Just when you thought that all you needed for a successful Kickstarter campaign was a combination of nostalgia and a Big Name who had worked on a previous best-seller, think again. David Crane is one of the founders of Activision, and the man behind one of the young publisher's earliest success stories, Pitfall. His latest project, Jungle Adventure has just closed on Kickstarter, where it raised less than 4% of its ambitious total.
Jungle Adventure attracted 669 backers, pledging a total of US$31,208. That's nothing to sneeze at, but when you'd budgeted US$900,000, it's a bit of a disappointment.
The project's Kickstarter page has just been updated with some sombre words:
A final sombre update on the project's Kickstarter Page had this to say:
This project was as much about bringing game players into the game design process as it was about the game itself. To back the project without a design and eye candy required a leap of faith - belief that my team and I could, and would, make a game that you would be proud to own. Every pledge was a vote of confidence, and I took each one as a personal compliment.
Re-kick it and market it better (as has been suggested)? Maybe. Complete the design and bring backers in for just the production? Possibly. Strip down the design and lower its quality? Never. For now all options (except for lowering my quality standards) are on the table. Making games is what I do, and I'll keep making them as long as you continue to enjoy playing them.
There are a number of factors which may have contributed to Jungle Adventure's failure: Gamers around the world loved Pitfall and Crane's other classic A Boy and His Blob, but the man has been out of the industry for a good few years and his name doesn't have the instant brand recognition of other classic developers.
Whether or not having a "completed design" affected Jungle Adventure's success is an unknown - people are wary of putting money down on less-detailed projects, but games like Project Eternity have received plenty of money with just a rough outline. If Crane does relaunch his project down the line, he'll need more than a few tastes of concept art.
There's one more theory: It's possible that Pitfall's latest reboot for iOS has left a nasty taste in some gamers' mouths: The classic side-scrolling platformer has been reinvented as a Temple Run-clone, disappointing retro gamers hoping for a run, jump and fall down Memory Lane.
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