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Kickstarter is a fickle beast. While it isn’t exactly rare to see games that are successfully crowdfunded 5 Awesome Kickstarter Funded Games That Actually Released in 2013 5 Awesome Kickstarter Funded Games That Actually Released in 2013 Some small projects have made their way into player’s hands, and proven that crowdfunded games can be a hit. Read More , it’s still impossible to predict which ones will succeed and which will fail. It can be understandably annoying when a crappy Kickstarter succeeds, but it’s way worse when a great Kickstarter idea fails.

Which interesting games would be on the market today had their Kickstarter campaigns gone a different way? Here are a few of them.

Antharion

By Orphic Software

Raised $13,810 out of $15,000 by 456 backers

Genre: Turn-Based RPG

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Veteran gamers are always clamoring for reminders of the past, and RPG veterans are the most zealous of the lot. It seemed like any game that claims to draw inspiration from classics like Baldur’s Gate, Ultima, and old-school The Elder Scrolls would instantly win the support of a million RPG fans, so it’s a bit curious why Antharion failed.

This project promised a wide range of features like an open world, party-based characters, turn-based combat, meaningful decisions, and smart AI – the kind of stuff that would’ve fit right into an old-school PC RPG Old School PC RPGs Are Coming Back And These 4 Games Lead The Charge Old School PC RPGs Are Coming Back And These 4 Games Lead The Charge A number of developers are making games that will remind you of everything you loved about the classics, but with modern presentation and design ideas that can pique the interest of a new generation. Read More . Perhaps the Kickstarter campaign wouldn’t have failed if they’d gone with a different art style?

Having reached 92% of its goal, it would be more appropriate to say that Antharion “failed to seal the deal” rather than “failed outright.” They were close, but they still walked away with nothing, so they certainly didn’t succeed. Such a shame, too, because the game could’ve been quite interesting.

Dead Man’s Draw

By Stardock Entertainment

Raised $13,348 out of $16,500 by 431 backers

Genre: Card Game

Dead Man’s Draw started off as an iOS game (it’s free and you can play it right now if you’d like) and Stardock Entertainment had no intention of creating a physical game. Indeed, they aren’t in the business of tabletop games, but the prototyping process for Dead Man’s Draw did involve physical cards.

Lo and behold, it turned out that this card game was just as fun in real life as it was on mobile devices. So, Stardock Entertainment began the Kickstarter as a way to produce physical copies of the game for any fans who wanted to play it that way. Unfortunately, they only made it 81% of the way to their goal and dropped the idea.

Pixel Soccer

By Super Rock Games

Raised £7,723 out of £25,000 by 338 backers

Genre: 8-bit Sports Game

It’s not every day that you see an indie sports game, and Pixel Soccer is all of that and so much more. Or at least it would’ve been if it was able to achieve the funding it needed to make dreams into reality. Take a FIFA game and throw it back with stylized 8-bit graphics (that seems to be the indie trend) and you’ve got Pixel Soccer.

The great thing about this game is that it was already playable as local human-vs.-human or human-vs.-AI by the time its Kickstarter rolled around and all of the basic soccer mechanics were implemented. With the intended additions of a weather system, match system, various game modes, and custom player editor, there was a lot of promise.

It’s too bad that it was never finished. Pixel Soccer could have been a refreshing break from the usual indie fare of infinite runners Fun and Frantic: 5 Free Infinite Runner Games For Mobile Devices Fun and Frantic: 5 Free Infinite Runner Games For Mobile Devices Forget Flappy Bird and give these infinite runners a try instead. Read More , Flappy Bird clones 3 Flappy Bird Clones for Android That Are Actually Great 3 Flappy Bird Clones for Android That Are Actually Great The problem with Flappy Bird clones is that there are just so many of them, and most of them are plain terrible. Read More , and mobile puzzle games Quell: The Most Relaxing Free Puzzle Game for Mobile Devices [Android, iOS] Quell: The Most Relaxing Free Puzzle Game for Mobile Devices [Android, iOS] There are many Android games that deserve praise, many of which are logic-based puzzle games like Move the Box and Unblock Me, although there are a few action games like Death Worm to seal the... Read More .

FranknJohn

By bitSmith Games

Raised £13,346 out of £30,000 by 545 backers

Genre: Procedural Top-Down Action

In the game, you play as a character whose head is connected to his body by a chain and you defeat enemies by swinging your head around while navigating a procedurally-generated world. It was right at home with other roguelikes that have seen success, e.g., The Binding of Isaac, FTL, and Spelunky Spelunky Offers a New Adventure Every Time You Play Spelunky Offers a New Adventure Every Time You Play Spelunky, by developer Mossmouth, is one of those games that you can return to everyday for an exciting adventure. Read More .

But even though FranknJohn had all of the necessary elements for a breakout hit – stylish graphics, humorous theme, and tons of dynamic gameplay – it didn’t even make it to the 50% mark. And that was after garnering critical support from big name gaming websites like Giantbomb, Eurogamer, and Destructoid. Ouch.

Fuzzy Slaughter

By Triptych Games

Raised $3,959 out of $50,000 by 137 backers

Genre: Cooperative Beat-Em-Up

In Fuzzy Slaughter, up to four players could play as a cast of cute and fuzzy animals who are being held captive by PITA, a sandwich company that has unlocked the secret to delicious food: the cuter the animal, the tastier the meat. In true beat-em-up fashion, you must break out the PITA facility and win your freedom.

The developers behind Fuzzy Slaughter had quite the track record: Team Triptych worked on expansions for Borderlands 2 while game designer Allen Blum co-created Duke Nukem. Despite their combined development history, they only managed to raise 8% of their goal. How’s that for unexpected?

Nevermind

By Erin Reynolds

Raised $129,615 out of $250,000 by 2,466 backers

Genre: Biofeedback Horror Adventure

If there was one game deserving of a successful Kickstarter, it would be Nevermind. True horror games 4 Video Games That Will Actually Terrify You [MUO Gaming] 4 Video Games That Will Actually Terrify You [MUO Gaming] Video games are able to capture much of the emotion and feeling that comes with movies and other forms of entertainment. That being said, video games always seem to struggle with making people laugh and... Read More are hard to find these days, but Nevermind takes the genre and pushes it forward by several factors – or at least it might’ve if it had secured enough funding.

What’s so good about it? Well, it uses a heartrate monitor to gauge your level of fright during play, then makes the game scarier when it detects that you’re frightened. The goal is to learn how to manage your fears and stay calm in the face of overwhelming stress. Innovative, wouldn’t you say?

The silver lining in all of this is that the Nevermind team recently partnered with Intel, so it’s possible that this game may actually be released sometime in the future!

Have you ever backed a Kickstarter game that failed? Which ones? Would you have backed these games if you knew about them? Is Kickstarter a valid way to fund game production? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

  1. KT
    September 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Lots of people clamored for Hogs of War 2 (myself included) but it never got off the ground.

  2. robgonzo
    September 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Storyscape was the one I really wanted to see succeed and didn't. Such an awesome idea.

  3. Greg
    September 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I'm pretty sure they put Antharion back up on Kickstarter a couple of months after the failed attempt and it got funded on the second attempt. I don't think the game has been release as of yet though.

    • Joel L
      September 10, 2014 at 1:13 am

      I just checked and apparently you're right! Can't believe I missed that. Thanks for making note of that. :)

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