commander games were cast better than most sci fi movies (while notice that it did not make our list of celebrity gaming fails) and he is making his Kickstarter game with the freaking CryEngine 3. He also claims that Star Citizen will rival any AAA game at the time of its’ launch. How? Well, including the Kickstarter money, the project has already gained $7 million in funding (!) and the guy has a few ideas on how to put that money to good use, one of which has something to do with the fact that it takes place in space, which is “mostly empty.”
All kidding aside though, the game already looks fantastic (watch the kickstarter video) and Chris Roberts seems to have kept his fingers firmly pressed against the wrist of the Epic. “Space sim”, coming from him, sounds insanely awesome already but offering us a chance to have an entire career of a space fighter pilot in an MMO setting that’s not another World of Warcraft repainted, where you get to organize Star Wars-style assaults against an enemy AND have a choice of Wing Commander-style single player campaign… well, it makes me say “may my funds be with you, Mr. Roberts!”
#1. Wasteland 2
This here is not just another Kickstarter project from a bunch of industry vets, this is a sequel to one of the most influential RPG’s ever made, from the makers of some of the most influential RPG’s ever made. Take a minute to absorb that.
The original Wasteland came out in 1988 and has since been often considered to be among the greatest PC games of all time. And… in 1997, it pretty much mutated into one of our favorite games of all time – Fallout. Yep, that Fallout was not only inspired by Wasteland; the reason the series even exists is that Black Isle Studios did not have the rights to make a Wasteland sequel. Well, the game’s creator, Brian Fargo – the Brian Fargo whose name you see before Fallout 1 and 2 – has the rights again!
The fact that Wasteland 2 is happening is a big deal already but Brian Fargo is not going at it alone, tapping away angrily to the sound of an 80’s action movie training montage track, he has a dream team of key people behind the original Wasteland and Fallout 1 & 2 (and other RPG classics, like Planescape: Torment) by his side. This thing is in the right hands and those hands seem to be intent on doing it right
Take the time to watch that video to understand why this is a project worth supporting. And yes, another old school RPG but what can I say? It’s a good time to be a fan of old school RPG’s. Personally, as a dude who had given up hope of ever seeing proper role playing make a decent return before this whole Kickstarter thing blew up, I could not be happier about the next couple of years in gaming.