This is about two things. Kickstarter and Day Z. But it’s not really about them, it’s about the emergent culture that has appeared and these two are the most obvious indications that the culture exists.
Kickstarter is a natural progression. Just like we saw with Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, folk who have become immensely successful using the traditional markets are able to pivot this success into the new non traditional marketplace. With the musicians I mention, they were able to sell their music directly. With Kickstarter projects, it’s all about pre-orders. Essentially the same. People tired of formula productions and so we see non-formula productions. Albums a traditional record label may not have published. Games a large publisher would have modified. Because of the faith of a few, many will get to see what the artist wanted to create.
Day Z still fascinates me because it’s a situation rather than a story. Ordinarily this should have writers of game backgrounds shaking in their boots – but this game is describing something new. A game which is borne of games. It’s not a toy or a puzzle. It’s not a grinding engine or a jury-rigged television or movie plot. It’s a sandbox: it has limits but within those limits you can do anything you want. It bears more homage to childhood games of Cops’n’Robbers than to the hyper-violent activities in Modern Warfare. I’ve not logged in for days and when I do I know I’ll be starving. And death just that one step closer. And death, as we know, is permanent.
It’s fair to say that my own thoughts for Conquest Dynamics are changing. And why not. I doubt I’ll ever go the Kickstarter route (I just don’t have the résumé – despite publishing The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO and Zombi a decade ago.). But I feel like any game designer can learn from what is happening now. Change is happening right now and it’s both exciting and unsettling.