Kickstarter is the crowdfunding platform loved by all — OK, maybe not all. It remains a fairly divisive platform, with some heavily delayed projects and certain multi-billion dollar sales of formerly crowdfunded products causing consternation; these negatives are arguably countered by a range of exciting projects made possible through its campaigns. It's vital in an era where even download-only developments can have a level of complexity necessitating a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars; on the flipside some starting out in the industry look for a first break, requesting surprisingly low amounts.
In the go-big-or-go-home world of Kickstarter, where funds are only received after hitting the total original target, there are plenty of studios and companies attempting to convince you to part with your cash. We've also seen a number of projects for Wii U and 3DS come through the platform, with examples such as Shovel Knight capturing the imagination. In the first of what will be a regular series, we're going to point you to the latest info on various projects that may or may not grace the eShop stores in future. We cover some but not all new projects targeting Nintendo systems in news articles, and it's also possible that after an official announcement the progress of the funding campaigns can be overlooked. This feature aims to resolve that, so you can see what's happening in the world of Kickstarter and how well — or otherwise — the fundraising is going.
Let's get to it, and you can click on the project names to visit their campaign pages.
Flying Hamster II — Wii U and 3DS as unspecified stretch goals [approx $12,000 of $150,000 target reached, 27 days to go]
We haven't covered this one to date, but it does have stretch goals for the Wii U and 3DS eShop. The original Flying Hamster was released on PSP, Vita and iOS, but this sequel aims to expand the original idea with a large "hub-based open world", with action platformer gameplay and rather cute visuals. This will apparently be a 2D adventure RPG in practice, with particular inspiration from Wonder Boy / Monster World.
Chances of Wii U / 3DS release — Based on current targets, slim. Both Nintendo platforms are under an unspecified stretch goal, with the core release on PC. The campaign is still very young, but the only confirmed console stretch goal to date is $350,000 for PS4 and Xbox One.
Cult County — Wii U included in core target [approx $25,000 of $580,000 target reached, 26 days to go]
Announced earlier this week, the project initially confirmed for the 3DS has moved to Unity-supported systems, which means Wii U, PC, PS3, PS Vita, PS4 and Xbox One; the 3DS has been cited as a potential stretch goal, yet this seems unlikely. As before when announced in 2013, this will be an episodic survival-horror FPS, with Renegade Kid aiming to use its experience from Dementium: The Ward and Dementium II on the DS. The studio has plenty of experience and supporters, and you can read more about the project in our interview with co-founder Jools Watsham, which was published alongside the campaign's launch.
Chances of Wii U release — This one is likely to be a challenge due to the ambitious target. The campaign's had a solid start, but with $580,000 needed there has to be a substantial increase in momentum over the next few weeks.
Hex Heroes — Wii U included in core target [approx $20,500 of $80,000 target reached, 17 days to go]
This is a "Party RTS" (real time strategy) with some serious pedigree, being led by artist and co-developer of popular PC title The Bridge, Mario Castañeda, with music from the much-loved Grant Kirkhope. Initially planned as a Wii U exclusive due to its core idea of local multiplayer for up to five players, with the GamePad player leading four others on the TV, it's since added a PC version to broaden the potential audience. Single player online will be included, with a $100,000 stretch goal for five-player online multiplayer.
Chances of Wii U release — There's still time for this one to pick up momentum, but it undoubtedly needs to do so. At the current rate it'll be a close call.
APEXICON - Fantasy Puzzle Combat — Wii U included in core target [approx $3,700 of $5,000 target reached, 17 days to go]
This is the second attempt of developer Actos Games to get this project funded, having closed the initial attempt late last year. The campaign returns with an updated alpha build free to try on PC, a lower target and with the Wii U eShop included in the core goal. This will attempt to blend wordplay with RPG elements, with touch controls on the GamePad seeming like an ideal option.
Chances of Wii U release — There can be optimisim with this one, as it's already surpassed the last campaign's aborted total and isn't far away, with just over two weeks to get over the line.
JetGetters — Wii U included as $80,000 stretch goal [approx $35,000 of $50,000 target reached, 12 days to go]
This title from tinyBuild certainly stands as a game that simply aims to provide ludicrous fun. A dogfighting aerial combat game, it also encourages you to leap from your plane and skydive; you can either land on a team-mates' plane and shoot with your handgun or land on an enemy plane to hijack it. Its description of "Just Cause 2 meets Battlefield 4" seems apt.
Chances of Wii U release — The stretch goal for Nintendo's system has dropped $15,000 to $80,000, but the campaign is still less than half way there with only 12 days left. A late surge is needed for this to make it to Wii U.
Twisted Fusion — Wii U exclusive [approx £1,330 of £3,000 target reached, 24 days to go]
This début Nintendo game from Lewis Pugh, who's previously released a number of smartphone games, will utilise the Nintendo Web Framework on the home console. Described as an "open platformer", the gameplay in the pitch video brings to mind Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds, while there'll also be an adjustable difficulty scale on the Wii U GamePad screen.
Chances of Wii U release — It's looking positive, with nearly half of the goal reached in less than a week.
Nintendo Underdogs Reorchestrated (NUREO) — Approx $1,400 of $6,000 target reached, 21 days to go
This is a fan-driven project — headed up by Colin McIsaac — that aims to produce an album of 20 tracks for "underappreciated" Nintendo themes. Examples cited are WarioWare's "Ashley's Theme," Super Mario RPG's "Beware the Forest Mushrooms," and Mario Kart's "Rainbow Road"; stretch goals include live instrument soloists and guest arrangements.
Odds of success — It's certainly possible with a relatively low target, though momentum will need a boost in the next few weeks.
Additional Projects - Update
Earthlock: Festival of Magic — Wii U included in core target [approx $112,500 of $150,000 target reached, 5 days to go]
Snowcastle Games originally ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, but the timing wasn't considered right and it was put on hold. Relaunched in March, it's in the final week of its push to bring its rather colourful turn-based RPG to various systems, including Wii U; gameplay will also include a substantial harvesting elements. The campaign is to fund volume 1, with subsequent volumes to be funded by sales of the first entry.
Chances of Wii U release — This one will be close. Campaigns typically enjoy late bursts, yet this one still has a little under $40,000 to raise in less than a week.
Tom Sparks and the Quakes of Ruin — Wii U included as $210,000 stretch goal [approx $1,000 of $50,000 target reached, 25 days to go]
Pointed out to us in the comments, this is one that we haven't covered to date. Described as a "3D diesel-punk action-adventure game full of crazy weapons", it takes an isometric top-down viewpoint and promises an action adventure of exploring, upgrading weapons and challenging enemy fights.
Chances of Wii U release — It looks very unlikely. Despite looking like a rather slick title in the pitch video below, this campaign has only raised a little over $1,000 in its early days; $210,000 is a huge number with such poor momentum.
So those are some crowdfunding efforts currently doing the rounds on Kickstarter. Let us know which ones interest you, and likewise point us to any we've missed in the comments below.