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How Crowd-Funding Let Yokai Die

(Brian Rowe is a new member of the team here at NHS. Brian has worked with us for years at GameShark and he’s going to be talking about industry stuff as well as more of the indie scene. Brian is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet…so we’re still not sure how he’s going to exactly fit in here..but we’ll make it work.)


2Bad Company seemed to be on the right track for success. The indie duo from Portugal wasn’t overloading anyone’s radar, but Yokai – their first game in development – had an enticing art-style, solid gameplay, and a pleasing little trailer (above). They blogged, tweeted, made videos, created demos, and yet, almost no one paid 2Bad Company any mind.

The result: failed crowd-funding attempts on IndieGoGo  and Playism, a rejection from IndieFund regarding a second game, and now…

“The future of 2Bad Company is uncertain, let’s just hope it’s not the end.”


By no means am I wagging my finger at the good people of the gaming community. This is the sad route that some projects take. Sometimes it’s easy to see why a game spreads through the the press faster than bird-flu in a wildfire, and subsequently becomes a crowd-funding poster-child, as in the case of Against the Wall:

YouTube video

And then there are successfully funded games like Pissed Off Penguins and Cafe Murder that inspire complete bewilderment. I don’t like being mean (maybe a little), but why people are willing to pay for something that amounts to a learning project is beyond me. In the latter case, the average donation was over $100.

Perhaps it’s time I reinstalled FlashPunk and changed careers.

From a development standpoint, there are two benefits to crowd-funding that are not often mentioned; lower barriers to entry, and the ability to bypass the press. You can make a bad game, and hop right on the train (or ship) without repercussions.

I won’t say much about this next trailer, but, after so many years in this business, you gain a sort of extra-sensory ability to look beyond the ‘cool’ snippets and cuts of trailers and see games for what they really are. I am not enthused.

YouTube video

The overarching point is that, had Muse Games relied on traditional sales models along with reviews and previews, a few people may have been out of jobs last year. Sure, you could say that crowd-funding offers people second chances at success, or even their first chances, but you could also argue that some people weren’t ready for that chance in the first place.

Was 2Bad Company ready? I don’t know. I didn’t try the demo. Actually, I’ve never contributed to a single crowd-funded project. In other words, I’m one of the people who let Yokai die.

Now that I’ve flamboyantly dismounted face-first from my high horse, what are your thoughts on crowd-funding? If you participated, how did you judge which projects were worthy of your money?