Barring some sort of miracle, this Kickstarter attempt isn’t going to succeed. But that’s been pretty obvious for a while! The more important thing, to the team here, is that people are getting a lot more excited than they’ve ever been. We’re seeing close to a hundred people online, which is still tiny, but for a previously-completely-unheard-of alpha test, it’s great!
Eric Heimburg, Project: Gorgon Kickstarter Update #6
There is less than 24 hours to go for the Project: Gorgon Kickstarter campaign at this point and it sits about 22% into its $100,000 funding goal. Unless somebody shows up ready to write an $80K check really soon, the campaign will not fund.
And the failure to fund comes for a few reasons. I mentioned the name recognition issue in my post at the start of the campaign. “Who is Eric Heimburg?” is a serious problem in a field where names can be a draw. And the name of the game itself, Project: Gorgon has never struck my as very dynamic or descriptive. While it doesn’t feel as weighed down as the labored Shroud of the Avatar: The Hidden Virtues or as nonsensical as Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, it also doesn’t have the zing of Camelot Unchained or the simplicity of EverQuest. And it isn’t like all the good short names are taken. Didn’t Bungie just go live with Destiny? And wasn’t there Journey just a while back?
I don’t know. I just look at that name and wonder “What is this Gorgon? And why has it become somebody’s project?” It doesn’t say “game” or “fun” to me… it trends more towards frog dissection in high school biology to be honest. That might just be me.
And the whole Kickstarter campaign probably could have gone better. While I am on the mailing list, the whole thing came up as something of a surprise to me. There wasn’t a lot of build up or attempts to get the word out in advance of the campaign. There was no attempt to build up a sense of excitement to make a big, first day splash. Hell, I only happened to see the Kickstarter announced on Twitter, after which I went away for about 20 minutes, came back, logged in, and managed to be the first backer.
Me being first in line for something I wasn’t even aware was coming, that speaks to some poor prep work. And there is a strong correlation between Kickstarter projects doing well in the first 48 hours (well as in hitting 25-50% of their goal) and successfully funding. Project: Gorgon didn’t even make 10% of the target in that time frame.
Finally, Eric Heimburg just isn’t a bright beacon for the project. Not only does he lack name recognition, but he is just not the tireless showman that Mark Jacobs is, or the shameless self-promoting egomaniac that Spaceman Richard “Lord British” Allen “father of the online gaming industry” Dennis “most game designers really just suck” Garriott de Cayeux comes across as, or even the snake-oil selling charlatan that Brad McQuaid can be on a bad day. Eric Heimburg is just too focused on the game itself… which is the right thing for an engineer, but doesn’t work so well when you need publicity.
Such is life. I certainly wouldn’t be any better in the role.
And so, for whatever mix of reasons, the Kickstarter will almost certainly not fund. And here I was all ready to name an NPC as part of my pledge.
However, as a follow on to the quote at the top, there is this:
We’re working on other ways to get the funding we need to make the game. I’ll share more of our plans as soon as I know them! In the mean time, if you’re enjoying the alpha, fear not: it will remain up and running for at least a few more months while we try to figure out a way to bring the game to completion.
And here is one of the key bonuses that Project: Gorgon has as a Kickstarter project. You can go to the Project: Gorgon site right now, download and play in the alpha.
And there are things to see. I only ran around the initial starter cave… it has been one of those month’s where “go play more Project: Gorgon” has been the 4th or 5th item on my list of things to do on any given night, and I rarely managed to get past the 2nd item… but there is a lot more to see, a world to explore, and I am sorry I haven’t gotten there yet.
But the essence is that there is a game here, an MMO, and if you are too busy whining about how World of Warcraft “ruined” MMOs to peek in on some of the niche projects like this or Camelot Unchained or Shroud of the Avatar, that are catering to concepts that just are not possible or practical in a mass market “must appeal to as many people as possible” MMO, then I am not sure I can take your rants very seriously. Put your money where your mouth is. If you want these sorts of things, go support them.
How often do the really interesting things in life line up with what works in the mass market in any case?