Oh internet, you are such a strange place. After Sony helped announce the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter (and break the site as a result), people have since been speculating about Sony’s role in the game’s development. Things are getting clarified, but that doesn’t stop the raging.
Shenmue 3 was “only” asking for $2 million on Kickstarter. That took about a day to reach. The funds raised are now sitting at over $3.5 million and still climbing. However, it has since come out that to make the project exactly as the creators want, it will probably take closer to $10 million. Is Sony making up the difference? No, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not involved.
Co-producer Cedric Biscay took to twitter to clarify things a bit:
Sony is providing various supports, including marketing and investment, to YSNet. However, SONY is just one of many backers of #Shenmue3
— Cedric Biscay (@CedricBiscay) June 21, 2015
As it turns out, Sony is involved in the project from a marketing perspective, as well as paying for the PlayStation 4 port once the game is completed. So why aren’t they just coming out and funding the game? Well, according to Adam Boyes, that would mean a higher risk portfolio for Sony, resulting in negotiations with investors, potentially pushing the project back many more years in development.
This ties in with a new trend in Kickstarters. Many developers seem to be using it as a tool to prove to investors that there is an interest in a specific idea. Just look at the ridiculously popular Bloodstained Kickstarter. That raised a ton of money from enthusiastic backers, but that money isn’t the only source of funding for the project. Investors were interested to see if people would actually buy into the idea before they dished out millions of dollars. This way, the could see just how excited people were, and then help make the full project happen without being tied to the actual Kickstarter funding. Backers will still get their rewards, and they can still feel like they’re a part of helping a game happen, but it’s not a way to fund a complete game for these developers.
I might be in the minority, but I don’t mind how they’re using Kickstarter. It’s a great way to gauge interest. I have seen arguments that it skews how people understand normal indie development, that they don’t understand the costing involved, but I still think it’s a cool platform that should be used for anyone who wants to make a cool game, regardless of the support they’re getting behind the scenes.
Last Updated: June 23, 2015