In the world of Kickstarter, you win some and you lose some. And you wait some.
I’m not pledging to support Kickstarter campaigns at the same rate as I once did. But I still throw a bit of money at the odd project. So far in 2019, I’ve supported two video games, Lunark and Space Haven, and a comic, the fifth issue of Dunce. The Dunce pledge is a bit out of character for me, my modus operandi is computer game pledges. But the autobiographic Dunce comic is created by a Norwegian artist, Jens K. Styve, and I’m all for supporting local talent. That the strip is quite entertaining also helps, of course. When I’m writing this, there is still a couple of weeks left of the Dunce campaign. So why don’t you go pledge yourself?
But I digress, as I often do. This post is not supposed to be about the campaigns I’ve supported recently. It’s about two projects I supported a long time ago.
Paradise Lost: First Contact
Paradise Lost: First Contact is an indie pixel art game that was successfully funded in 2013 - over half a decade ago. Independent video game developer Asthree Works raised almost $150,000 to develop their action/stealth/puzzle/platform-game.
After the funding period ended, the developer gave themselves a year to finish Paradise Lost: First Contact. The estimated delivery was December 2014, but it became obvious early on that the estimate was way too optimistic. In August 2014, Asthree Works announced that they had to port all the graphics to a new pixel art program. In November, the release date was pushed back to mid 2015.
But mid 2015 came and went. In October 2015, Asthree was bold enough to announce that they were working on another project in parallel with Paradise Lost: First Contact. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go down too well with the project backers. Asthree claimed that the new project didn’t affect the development of Paradise Lost: First Contact. But we all know that’s just a bad joke.
The calendar now shows March, 2019, and I’ve yet to receive my copy of Paradise Lost: First Contact. Asthree Works has been posting very elaborate updates to the Kickstarter campaign every now and then. But there’s still no game, and the release is now scheduled for 2019, with no specific date.
From the Kickstarter updates, it looks like Asthree Works has effectively fallen into a pit of feature creeps, incompetence, and the inability to realize that the game won’t be 100% perfect on release - or ever. At this point, I’ve basically written off Paradise Lost: First Contact. I only pledged $12, so I’m good. Two poor souls pledged $2,500, though. That was a bad decision, if I ever saw one.
Little Devil Inside
Little Devil Inside was successfully funded in May 2015. South Korean developer Neostream raised just over AU$ 300,000 to develop their game about “a college professor who investigates paranormal activities.” Perhaps not the most intriguing punchline, but the rest of Neostream’s Kickstarter campaign was a beautiful showcase of their game and it’s peculiar, and extremely attractive graphics style.
I was one of 5,126 backers who were effectively lured into Neostream’s trap. They were just as optimistic as Asthree Works, and Little Devil Inside’s release was scheduled for June 2016. That gave the developer about a year to finish the game.
As you can probably guess from the running theme of this post, no game was released in June 2016. Instead, an update was posted that pushed the early access release to 2018.
Progress updates have been trickling out, but the frequency has been gradually decreasing over the years. The most recent sign of life from the project was in July last year. From the update it looks like Neostream has run into the same problems as Asthree Works. They are unable to limit the scope of Little Devil inside, and spend too much time tweaking, and polishing it.
Will we ever see Little Devil Inside being released? For whatever reason, I have more faith in this game, than I have in Paradise Lost: First Contact. Maybe it’s because it looks more polished, I don’t know. But even if it turns out that the Little Devil Inside is vaporware, I only threw AU$ 30 on the game, so I can cover my losses.
But 4 backers pledged no less than AU$ 8,000 to make Neostream’s dream come true. Kickstarter pledges are always a risky thing, but if I had that kind of money to gamble, I’d go to Vegas instead.
On May 31, 2019, Neostream posted their first Kickstarter update in 10 months. Looks like there’s still progress, and the screenshots and animations they posted look pretty freakin’ sweet.
It’s now three years since the game was supposed to be released, and how they’ve managed to keep afloat that long is beyond me. But maybe it’s hope that Little Devil Inside will see the light of day after all.