Whereas a lot of game developer turns to Kickstarter to help their projects become a reality, Borealys Games is hoping that crowdfunding can help its game reach the finish line in better shape than it otherwise would.
Borealys is at work on Mages of Mystralia, which I recently got to play at PAX East and walked away very impressed with. Think of it as a Zelda-style game in which the core mechanic is a spell-crafting system with a huge range of possibilities. (You can see some of the wild spells you can create in the video above.) It also boasts a story from Ed Greenwood, who created the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms world, and a soundtrack by Shota Nakama, who worked on Final Fantasy XV‘s score.
Mystralia is nearing its completion and is due out the second quarter (which runs from April through June). Today, Borealys launched a Kickstarter campaign for a fairly modest amount: $25,000 CAD, or $18,787 in the US. One of its goals is to facilitate a beta that will be used to improve the game and iron out any lingering issues. As business manager Dan Adelman told GameSpot at PAX East, the type of game-breaking spells Borealys wants to stomp out are those that prevent the game from being played, not those that allow you to one-hit kill a boss.
“If someone can come up with a spell that can do that–like, they think it through and they figured out how to do that, then more power to them,” Adelman explained. “But that’s why we’re doing a lot of beta testing. Since there are potentially millions of spells you can make, we want to see if there is something that’s really game-breaking. Being able to one-shot kill a boss isn’t really game-breaking if they thought it through. That’s kind of the game: can I outsmart the game? But if by doing a spell, you can bypass an entire area [where] you needed this thing and you didn’t realize that, that wouldn’t be fun.”
The Kickstarter campaign will also feature stretch goals to add new features to the game, though the first of these won’t be revealed until tomorrow, March 17. The studio said it has new game modes it intends to implement post-launch but that the Kickstarter could help to get them released more quickly.
“Recently, there have been several Kickstarter campaigns that have raised an amount of funding to prove that the concept is viable, but then seek publisher or outside investor support for what they really need,” Borealys explained in the Kickstarter. “We are taking the opposite approach. We built our proof-of-concept, got investment, and made our game. It is fully playable beginning to end, and many would consider it complete.
“But as we’ve observed our playtesters and gotten feedback, we’ve generated a ton of ideas that would not take too long to implement but have the power to take this game to the next level. Adding all of those little tweaks and extra polish will only add a couple months to our schedule, so for a relatively modest sum, we can have a huge impact.”
Borealys isn’t the first developer to take this approach with Kickstarter–Subset Games did something similar with FTL toward the end of its development.
The low-end for Kickstarter tiers comes in at about $19, which gets you beta access and a copy of the game for PC, PS4, or Xbox One. However, the beta–which launches immediately after the campaign wraps up–will be PC-only.
After launching earlier today, the Kickstarter has raised just over $4,000 USD of its goal as of this writing. It runs for the next month, ending on April 15.
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