Crowdfunding has become one the most popular ways for smaller game studios to finance themselves. They put their original game idea out there and people that are interested invest money in the game studio so that the game gets made.
Although it has become a very acceptable approach to finance games, games that originated from crowdfunding websites are often of varying quality. We have seen real diamonds being produced but also utter garbage. Some crowdfunded games are never even released. While the system is far from perfect we want to focus on the positives and look at some of the best games that were made possible by crowdfunding.
The now infamous Shovel Knight is how throwbacks to the 8-bit genre should be made. The game raised over $300,000 dollars on Kickstarter and has been so successful since release that it is basically available on every platform. The game managed to do away with the clunky controls and game design from the 8-bit era but still managed to keep the charm and nostalgic feelings. The game been met with wide critical acclaim and has received numerous DLCs since release. It even has a fantastic soundtrack to boot.
FTL: Faster Than Light
One of the best sci-fi space games ever made was fully made possible through crowdfunding. The game received over $200,000 in funding and was released to wide critical acclaim. The game balances on a fine line between fun to play and absolute grueling gameplay. In the game, you fly around space in your spaceship running away from an evil empire while running into encounters along the way. During these encounters, you need to decide where you will direct your ship’s energy, where you will target enemy ships and how you will come out alive. Death is permanent which means you will have to do it all over again.
The Banner Saga
An unforgiving turn-based strategy game that is centered around Norse mythology in an unconventional art style, this game would never be greenlit at any game studio. Through crowdfunding, however, this game miraculously came to life and rightfully so. It received over $700,000 in funding, which is a bonkers amount of money for a game centered around such an absurd concept. Although the game’s gameplay was interesting, the game truly shined when putting the players into difficult situations that required the player to make incredibly tough choices. These situations occurred both in and out of combat. The game was so successful that it has since spawned a sequel called The Banner Saga 2 and there is a 3rd one in the works.
Broken Age aimed to bring point and click adventure games back on the menu. Although the game aimed to raise a goal of only $400,000, it managed to raise a whopping amount of over 3 million dollars within a month. The game was extremely successful all over the world as people with fond memories of games like Legend of Monkey Island
Divinity Original Sin & Pillars of Eternity
Sometimes the universe presents some crazy similarities that are really hard to believe. In this case that happened with these two games. Both games were funded through crowdfunding efforts and were meant to bring back some love to the classic cRPG genre. Although they did it in different ways, both games managed to reanimate the dead genre and were received with critical acclaim. Both games were released within a year of each other and have both spawned sequels that were released within a year of each other. What’s even crazier is that both of these games managed to bring back their respective game studios from the brink of bankruptcy. The similarities are almost too crazy to be true but one thing is for sure and that is that without crowdfunding we would never have these fantastic adventures.
This absurd shooter game was probably one of the most surprising games that we have received in recent years. While playing through the game time stops when you stop moving. This mechanic provides some crazy matrix level opportunities where you can dodge incoming fire while demolishing enemies in creative ways. Although the game looks unpolished, indicating every enemy in red and having the rest of the game remain white is a great way to reduce visual noise and is smart game design. The game only received $250,000 in funding through Kickstarter but still managed to leave its mark in the gaming community. That’s how you know that you created a fantastic game.
Hyper Light Drifter
Another game on the list that was made in the classic 8-bit era style. This game’s art style was enough to set it up for a successful Kickstarter campaign through which it raised more than 600,000 dollars. When the game came out, however, it turned out to be extremely fun as well. The 2D action RPG modernizes all the clunky aspects of the 8-bit era, just like Shovel Knight, and creates a challenging but fun to play game. Although some people have complained about a few difficulty spikes, nobody can deny how beautiful the hand-drawn 8-bit art style looks.