Paranautical Activity Kickstarter Puts ‘All Our Cards on the Table’
For more on Paranautical Activity, check out our Indie Gems column on the game, complete with video.
Paranautical Activity stands on a precarious edge — its development might soon come to an end; its development could explode and add much more content to the game.
It all depends on the next few days and campaigns on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight.
The voxel-graphic first-person shooter, which combines elements of traditional rogue-likes with shooter mechanics of titles like Quake II, Doom or the recently released Rise of the Triad remake, has been languishing somewhat for the last two months. In June, developer Code Avarice expected their game to find its way to Steam, where it would find a huge audience and sales to make it financially viable — but Valve blocked the game because of its rules surrounding Steam Greenlight.
So in an attempt to raise more money for Paranautical Activity’s development, reinvigorate its abandoned Greenlight campaign, and drum up support and attention, Code Avarice has started a Kickstarter campaign. Its success or failure will have a profound effect on what happens to the game next.
“Ever since our Greenlight fiasco, it’s been hard to stay motivated,” said Mike Maulbeck, one half of Code Avarice, in an interview with Game Front. “We’ve been basically trying to figure out how to make Paranautical Activity not be a financial failure, and working on the game as much as we could stand to. Kickstarter became pretty much our only option, as it was the only way to generate ‘news.’ It was either Kickstarter, or release the game and hope that we could get some decent reviews to bring in Greenlight votes and sales. So we launched a Kickstarter and put all our cards on the table.”
Paranautical Activity’s woes began earlier this summer, when Code Avarice was preparing for the game to make its way to Steam with the help of publisher Adult Swim Games. Most games picked up by publishers like Adult Swim are “trusted” by Valve, and thus go straight to Steam with no additional vetting — but at sometime in the past, Code Avarice had created a Steam Greenlight campaign before it signed with the publisher.
Valve said it didn’t want developers signing with publishers in order to jump the Greenlight line, and refused to put PA on Steam without it getting approved through Greenlight. That was a major blow to Code Avarice, which had been banking on sales from Steam to shore up the costs of Paranautical Activity, and which was now stuck trying to revive a Greenlight campaign it hadn’t spent any time building. At the time, Maulbeck told Game Front a Kickstarter might be a way for Code Avarice to raise some money to work on PA, while also using the crowdfunding service as a means of casting a spotlight on the game.
It seems to be working. The Kickstarter campaign is relatively modest from a donations standpoint, and performing decently well. With 20 days to go, the campaign has reached $8,849 of its $10,000 funding goal, as of this writing. It even led to a 1,000-percent sales spike on Code Avarice’s official website, Maulbeck said.
The Kickstarter also is helping the Greenlight campaign.
“Greenlight has been going pretty well,” Maulbeck said. “The Kickstarter has been slowly moving us up in the charts, which is good because before that, we were actually sliding backwards. We’re at Number 14 now, which means if Valve greenlights another 15 games in two weeks, we’ve got a serious chance for the first time.”
Meanwhile, response to the Kickstarter also has generally been positive, he said.
“We got a lot of the expected bulls–t. ‘Why is this on Kickstarter,’ ‘F–k this, it’s a Minecraft clone,’ ‘Code Avarice are a–holes,’ et cetera,” Maulbeck said. “But most people have been really suportive, and we’ve had a lot of new people discover the game.”