This fad of "Founder's Packs" and Paying for Early Access or Beta Access
*Sigh* "Founder's Packs", like "Early Access", cause me to inwardly ask, "Have people gone insane?!"
Honestly. You know what, though, I get it... if you have a gambling addiction or can afford to piss away money on risky investments that may never see a return - Founder's Packs and Early Access are right for you.
Otherwise, what is with the fad of paying a bunch of strangers to *hopefully* finish a project to your expectations while you also *pay them* for the privilege of helping with QA? If you saw the post on the Noble Valerian page, you understand how I feel about the way experiencing a game before it's ready can leave a bad taste in your mouth or kill the excitement before the game ever launches.
Look, devs, I don't want an in-game flag to mark that I supported you. I want that kick ass 8ft tall oak and iron rod sporting a premium printed, archival quality, outdoor rated fabric flag so I can plant that shit in my yard. My back yard, but still, that feels like a reasonable way to spend $60+.
And of course, you can really twist my little peeve into a raging knot when your pack rewards give players who pay more money an in-game advantage over other players. For that reason, I wouldn't play your game if you were giving it away. I don't want anything to do with you.
There are exceptions to every rule. Generally though, if you're asking for money to play your unfinished game, it tells me that you suck as a company and I should stay away. Asking me to shell out cash that you inevitably have to waste a portion on to pay someone (or many someone's) to create the insignificant bullshit rewards you're using to lure me in is... shameful... kind of disgusting, a little embarrassing even.
Don't get me wrong, there are individuals and tiny little teams of talented people who want to make great games and don't have the resources. I don't think there is anything wrong with reaching out to friends and fans for help. If you're straight up with me, I can respect what you're trying to do. Tell me what you want to do with this game. Show me your talent, anything to make me believe you can pull off what it is you're trying to do with this game. If I want to see a game like that and I believe you can pull it off, tell me what it's going to cost to make it happen.
Then, ask me for money. Don't ask me to pay for Early Access, don't ask me to pay for a "Founder's Pack" and pretend that I, as an individual, made this game possible. I don't want to hear that needlessly flattering bullshit anyway, it's patronizing and disrespectful. You and your team made it happen. I can't throw money at my monitor and get games back... someone has to do the work. Seriously, don't even call it a pre-order. I get that you're confident, but we both know you have no idea when, or if, you can deliver on this. Tell me straight up you need my money to make it happen. I'd pay for that. If I thought you could do it, and you were honest, I would give you money to make it happen. The icing on the cake is that *if* you make it happen, you would give me a copy of the final [finished/completed] game for free... as a thank you.
It might just be semantics, but I'm sick of all this coddling-the-community-bullshit, dancing around so you don't step on anyone's toes and everyone feels like they were a part of something they had, truly, very little to do with. What? Every gamer knows what it takes to make a game? Every gamer has valuable input and creative vision? Every gamer can see your dream and knows how to help you get there? I don't want a game cluster-fucked, diluted and polluted by random community input, as if the most vocal people have the best ideas. If you seriously *need* that kind of input, you may need to hire a Creative Director or replace your Lead Game Designer, I don't know what.
Yeah, I want a game when all is said and done. However, what you need and what I'm offering is to pay you and possibly/probably your small "independent" team to make it happen... because I believe in you, because I believe in your team. So, if you have a team of no-talent wannabes or super talented assholes, you might have to accept being on your own. Or continue to ask money for Founder's Packs and Early Access. I'd prefer honesty and teams dedicated to making their vision of creative, immersive and inviting interactive experiences come to life. That's the world I want to live in. What can we do to make this happen?
Digital Arts Instructor