Divinity: Original Sin developers reconsider Kickstarter

5 min read

Kick Start

A couple of weeks ago I told you how Larian Studios – the team behind Divinity: Original Sin, were hesitant to use Kickstarter again. Their reasoning was that they felt that they had found their success, and it would be wrong to fish in the same pool as other budding developers who could use their own much-needed funding. They may have changed their minds.

Before any conclusion jumping takes place, it’s not because the studio are in trouble or because they see it as an easy way to finance their next game. Rather, it’s thanks to something known as the ‘halo effect’ (no, not Master Chief). Swen Vincke, the founder and CEO of Larian Studios shared his thoughts over on his blog (via PC Gamer):

I said that Kickstarter might not be the right route for our future projects. I argued that it’s a limited pool and that it would be wrong for us to fish in it if our games are earning sufficient money for us to invest in our future projects.

I immediately received a few strong reactions, both publicly but also privately about how I got it all wrong, and that in fact I should steer Larian back to Kickstarter. The reasoning is that successful crowdfunding projects send more people to the crowdfunding scene and that benefits the smaller projects. This is referred to as the “halo effect” and one particular bright person compared it to “a restaurant sitting alone or on a block with many others. They all do better with more traffic”.

It’s an interesting concept, and I can understand it to a certain extent. The only problem is that some Kickstarter projects tend to fall off the map completely, discouraging backers to get involved in any other titles. The opposite could happen too. Backers of successful games may be encouraged to contribute to other projects.

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Vincke goes on to talk about a recent report which suggests that Kickstarter is in decline. This may not be the case though.

According to the article quoting the Ico report, half of the money in 2013 was brought in by the big names and the question is raised whether it’s really a case of waning popularity or just a gap in the schedule because all those big names are now busy delivering on their promises. And if the latter is the case, the question remains if this indeed negatively affects the smaller projects because less people are attracted to the crowd funding platforms.

I do tend to think that it was just a matter of the gap in the schedule. The Internet is a strange and sometimes wonderful place. Let’s not forget that a potato salad Kickstarter raised $55 492 when it had a measly $10 goal. There are clearly people out there with some money to burn, so I don’t think the smaller developers should be worried – at least not if they plan on making a proper game and meeting their promises.

Vincke has definitely seen Kickstarter in a new light, he has changed his mind:

So, if it indeed is the case that a return to crowd funding by past success stories helps boost the scene then I’m all pro. Only fools and dead men don’t change their minds.

Regardless of what path Larian Studios takes, I think we can expect big things from them in future. I’m more and more inclined to check out Divinity: Original Sin each day. I’ve honestly heard nothing but praise for the game.

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Last Updated: October 6, 2014

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Kickstarter games are no different from any others – a bunch of indie hipster twaddle that for the most part isn’t very interesting, and so they don’t get funded unless they have a small budget because they’re dull. If they want to be funded they need to stand out, do something interesting or different, and MARKET it. You had a few indies whining about how established devs like Larian shouldn’t use Kickstarter because it took money away from them, somehow. There were a few big projects funded in a shortish time with Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Torment, Star Citizen, etc – they raised the average overall.

    • Hammersteyn
      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        What is that growing on his face? :/

        • JJ of Meridian

          It’s not growing. It’s nesting.

          • Admiral Chief 0


        • Hammersteyn

          Apparently he was mugged one night, they didn’t take anything but he did find a razor they left in his pocket.

    • JJ of Meridian

      Did Rince not give you enough attention the weekend and now you feel like lashing out at everyone?
      But yes. I agree.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I need positive reinforcement, or else 🙁

        • JJ of Meridian

          You can do it Trevor! No one can lash out like you!

        • Shame man, here you go.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Is it a cookie? *refreshes*

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Oh, well that was disappointing. I really wanted a cookie. You’ve failed me again @rincethis:disqus

      • Maybe he’s making up for OvG’s absence?

        • JJ of Meridian

          Oh, but OVG is always watching. Don’t be fooled.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          If I was I’d use more caps & waffle endlessly about TLOU.

    • Viking Of Divinity

      And of those “Big” projects, all of them are fringe genres, something the indies wouldn’t attempt. and the “indie” market wouldn’t be interested in. I for exmaple, love my cRPG’s, but there a frightfully few “Indie” games I enjoy. (disclaimer: As far as I’m concerned, there IS a difference between an INDEPENDANT game, and an INDIE game. for the full discussion, go look on my blog, in the future, because i’m lazy.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        True, and that big publishers didn’t want to touch because they’re “dead”. Clearly cRPGs aren’t dead, they’re just not multi-million dollar AAA blockbusters. Space sims are dead too, just don’t tell Star Citizen or Elite Dangerous. Agree on the distinction too.

        TL;DR in advance for your blog 😉

  • Well, didn’t they make a pretty big pile of D:OS?

    You’d think they could use a portion of that to reinvest in future titles.

  • Viking Of Divinity

    Divinity: Original Sin Is deserving of all the praise it’s been getting. I only completed the first Story quest at the 15 hour mark, not because I got stuck, but because there’s so much content.

  • Wyzak

    Some games end up being complete flops, even when developed the traditional method, does that put us off of gaming or does that put us off of bad-games?

    The same goes for kickstarter. Just because some people are scam artists and others can’t do project management at all, doesn’t mean that kickstarter is the problem.

    If it wasn’t for kickstarter I wouldn’t be able to play wasteland 2 or 7 days to die now. Both games I am really loving atm.

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