Porject: Gorgon is back with a new Kickstarter. This time around Eric Heimberg, the lead developer, is looking for $100,000 so that he and the two key artists working on the project can focus on it full time and bring it to a level ready to release.
And, to be brutality honest, just one day after the Kickstarter launched it looks doomed to fail.
The problem is name recognition.
Mark Jacobs was able to meet his two million dollar goal only on the last day of the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter, even with his name and a serious promise to match what was raised out of his own pocket. Richard Garriott, was able to parley his Lord British persona and a load of nostalgia for his games into a couple of million dollars via Kickstarter as well, so his Shroud of the Avatar project could go forward. They were both the public faces of games that have a legion of fans.
And even Brad McQuaid, mired as he was in the problems with Vanguard, was nearly able to hit the half million dollar mark with Pantheon, even if he did not make it to his $800K goal, based in large part on the fact we know who he is and that he is associated with a successful project, EverQuest.
Eric Heimberg worked on Asheron’s Call, which was a success. But we do not associate his name with that project. Sandra Powers, his wife, also worked on Asheron’s Call as well as EverQuest II, but her name out of context would just draw a blank for me. So you can get a couple of bloggers writing about the project and a specialty MMO news site or two, but the mainstream gaming media won’t pick this up. PC Gamer or GameSpot or Polygon are not clamoring for an interview with Eric Heimberg. His is not a name that draws any attention. There is no story that they can sell.
So while Space Tyrant Roberts is out there using the more than fifty million dollars thrown at him by adoring fans to create space bonsai, Project: Gorgon is going to have to do this the hard way.
But at least the project is prepared for that. See, you can actually go download and play the early alpha version of the game. It is there. It is an available, downloadable, tangible thing that you can go try today. So, unlike any of the examples I have list above, you can do so BEFORE you hand over any money.
It looks a bit awkward… the pace of walking doesn’t quite match the movement to my eye, as an example, and I have problems judging depth and distance in the cave… but there is quite a bit in place, and the whole thing has moved forward dramatically from the first access nearly two years back. There is the groundwork for a serious game here. The intuition system, for example, is interesting and used in an amusing way for an example.
And if you hang around in the starter cave while looking at screen shots in another window, you can even die.
Death does not hold much sting now, but this is still early alpha.
The Kickstarter page lists out the vision for this game. Some of it sounds like other, similar ventures. But here there is the bedrock of a game, a foundation already laid, that you can go try yourself before you pledge anything.
Because that is the only way this Kickstarter is going to is going to succeed. Without name recognition as a draw, Project: Gorgon is just going to have to win people over, one at a time, with its demo.
So if you feel inclined, go give it a try. The download is quick, the package is small, you do not need to register, you can just enter a character name and play. Then don’t just go “yuck” and close the window. Run around a bit. Click on things. There is a surprising amount of “there” there in Project: Gorgon.