Most of the big budget kickstarters we’ve seen have promoted themselves heavily as being a sequel or spiritual successor to something. Take a look at a list of the top kickstarted games and look at the video games: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Shenmue 3, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Pillars of Eternity, and Mighty Number 9 are the top 5 and are all straight up sequels or spiritual successors to games that have been made in the past. These big budget kickstarters understandably play on known franchises and nostalgia, as it helps reassure people that you have an idea what you are getting and attracts fans of those games to back it.
Red Ash: The Indelible Legend though, tosses that safety net away, as Comcept has decided to go with a completely new idea that isn’t a spiritual successor to anything, while asking for 800k. While Red Ash is often being compared to Mega Man Legends, that has more to do with the team behind it than anything they have said. In fact, in the pitch itself, Inafune says its based on a canceled project of his instead of any game that he helped work on or that he observed. A big budget kickstarter aiming at doing something unique is something worth investigating.
Red Ash is an attempt to fully realize an anime styled world within a game by Comcept with open world design mixed with third person action rpg mechanics. It is something that Inafune has been interested in doing for a while, and beyond just the fact that its something different from a major kickstarter, it is interesting in and of itself. Even the relatively short film shows off the fact that the guy is drawing heavily on anime conventions in things beyond art style, with things like character tropes and set ups being shown off to match that. As the developers probably intend, the characters, including speech and design, you could pull right out of an anime. In fact, the game works so well as an anime that they are attempting something else new, running a separate campaign with STUDIO4℃ to make Red Ash -Magicicada-, an animated film that at 150k will be a short, but if they get to their 2.4 million final stretch goal, will be a full theatrical release.
Red Ash: The Indelible Legend is being developed by a completely separate team than the Mighty Number 9 team, who presumably are working on other projects (perhaps Recore) for those who aren’t needed on polishing up that game right now. Much of the team has done open world work before, as many of them are veterans of Mega Man Legends, the Mega Man open world game that Capcom refuses to do a third game in the series for. Like many big budget kickstarters, there is no lack of big names here, with Keiji Inafune being joined by art director Kazushi Ito and game director Masahiro Yasuma, both of whom were key parts to the Mega Man Legends team.
Despite trying out something new with the dual kickstarters, and breaking dirt with a new concept major budget kickstarter, there have been some big hurdles so far for Red Ash. They’ve only raised 355k of their goal in the first week, which for a big budget one that clearly was hoping to hit multiple stretch goals is slower than they would like I imagine. Comcept has the weight of some of the prior incidents with Mighty Number 9 working against them, something perhaps exasperated by the fact that they named two of their primary characters Beck and Call, calling the game to mind.
Perhaps a bigger issue is the misjudgment of their fans; Red Ash: The Indelible Legend it appears was originally going to be just a PC release after they experienced some of the difficulties with porting on Mighty Number 9. Many people, fans included, have been sharing their thoughts on it, saying they want a console version. The backdraft was in fact so strong that 4 days after launch they changed their stretch goals around to include console at 1 million and said that they still had to negotiate with the parent companies of the consoles so they couldn’t announce which console it would be on.
Despite the difficulties, it appears that Red Ash is a breathe of fresh air to the big budget kickstarters which are so often big names cashing in on franchises they made popular. That is good, as it’s nice to see them return in a new age, but kickstarter can be so much more than that. It can be the place where an idea like Red Ash: The Indelible Legend can show off a unique idea and get support even if publishers are shying away from a game that might be less safe.
What are your thoughts on kickstarted games in general? What about the idea of Red Ash?