Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Indivisible campaign is everything it should be.


Why the fuck isn't Indivisible 200% funded?

The game's cast is basically a textbook on what female representation in games should look like.

It's a shame that Indivisible didn't appear on Kickstarter or Indiegogo three years ago.  It would've broken two million, by now - but in the past three years, games asking for crowdfunding dollars have become a bit ubiquitous.

There's so many - and so many of them end up producing less-than-stellar results, or nothing at all.  More than that, Kickstarters keep happening with major, big-name talent attached like Keiji Inafune or Koji Igarashi asking for a few hundred thousand, raking in support in the millions.

And so many of those big names are... kinda' sneaky about it.  Remember how Double Fine basically offered nothing more than the name of Tim Schafer to rake in millions for what would become Broken Age?  Remember the backlash when their plans for it changed after the Kickstarter's success?  Remember how Inafune kept trying to fleece the crowdfunding community even after Mighty No. 9 was obscenely successful?  Remember how folks weren't explicitly told where most of the funding for Shenmue III was coming from?

Doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous.

The Indivisible Indiegogo campaign pulls none of the sneaky shit we've seen from developers on crowdfunding platforms.  They are being straight up with us - "505 Games will put in $2,000,000 if we raise $1,500,000 from you.  If we break $1,500,000, they'll give us more.  If we don't make $1,500,000, the game doesn't get made."

And they're not gonna' make it.  Unless a miracle happens, Indivisible isn't getting made, because this is what a successful crowdfunding venture (for the best damned Kickstarted game there ever was!) looks like, on a bar graph:


Starts high, quickly stumbles into a low trough, with a slight bump at the end.  That's it.

Indivisible's Indiegogo campaign pulled in the lion's share of the money it would ever earn in the first week.   With eleven days to go, it hasn't reached 50% of its 1.5 million dollar goal, which is kind of... insane.

This is the crew that made Skullgirls.  A small group of talented, passionate people who have proven they can deliver exceptional things on a shoestring budget and they do, in fact, need our help.

An example like Indivisible is why crowdfunding exists.  It's not a famous, established game creator asking you for money all the publishers in the world refuse to provide.  It's not a college drop-out asking for thirty grand for a game he'll probably never deliver.

And I'll admit, three days ago I didn't much care.  Then, on Tuesday, Lab Zero released their PS4 version of the Indivisible prototype, and I gave it a spin.

Finished it.  Beat the boss at the end that seems impossible at first.

Set the controller down.  Went outside.  Had a cigarette.

Played it again.

And again.  It is really good.

And I became so sad that the campaign won't hit its goal.

Did I mention the gameplay is super-fun?

Its crowdfunding campaign is incredibly well-done.  It's thoughtful, aggressively ambitious and conscious of the challenges of its footing.  Lab Zero hid nothing from us - they put it all out on the table, and they came to the table with so much. 

They laid the publishing deal with 505 Games out there, right from the start.

It's not just a bunch of concept art and the assurance that this will end up as something fun.  Prior to the campaign, they produced a full, completely playable (and super-fun!) prototype for the game, said "here, please try it!  We think you'll love it," and gave it away to anyone who has a rig to run it.

They held back the PS4 prototype release until just over halfway through the campaign, to (hopefully) overcome the long low-earning trough that most crowdfunding ventures suffer.

They dropped new bits of info and cross-promotion tidbits throughout the month, cannily ensuring the game's name keeps popping up in gamer news feeds.

A situation like Indivisible is why crowdfunding exists.

Indivisible's is practically a master's thesis on how to run a crowdfunding campaign, gracefully avoiding all the pitfalls that other studios end up tumbling in to.  If this campaign had appeared in 2013 - in the era of Hyper Light Drifter and Star Citizen - it would have raked in millions, but today..?

Today it's not gonna' make it.  Not without a miracle.

Not without help.

Try the prototype.


  1. Hey I've always meant to ask, what's your brand?

    Of smokeables.

    1. Canadian White Kings. Used to smoke Players, but a price jump on the premium brands like ten few years ago sent me searching for a mid-range equivalent. Canadian Classics have the same kind of flavor profile as Players.

      It's really interesting to note (for me, at least), that cigarettes taste completely different when you cross borders. To Canadians, American cigarettes taste like baby shit. Y'know when a little baby takes a little wet poop, and it smells like poop, but there's like an edge of almost sweetness to the smell? That's what American smokes taste and smell like. Sweet baby shit.

      European cigarettes are almost closer to cigars - there's a thickness to the flavor and smoke - but weirdly enough I think they're more "pure" tobacco than North American brands. After smoking a carton of Marlboros from the UK, I switched back to North American and all I could taste was chemicals.