Game development is not a quick process. Conception, design, execution, they all take vast amounts of time and money. Of course these days there are more options open to people between the range of engines out there to encourage hobbyists and professionals to try them out and alternative funding methods like Fig and Kickstarter.
So while sometimes people can get their hands on the tools and the funds easier, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire process of making an MMO is faster, just run slightly differently. With that in mind, let's look back over some of the Kickstarter funded MMOs that have caught our eyes in recent years and ask, where are they now?
Chronicles of Elyria
Project launched: May 3rd, 2016
10,752 backers pledged $1,361,435.
Still in Development.
Chronicles of Elyria hopes to fashion a world for you to be in. Taking the best, as they see it, of sandbox and theme park MMOs they have tried to coin a Multiplayer Evolving Online World or MEOW. Certainly, the approach to aging and joining families is a unique take on characters and progression. Happily, they’re still hard at work on things and pledge packages are available through their website which themselves are also tied to more in-game rewards for people. The draw with their tailored story engine here is very strong for me at least and it certainly is a game worth keeping an eye on if you ever wanted to get out of the theme park grind and spend some time following a new destiny. The projected release date is in the second half of 2019.
Ashes of Creation
Project launched: May 1st, 2017
19,576 backers pledged $3,271,809.
Still in Development.
Ashes of Creation is a fantasy sandbox that is touting a new take on the approach. They are designing the world structure to be dynamic and building it to react to the actions of players. As they have said, cities will rise and fall, their populations based on the history of the world as the players create it. Certainly, the idea of helping mold a world is attractive, and work is continuing apace on both PvE and PvP as Chris Hughes reported in March. If you have a large amount of money burning a hole in your pocket, the $500 Intrepid Pre-Order pack is available and will get you into both Alpha builds of the game, the Beta still being a little ways off.
Project launched: October 31st, 2017 (Of course)
884 backers pledged $80,414.
Still in Development.
Shadow’s Kiss is the first of two on our list trying to fund ongoing development through Patreon. Ever since CCP passed up on going ahead with the World of Darkness MMO, night dwellers and gothically inclined types have been devoid of dark modern fantasy MMO options. Vampires wouldn’t cope well in the bright shiny world of Secret World Legends after all….well Agartha at least. The goals for Shadow’s Kiss were considerably more modest than the rest of this list. Not every MMO needs the bells and whistles Blizzard-level of polish, but the rougher work here may be off-putting for some potential fans. Only time will tell if it does claw its way out of the grave and lurches into unlife for us all to try our hand at some neck biting.
Project launched: December 10th 2013
3,900 backers pledged $268,875.
Still in a lot of Development.
Novus AEterno is an odd duck on this list. It’s been kicking around for more than four years and also has undergone a name change to Hades 9. It’s the second on the list here to turn to Patreon to fund ongoing development though pledge packages and store bonds are available through their website. Originally billed as a sci-fi MMORTS I remember seeing it in action in an early form way back in 2012 at Gamescom. Since then it appears to still be a labor of love but not one that appears to be coming out any time soon. Perhaps showing an indie core more than anything else on this list, you can also apply to help build the game no matter your skill level. That if nothing else is a unique approach to fan engagement.
Project launched: July 25th, 2015
1,318 backers pledged $74,781
Still in Development
Project: Gorgon is being brought to you by Elder Game Studios which rather nicely is led by husband and wife duo Eric Heimburg and Sandra Powers. Available now via Steam Early Access and a small amount of cash this is ready for you to jump into and experience, though with the normal caveats of an Early Access game. The team at Elder Game Studios certainly hopes to put together a different feeling game letting you pursue skills entirely at your own choosing and thus how you interact with the world. How well that works or how complex it turns out to be depends on how much you crave the ability to use psychology on bad guys or turn into a… werecow?
Project launched: February 24th, 2015
16,936 backers pledged $1,766,204
Still in Development
While Crowfall started with a nice chunk of change from Kickstarter, ongoing funding and pack purchases have helped them earn over $20 million. In fact, if you want to throw another $50 in the pot you can get your hands on the Pioneer Starter Pack and get your copy of Crowfall with a month of VIP access and immediate access to the 24x7 LIVE pre-alpha testing environment. Is that worth it? Well, you’ll get to play a burrowing sneaky dashing Guinecean. That’s worth an awful lot to me. They’re too adorable to win against so please look the other way while I ambush you. Crowfall is certainly a game that has flourished under the crowdfunding approach and the “new” way to interact with fans and backers. How well the throne war aspect of Crowfall works, in the end, depends on how many of us all rush in to get to grips with the game when it finally goes live. For now, though, everything looks to be going its way.
Project launched: October 18th, 2012
34,397 backers pledged $2,134,374
In Development Until The End Of Time
Star Citizen, you knew it was going to be on the list. According to their website, they have earned $185,689,880. According to Polygon earlier this year Star Citizen raised more money than every other video game on Kickstarter combined in 2017 and that’s for the second year in a row. Star Citizen doesn’t just have enough money to make an MMO, it has enough money to buy several islands, install Chris Roberts as Dictator for Life and make a genuine start on a navy. It continues to gain funds despite the occasional lawsuit or controversy that comes its way. How? Who knows? Will it ever come out? Who knows? All we can do is keep an open mind, though some clearly are keeping open wallets. Whatever ultimately happens with the game, there will be no mistaking its impact on the crowdfunding sphere or denying its fallout should it stumble at the last.
Don’t be surprised if all the RSI staff do go with the buy an island/get a navy route to fend off annoyed fans. Nearly six years on, that’s probably more likely than the game launching.
So there are seven random Kickstarter MMOs picked. All of them are still working on coming out in one way or another. Of course, there will be games that strived and failed. Games that never made funding or games that just couldn’t get over development. Why not share the ones you are most looking forward to or miss dearly?