Campo Santo reveal first trailer for Firewatch at PAX

Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition announced by Beamdog at PAX 2014

Rockstar is updating Grand Theft Auto V’s soundtrack for PC release

Monaco developer Adam Schatz "stretch goals are total bullshit"

In a great interview over on Penny Arcade, Adam Schatz, the developer of the excellent looking top-down heist game Monaco, has related his thoughts on crowd-funding, Kickstarter in particular. Among other things he describes stretch goals as "bullshit". Does a pretty convincing job of it, too.

The kernel of his argument is that stretch goals, where a developer agrees to include new features with a game if they reach a certain funding target (new characters, vehicles, six more graphics, etc), forms a kind of additive design mentality. Suggesting that game design is about developing a basic game and then slotting in features. He says that "the way you should do it is you figure out what the game is, you figure out what the game needs, and you should make that.” He concedes there are other design methodologies but that's his core point.

It's an interesting argument. Certainly, games like Super Hexagon would lose something with addition. It's a perfectly honed game, one which gains from being so lean. Had backers (it wasn't a Kickstarter game, but if it where, hypothetically) asked for more levels, custom soundtracks, in-game speed options, well, it would have lost something.

"To me, you should decide if the game is incomplete without those features" Schatz says. "If the game is missing a finger, add a finger, if the game is not missing a finger, don’t add one. That’s sort of my take on Kickstarters."

Stretch goals bloat games.

This all said, and taking Schatz's concession into account, perhaps a way of looking at stretch goals is fast-tracking expansions/DLC. Publishers commission expansions for games which have proven their success. Stretch goals are a way of commissioning new features for Kickstarters that have proven their success. It's rolling the post-release stage of a game's sales into its development. Now, I don't think this is necessarily a good thing - as Schatz makes clear, it can muddle the vision of the the core game - but it does give us an appropriate model to view it with.

The main issue with stretch goals when compared to expansions is that expansions are released for successful games, more importantly  for released games. Money is never a good indicator of quality but sales are at least a sometime-symptom of it and retail success coupled with investors who can play the game they're commissioning to be expanded can at least deem the worth of the game for themselves, and sense whether there is a need for the features that are being proposed. The material with which the pledgers decide to commission, because they are commissioning, is often not going to be demonstrative of the quality of the final game.

It could be that backers throwing more money, more development time, and more features at a game that will not benefit from it in the slightest.,

Login or Register
Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
The Journey Down: Chapter Two review

The Journey Down: Chapter Two

The Journey Down: Chapter Two review

Campo Santo reveal first trailer for Firewatch at PAX

Campo Santo reveal first trailer for Firewatch at PAX

Facepunch Studios announce Arcade: want to

Facepunch Studios announce Arcade: want to "let players design their own arcades"

Maia 0.44 ramps up the danger with catastrophic earthquakes and suspicious aliens

Maia 0.44 ramps up the danger with catastrophic earthquakes and suspicious aliens

Prison Architect alpha 24 turns prisoners into snitches

Prison Architect alpha 24 turns prisoners into snitches

Not going to PAX Prime? There are bundles for that

Not going to PAX Prime? There are bundles for that

How the indie community united to save survival game Duskers, a studio, and a dream

Duskers

How the indie community united to save survival game Duskers, a studio, and a dream

S.W.A.P is a first-person shooter with body-swapping and no guns

S.W.A.P is a first-person shooter with body-swapping and no guns

StarCrawlers makes dungeons out of spaceships

StarCrawlers makes dungeons out of spaceships

Titan Souls trailer shows off delicious, demanding gameplay

Titan Souls trailer shows off delicious, demanding gameplay

Heat Signature: surviving in space for as long as you can

Heat Signature

Heat Signature: surviving in space for as long as you can

Screencheat is a game that encourages you to be

Screencheat is a game that encourages you to be "that friend" who, well, screen cheats

Belle of the brawl: Cannon Brawl launches in September

Belle of the brawl: Cannon Brawl launches in September

Script Kiddies: PvP hacking with a hint of tower defence

Script Kiddies: PvP hacking with a hint of tower defence

Renowned Explorers: International Society trailer sets the scene for globetrotting and artifact theft

Renowned Explorers: International Society trailer sets the scene for globetrotting and artifact theft

Gamescom 2014: The Indie Games Roundup

Verdun

Gamescom 2014: The Indie Games Roundup

Puppygames co-founder: customers

Puppygames co-founder: customers "are worthless to us"

Kholat is a horror game inspired by a 55-year-old mystery

Kholat is a horror game inspired by a 55-year-old mystery

Enemy Starfighter will be at the PAX Indie Megabooth, so let's watch a lovely trailer

Enemy Starfighter will be at the PAX Indie Megabooth, so let's watch a lovely trailer

No Man's Sky won't be infinite, but it might as well be

No Man's Sky won't be infinite, but it might as well be

Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition pits surgeons against teeth and eyeballs

Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition pits surgeons against teeth and eyeballs