Kickstarter is inherently a risky way to spend your money. There’s always the chance the project you’re funding never sees the light of day. There’s always the chance your money will be wasted. Because of these risks, it’s very important to really look at a project and try to determine the odds of the final product reaching completion. Granted, this isn’t always an easy task. However, in the case of The Phoenix Project, I’m convinced there are better ways to spend your money.
The Phoenix Project, also known as City of Titans, is the spiritual successor of the now-defunct MMO City of Heroes. It’s being put together by a group of volunteers that make up Missing Worlds Media. According to the Kickstarter page, Missing Worlds Media contains over 100 developers. They came together after it became clear City of Heroes would be no more. In an effort to create a whole new world for City of Heroes players, a Kickstarter goal of $320,000 was set. At the time of this writing, the campaign has raised over $340,000 with 22 days to go. Raising that much money in a short period of time is impressive, but you have to consider a few things. $340,000 is nowhere near enough money to create and sustain a MMO. What’s worse is Missing Worlds Media acknowledges all the money won’t actually go into developing the game.
Of the $320,000, $70,000 goes towards taxes, perks, add-ons and fees to Kickstarter and Amazon. $70,000 more goes to Epic Games for the Unreal Engine license. There’s only $180,000 left to actually make the game.
“That $180,000 is mostly going straight to software,” reads the Kickstarter page.
“Autodesk’s Maya and 3DS Max. They’re not cheap, and we need them to do the work. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses, and we need at least 24 copies for the art and tech teams to be able to do their jobs. There are several different versions, each targeting different levels of needs, and the 24 total copies are split between the various members to their need, based on the tasks they have.
We’ll need multiple copies of a few tools like zbrush, Allegorithmic, 8DIO, Photoshop and Illustrator.”
There are more incidentals in there as well such lawyer fees, book keeping fees and additional hardware. It doesn’t stop there either. Stretch goals are needed to acquire, “middleware to help us make the game. Purchasing of assets, saving our team the time needed to develop. Licensing premade systems from other game developers.”
Should all of this somehow come together, you’ll be playing City of Titans in November 2015.
Listen, I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but we’ve got to be realistic about this. MMOs are extremely expensive to create and a lot of work to maintain. The people working on this game are volunteers and have no real obligation to see their work through. This money will be gone well before the final product is finished. Put your money in the pot if you must, but my gut tells me this game is not going to happen.