In the end, Chaos Reborn was Kickstarted, and comfortably. But nobody would have bet their highest-ranking XCOM soldier on it a couple of days before. Even after the public endorsement of Ken Levine, a date with TotalBiscuit and a high-profile slot on noted videogames website PCGamesN, Gollop wasn’t convinced he’d hit his modest goal.
The reason? Kickstarter isn’t the goodwill factory it was when Double Fine Adventure was funded.
“Your goal has to be quite low or you're not going to reach it,” says Gollop.
“I had done a lot of work on PR and promoting the game: on my blog, on Twitter, I got journalists looking at the game so I had coverage in print and online,” Gollop told the crowd at Polish conference Digital Dragons.
“For me that was an easier process than for most because of my history and people were interested in what I was doing anyway, but still, it was a lot of work. I even delayed the Kickstarter [twice] all because I didn't think the PR was sufficient yet.
“If you’re going the crowdfunding route, you have to do your PR and promotion consistently for months before you even start.”
Even then, nothing is guaranteed. Gollop told GamesIndustry that without his reputation as the creator of X-Com, Chaos Reborn would likely have never reached its target.
“It would have been ten times tougher, for sure. Much, much tougher. Crowdfunding is very difficult, and much more difficult now that it was even a year ago. That’s the reality,” he said.
“You need to look at the games that are doing well on Kickstarter and figure out why, and your goal has to be quite low or you’re not going to reach it.”
Gollop believes Chaos Reborn would’ve made “a lot more” if its Kickstarter had launched alongside Wasteland 2 et al.
“Many people have told me that,” he said. “Brian Fargo told me this, Chris Roberts told me this. They said, ‘It’s not going to be as easy as it was,’ and that’s true.”
Maybe the golden age is over. But I’m quite happy to settle for this world where a warier audience relinquishes its cash for only the very finest projects. Are you?