Will beauty be enough?
Pacific Rim falls squarely in the mindless pleasure category for me. It’s beautiful to watch, fun to watch along with, and a surprising amount of lore if you’re interested. Guillermo del Toro seem to have a knack for these kinds of films, and the imminent release of Pacific Rim: Uprising has fans excited. It’s this excitement that I think the skirmish game Pacific Rim: Extinction is looking to tap into.
Normally I would be giving a little insight into why I am excited or interested in a project. Instead, Pacific Rim: Extinction is a great example of Kickstarters I am very wary of, turning this into a case study of caution. Just to be clear I am not trying to warn anyone against backing the project. I am just pointing out the things that make me hesitant to back the project myself.
First off the good points – THOSE MINIS. No one can say this isn’t going to be a beautiful experience. Not only do the miniatures come pre-painted, but they stand more than double the normal height of most skirmish minis.
Visually they all look amazing, and at the end of the article, I have a gallery of all the add-on miniatures for your viewing pleasure as well.
Then we get into the card art. They do remind me of the screens and outputs of the films, so thematically they seem to fit and again the illustrations are great.
On the Kickstarter page itself is a section for Videos including an interview with River Horse on Pacific Rim: Extinction. Everything looks on the up and up.
That’s the hype working overtime, and everything looks great and I want to buy all of the things. But where is the video on the actual gameplay itself? The project mentions that the rules and all are complete and playtested for the best turnaround time. So where are the rules? What is the actual game I am being asked to invest in?
Without seeing actual gameplay or at least the ruleset, we are being asked to invest a not insignificant amount of money on shiny. And it is great shiny! I would be tempted to buy the game simply to set up a diorama of a Jaeger battle in my house. Without being given any information on the game proper, this is a classic example of a gamble Kickstarter project.
There is also the legalise at the bottom of the project that gives me pause. The Risks and Challenges sections at the bottom of most Kickstarters are good, but including a Terms and Conditions (especially this wording) seems very heavy handed. Screen capture of the Terms and Conditions are here:
The first paragraph is the most concerning to me. Prototypes are prototypes, and Kickstarter regulars are used to rules revisions and refinements after a campaign changes. But when the only true information being given is a visual representation of the miniatures, this almost says ‘custom painted miniatures displayed, yours will look different and probably worse because you have to agree to it’.
Now I don’t expect the final included play pieces to look like the ones included – you put your best pieces on display to show off your product. I would expect a lower level of detail on the paint job in the final product, but I have backed a lot of Kickstarters and have experience in manufacturing as well. This legal speak could be at the insistence of the Legendary Films Legal Department, but it still doesn’t feel right to me.
Without showing even the prototypes and rules in a ‘real game’ environment, this starts to come across as a product that the people involved don’t have full belief or support in.
Now this will probably be confusing, as yesterday I literally posted “I know nothing of this game, but I’m excited!”. There is a big difference though. I am not being asked to hand over up to £65 plus shipping on a promise that something good will be created – I just need to wait and see. Unless something happens at the last minute, Magic: The Gathering: Heroes of Dominaria will be published. If you don’t think WizKids will pull a game, try to find news on Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol to see what I mean.
Pacific Rim: Extinction has met its funding goal, so really I just need to wait and see. I understand that no Kickstarter benefits and possible availability issues are the cost of waiting, but at the moment it also puts me approximately AUD$350 better off if it’s a so-so game.
Check out the Pacific Rim: Extinction Kickstarter page, and see what you think of the project overall. I would love to hear how you look at the project overall.
Now that I have said what I think some crowdfunding projects do wrong, see what Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce does right. The project is still going on Kickstarter and is around 2/3rds of the way to their funding goal.
Rules up from the beginning, actual gameplay videos and prototype kits handed out and on display from the start of the project and community involvement with a great deal of transparency.
Until next time,