Opinion: If a game can offer everything, it actually cannot offer anything at all
Recently I saw a new Kickstarter that got me thinking. I played a short demo of the game in the past and now that Kickstarter launched a new episode in the lifespan of that game. Then something went wrong. The Kickstarter completely confused me. It felt like that single section that I tried, transformed into three completely different games that were packed as one bundle. I am experiencing an inner conflict since the creator asked me to cover the game. The Kickstarter doesn’t appeal to me, should I tell him?
I remember the creator’s enthusiasm and passion. I see how hard he works to create his project. Still, his enthusiasm also makes it hard for him to kill his darlings. His Kickstarter gives the impression that his game can do almost everything at the same time. In my opinion, a game that can do anything at all can do nothing at all. Wait, it can create something: a lot of confusion and noise. A Kickstarter should convince potential backers. This one raised more and more unanswered questions. What is this game about?
A chaotic Kickstarter story
This work in progress game offers three gameplay styles that, at first sight, feel completely incoherent. In the first part, it is a combat-based game with melee, archery, and magic. The creators compare the atmosphere with the Dark Souls feel. In the second part of the videogame, the game becomes a third-person shooter. You have to find weapons and ammo to protect yourself against zombie hordes. I do not remember the third part. I already lost my interest since I had too much trouble finding coherence.
Which game is it? Well, Awaken Time Time is the name of the project. I am not sure what I should think about the concept yet. Chaotic? Absolutely. Strange? Jup. Did I spot some serious yet very common PR mistakes? To many! Should I back it personally? No. The creator failed in communicating the essentials of his game. It could be me, but it feels like the creator wants to deliver a product that can do everything. As a result, it left the impression that it can not do anything at all. At least, that’s what I believe.
Motivation is half the work
Stil… While I talked to the developer, one thing grabbed my attention. Gajda Andreea Cristina, the developer, is working really hard on the project, while he tries his best to overcome the hard aspects of developing. He will do a lot for his game, Awaken The Time. As it is his little baby. At this point, the whole Indie Game Reporter team is not convinced of the quality of the game. Still, I am convinced that the growth mindset of Gajda Andreea Christina can make a difference. At least, if he wants so himself.
We can’t detect a lack of willpower in Gajda’s mission to improve Awaken the Time. He experiences a lot of trouble expressing himself correctly in English. It ain’t his mother’s language. That makes it even harder for him to concretize his pitch. He is trying the best he can do for his child. The final games concept is very vague. Gaida’s limited English skills make it hard for him to express himself. Still, we see someone who is willing to learn and willing to make changes. That can help him during further development.
Will Gajda reach his goal?
I am curious whether the Kickstarter will achieve its goal. I’m afraid not, but I like to be positively surprised. Please prove me wrong, since I can’t have any criticism of how hard Gajda is working on his game. Currently, I am very curious whether Gajda returns to the drawing board to take a critical look at his concept. What is the core gameplay? Who is my target audience? What is the gameplay they expect? Where can I find them, so I can ask for critical feedback? Why should they play my game, or even pay for it?
There is no market that focusses on every sort of gamer. All people love other sorts of genres and that’s why we have labeled them. It can work to mix some genres. They call it creativity. But throwing everything in one mix, that’s called complete madness. When you (unconsciously) try to tell that a product can do anything, you are leaving the impression that you don’t even know what your own game is about. Probably that is not what you want to communicate. At least, that is not what Gajda wanted to communicate.
You can’t do everything, or you’ll do even less
Do you remember that Gajda asked for coverage? I want to help him, but I don’t want to promote things that I don’t believe in yet. Then I think of Indie Game Reporter’s mission. We want to help game developers. Do I help him if I do not cover his project? No! I decided to give him feedback again. Feedback that can help him, but also other similar cases I’ve seen this year. While I may speak to one developer right now, I must say there are plenty of other examples. I forgot those names. They weren’t rememberable enough.
I did not forget Gajda. At least for now I didn’t. So keep a growth mindset and collect feedback. Keep chasing your dreams and work on your pitching skills! Create a story that cannot be explained differently. Which is not multi-interpretable. Which tells a story that summarizes the maker’s vision in great detail, without using many words. That makes the concept crystal clear. A story that stimulates the players’ imagination. And kill your darlings! A game can’t offer everything, and if you try to you’ll do even less.