Every now and again, I find myself perusing the various Kickstarter projects in need of funding. Though I’ve looked at and even backed a few non gaming projects, videogames are the types of Kickstarters I am partial to. Even if most of those projects still have me waiting (games like Wasteland 2, Planetary Annihilation, and The Banner Saga), my interests in new games through Kickstarter have yet to wane.
So without further adieu, here is the latest gaming Kickstarter that I’ve thrown some money behind:
Project Awakened is a new title from game developer Phosphor Games. They have two completed projects under their name as a studio, Dark Meadow and Horn, both for Android and iOS. Project Awakened originally started as a title under Midway-Chicago until they went under. Many members of that team moved on to form Phosphor Games as an independent studio, but their love of the ideas for that original project never faded. Now that we all live in a world where crowd-funding through Kickstarter is a great way to get the funding for off-the-wall game titles, Phosphor is ready to create a superhero sandbox action game with our help.
This Kickstarter caught my eye for a number of reasons:
First, I had actually heard of Phosphor Games before. When I received my Nexus 7 back in July, Dark Meadow was one of the first titles I downloaded off Google Play. While it did keep my interest for a while and really impressed me with its Tegra 3 visuals and art direction, I never got too into it. Their other game, Horn, was one I’ve looked at several times, but have yet to bite on its price tag.
More than what I have seen Phosphor do already, I want to see what they can do with a bigger budget on a better gaming machine (my own PC) and with the type of game I always want to play: action sandbox. When you throw in the superhero motif and promises of incredible superpowers and extensive visual customization for your character, you get my attention even quicker.
While we have seen more sandbox games lately (even some that have definite superhero-like elements to them), I am excited to see one developed ground up as a PC title. Phosphor has the willingness to give us an open game with Project Awakened that can be modified and changed by a PC modding community. As long as the base is sound and there is charm and passion in the game, I think this type of gaming tool set could really become a huge hit just for the modability alone. I am always happy to see developers embrace the strengths of PC gaming, rather than trap themselves in thinking the weaknesses of console gaming are some sort of natural law for all games.
Even beyond that, it is nice to see a company make a game like this with some serious attention to building your own unique character. RPGs have allowed for it for years, but other games typically shy away from allowing you any true freedoms. Even open-ended action games that are more sandbox than their more linear brother and sister titles typically force you to play a single character. Often, that character’s powers are still flexible, but rarely can you really customize the look and make something that feels like your own unique creation. The character creator for a game like City of Heroes or even Champions Online was a huge part of enjoying the game and often felt like a thing to do unto itself.
Project Awakened will be a big title with a lot of potential issues. It is never easy to balance something so big and so open. It is also difficult to get in enough art assets to deliver on both a large, open-world feel but also on having a seemingly unlimited amount of ways to customize your character’s looks and powers. I am not happy with multiplayer as a stretch goal since I feel like that might be a waste of focus for something already so large.
Then again, this is not a new project. While it is a restart from the original project many of the people at Phosphor Games started while at Midway, many of those ideas are supposed to be carrying over. This is also a game that they’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. This one of the types of Kickstarter projects I really like to see – the type where its a dream that has not been actively pursued yet, but was never left out of sight and mind.
If you are ready to join me or you just want to know more, you can visit the Project Awakened Kickstarter page. If you are still hesitant after that, I am expecting to have an interview with a member of Phosphor Games up next week. Stay tuned to see if we can change your heart and mind.