Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Unleashed!

Mark Jacobs and his team were wise enough to pass on an April 1st start date for his Camelot Unchained Kickstarter.

(Though I think the whole thing started before the timer on the Camelot Unchained home page finished counting down.  Probably a good idea to make sure it was going strong before sending people over.)

But the day of fools has passed, and now it is back to marketing as usual.

As Lord British and his Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter winds down its last few days, having crossed the $1.3 million mark, getting it to the interactive musical instruments stretch goal (did anybody believe that those stretch goals wouldn’t make it into the game?), Mark Jacobs and Camelot Unchained begin their campaign.


And Mark wants two million dollars.

He’ll see Lord British’s million and raise him a million.


That seems like an aggressive goal.  As I said before, I think Lord British has better general name recognition and is a bigger draw because of that.  So the City State Entertainment team is going to have to work hard to make that goal.

All of the now standard Kickstarter bits and pieces are in place.  There are tiers from $5 to $10,000 with splashy graphics to illustrate what you get with each tier and charts to compare tier.  It is a lot of graphics.  The page seems to go on forever.  But you pretty much need the picture to see what you are getting because the text about the tiers in the side bar is cramped and goes on forever as well.  And I have already spotted a couple of discrepancies between charts and pictures.  There is a game in that alone I think.

There are mission statements and what makes the game unique and, of course, the requisite “why Kickstarter” apologia.

As a “niche” and RvR-focused MMORPG, CU is a very risky venture for most traditional game publishers. Even if we did find one willing to take the risk, it would come with so many strings attached we couldn’t make the game we want to, or would face constant battling to ensure our vision remains intact. That’s why we’re attempting to fund some, but not all, of this project’s costs through Kickstarter.

While we at CSE believe in Camelot Unchained, we could be wrong about it having even enough appeal for backers to fund this Kickstarter. We will create this game only if there is a demand for it, so if we can’t get the partial funding we seek, we will not go ahead. OTOH, if we do successfully fund, Mark Jacobs will add $2M dollars to the development budget himself. This is covered in more detail below.

I suppose it is refreshing to see the founder, who in this case doesn’t live in a castle and hasn’t paid his way into space, publicly matching the funds raised.  I am not sure how meaningful that is, but it is there.

And there is a succinct statement about where the money is going.

Every dollar we raise from this Kickstarter campaign will go towards development. Our staffing plan includes hiring three additional engineers, two artists, one designer and one part-time writer immediately. The MMO engine will be developed in-house with one purpose, to make a great RvR MMORPG; the engineers will work with Andrew on it, and our existing programmers on the server tech. While this game won’t require the amount of content as Dark Age of Camelot, we still need to hire a few more artists in-house and a writer so, dragons be praised, Mark can go back to his day job and stop writing all these documents.

I think that is a pretty reasonable statement.

There is a chart that lists out what you can buy with those Founder Points you get for this and that.  That seems to be a mildly new twist.  I am still not sure how many points I would get for any given tier, or how I actually spend them, but at least I can see that there is a use for them.

There are, however, no explicit stretch goals yet, though there are several statement about other platforms depending on making such goals.  But I get the feeling it will be a stretch to get to the main goal.  And it is easier to communicate a specific goal rather than a series of hurdles past what people thought was the finish line.

And there is a nice new graphic of the team.

City State Entertainment

City State Entertainment

I like that a lot.  And now I am even more likely to think of The City State of the Invincible Overlord every time I see that company name.

I also like that the name of the product is just two words, Camelot Unchained, and didn’t end up as Mark Jacob’s Camelot Unchained: Conflict of Three Lands Who Have Been At It Before or some such.

And the estimated delivery date for the final product?  December 2015.

Now, the big question is, will Mark Jacobs and the City State Entertainment team make it to $2,000,000 by Thursday May 2, 11:56am EDT?  We’re at the fast out of the gate stage where the true believers kick in, so the numbers are rising fast.  The $300K mark is close as of this time.  But when will that first plateau arrive?

And will we get an interview from Mark Jacobs where he insults people in order to draw attention to the whole thing when pledges do slow down?

The Kickstarter page is here for your viewing pleasure.

10 thoughts on “Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Unleashed!

  1. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Already up to half a milllion. looking good for them to make their goal if they can keep the momentum up. I haven’t seen much news of the KS yet outside of a few smaller places, so it’s looking good for them.

    Plus, Mark Jacobs says he’s throwing in $2M of his own money, so it’s $4M total. $2M is a lot, but really, $4M total is going to be a tight budget for an MMO, even a niche type like this one.

    I was a big fan of DAoC, only stopped playing because I had acquired this little game called Meridian 59. So, I’m hoping for the best here. :)


  2. Gripper

    I just cant get behind the kickstarter stuff – essentially giving your money away with no guarantee’s…. Did the MWO – lured in and they still havent delivered the strategic part of the game…


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Brian – And it was nice of Mark Jacobs to delay a day so as not to get confused with your announcement.

    @Gripper – It is like most things in life. If you don’t know anything about the people selling the idea, then you should probably not put your money in it. With Mark Jacobs… or with Lord British or the Hidden Path team that did Defense Grid… they seemed to have a worthwhile reputation.

    But for the most part I agree with you and would rather wait for the product to ship.


  4. HarbingerZero

    @Gripper – No worries mate, many of us were taken in with Piranha’s sweet talk about launch dates,everything that was in the game (or supposed to be), and so on. To me its the biggest MMO gaming fail of 2012.

    CU hitting 500k in the first day, I can’t imagine them not clearing two mil. Its also refreshing to see an MMO developer be honest about not giving a rat’s ass about PvE. All the same, I’ll be passing.


  5. Jenks

    Shroud of the Avatar made over $400,000 on the first day and it doesn’t look like it will hit $2m. I hope this makes it, and I would bet on it making it, but I don’t think it’s a shoo in.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jenks – Indeed, but I wonder if Lord British had asked for $2 million, if he would have made that as handily? I have noted in the past a tendency for things to slow down once a goal has been met. Lord B got his million, there will be a game (we hope) and so the pressure is off to contribute. The heavy lifting has been done.

    Now, with CU, the initial rush will taper off. A lot of people went in big. Already 6 people have put up the $5K to have their own custom Inn and 8 people have put up a like amount to have their own custom island. Those 14 people alone represent 11% of the $600K raised as of this moment. And somebody put in the $10K for one of the Dragonwhale spots. But those will run out and a lot of the rest of the way will have to be made with people offering up $25 to $100. For that you need quantity.

    And that is where it becomes a marketing exercise. Not only is it a “get the money” plan, but also a measure of how much interest there is in a project and how many people will commit to it. MJ is pretty clear in the text that he feels if there is not $2 million worth of interest in the game out there, it isn’t worth doing.


  7. Mark Jacobs

    Wihelm! Thanks for the write-up. You are absolutely correct when you say it is a big goal and I couldn’t agree more.

    In terms of “And will we get an interview from Mark Jacobs where he insults people in order to draw attention to the whole thing when pledges do slow down?” not bloody likely, not my style. I’ve gone through a lot in three decades and even though I’ve had a lot of opportunities to rail against people, corporations, etc. I haven’t gone down that path and hopefully I never will as long as I remain a developer.

    Again, thanks so much for the write-up, I appreciate it’s honesty and frankness.


  8. Mark Jacobs

    As I was leaving the office I realized I said “frankness” not fairness and it sounded even more lame. Sorry, it’s been a long day and I still have more work to do tonight. Anyway, thanks. I’ll go now. :)


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @MJ – Either worked for me. Thank you for stopping by. Good luck with the campaign. There is nearly a month of long nights ahead of you. I hope the effort pays off.


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