Showing posts with label video games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video games. Show all posts

Final Torment Info

So the Torment Kickstarter is in the last week of its campaign. We've raised over $3.25M, but we hope to raise even more to make this game bigger and better, to make a game that truly lives up to the Torment tradition.

So this is the last you'll hear me plug it, but I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of things, including one bit of news that hasn't made it to the Kickstarter page.

Bit #1: Pat Rothfuss is on our writing team. I know, right? MIND. BLOWN. It might even be part of my job to review Pat's areas which, if I remember correctly, is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Bit #2: Natalie Whipple is on our writing team. I know that's not as big as Pat (which is one of the main reasons this hasn't hit our Kickstarter page), but though this announcement might not excite the internet at large, for me this is HUGE.

I've been following Natalie's career since way back when she won one of Nathan Bransford's 1st Paragraph Contests, and since then I've been lucky enough to critique a few of her novels. I even got to read the first chapter of her upcoming "X-Men meets Godfather" debut, TRANSPARENT. Guys, it would not be a mistake to pre-order that.

Natalie is hugely imaginative, and she brings a cool, new perspective to the Torment team that I'm really excited about. Seriously, I cannot wait to work with this team and see what we come up with.

If you want to help the project, you can still do so. I, personally, would really appreciate it, considering the bigger this game gets, the bigger my job gets and the better I can support my family :-) We've added new tiers and rewards since the Kickstarter began, and you can see them all here. Some of the new rewards are additional novellas and a digital comic book (which it sounds like I might be co-writing :-).

I know not all of you are gamers but are still interested in supporting us, or maybe in reading the novella I'm going to write. Well, you can get certain rewards -- like the digital novella compilation -- without even getting the game. Information on how to get these "add-ons" is here.

I still cannot believe the series of events that has led me here. It's like the weirdest road to publishing ever, but I ain't complaining :-)

Torment Concept Art

Hey, if you're interested in that game I'm working on, we've got some concept art up.

This first shot is a work-in-progress picture of The Bloom, a literally living city, with tendrils creeping through other dimensions. The concept artist who did this is one of my (new) favorite artists ever. His name's Chang Yuan, and you can see more of his work here.

This next shot is one of the weapons in the game. Our setting is kind of a Dying Earth setting, where the highly advanced technology of the past becomes the scavenged weapons and magic of the future. Some of you might know this is exactly the kind of setting I love to work in.

So listen, I'm not gonna post every single tidbit of the game here. If you want to follow news about it, you might try liking the game's Facebook page, or else following my Twitter feed or Brian Fargo's (being the leader of inXile, whose Torment-related tweets I pass on).

I will for sure let you know when the Kickstarter goes off, so don't worry about that. Otherwise, I'll try to stick to writerly posts in general. Today, though, I just wanted to share with you the pretty.

Kickstarter, Self-Publishing, and Video Games

You've all heard of the literary self-publishing revolution. (Heck, some of you are on the barricades). What you might not know is there is a similar revolution going on in video and board games. It has to do with Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Anyone with an idea for a book, a movie, a game, a technology, or whatever can launch a project page and see if people are interested in funding their project. Authors have used it to self-publish: to fund cover artists and editors, and to see if there's a market for what they want to write before they write it.

We all know why authors self-publish: because breaking into the Big 6 is freaking hard, especially if you write for what is essentially a niche audience. Turns out the same thing is true in games.

Video games, in particular, have their own Big Publishers -- companies with the connections and resources to develop triple-A titles for the major gaming consoles. I don't even know how an independent developer would sign on with them. You'd probably have to prove you have a significant platform first, or else develop a Halo clone or something else they know will work. (Sound familiar?).

But not everybody wants to make Halo.* A number of developers have been using Kickstarter to pitch the games they always loved, and to see if enough people feel the same. You may have even heard of some of the biggest ones:

* Nothing against Halo, of course. There are some very talented folks making those games.

Double Fine Adventure was a Kickstarter campaign by developer Tim Schafer, maker of some of my favorite games of all time: the Monkey Island games, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle. Last March he asked for $400,000 to make a new adventure game -- something big publishers haven't wanted for decades. He got $3.3 million and kickstarted a revolution (see what I did there?).

A month later, inXile entertainment (starring my former and current boss) pitched a sequel to a very old post-apocalyptic RPG. Wasteland 2 got running with nearly $3,000,000.

Project: Eternity is the brain child of Obsidian Entertainment, home of most of my former coworkers. They asked if people wanted to see a spiritual successor to the old Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. Seventy-four thousand people said, "YES!"

Why am I telling you this? Well, partially because it's fascinating to me. Anything that makes it easier to fund, create, and distribute creativity is awesome, in my opinion.

But also to show that independent publishing is not strictly a book thing. In the last year, there have been seven million-dollar video game projects on Kickstarter, dozens of smaller ones, and who knows how many hundreds of similar board games, RPGs, and other things.

And just like in the book world, I think the way to look at self-publishing is not as a challenge to publishers, but more like filling holes that publishers leave unfilled. Three million dollars sounds like a lot, but when triple-A budgets regularly hit 30 or 40 million, you can understand why EA and Microsoft might not be interested in a niche RPG.

In the same way, ten thousand book sales might not interest a publisher used to selling books in the hundreds of thousands, but to the self-published author, those ten thousand sales are game changing.

Whatever. I just like where the future is going. I'm excited to see what happens next.

What about you? Have you ever backed (or launched!) a Kickstarter? What do you think about the platform.