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Kickstarter isn't just for full games anymore, it seems. Awesomenauts developer Ronimo Games has decided to enlist the crowd-funding site in order to scrounge up the money to make an expansion pack for their side-scrolling MOBA game.
"We have done all that can be done within the current confinements of the game," Ronimo says on Kickstarter. "In order to truly bring Awesomenauts to the next level, we would like to add features that require much more time and effort than we have currently allocated for it. You, our community, have already been so involved in the shaping of Awesomenauts into what it is today, and now you can help us take it to the next step. Help us fund Awesomenauts: Starstorm!"
The titular "Starstorm" is an abandoned space station from the first AI war. This station will act as a new map for Awesomenauts' team-based battles.
Awesomenauts: Starstorm will also introduce three more characters. Ted McPain is a pants-less space marine wielding a small arsenal. Sentry X-58 is a sturdy robot with a reflective shield. Stealthy players will get Skree, a techno-shaman that can become invisible for short periods of time. Each character features new voiceover.
Ronimo plans to include new much-requested features with the expansion as well. A new Spectator mode will allow players to watch their friends' matches. Global chat, twin-stick controller support and new songs are also promised.
The initial fund-raising goal for Starstorm is $125,000. If Ronimo raises more than that, they'll include more content in the expansion. For example, they'll include a level editor with Steam Workshop support if they raise $495,000. The last stretch goal of $630,000 will bring with it an editor for the game's artificial intelligence.
Starstorm will be free on PC, Mac and Linux for Kickstarter users who pledge $15 or more. Everyone else will have to buy the expansion through Steam after it launches. The expansion is going to be premium DLC for the eventual PS4 version as well regardless of whether or not you back the project. Also, the PS4 version won't have the spectator mode or global chat.
There are no plans to release the DLC on Xbox 360 or PS3. Ronimo says that this is due to the financial problems of dtp Entertainment, the company who published those versions.
"Patching the console version of Awesomenauts is very expensive, and we would only ask for your money if we were 100% sure that we would actually be able to make good on our promises. But we cannot guarantee the patch could even be published, because of the insolvency of the console publisher of Awesomenauts. What happens if we manage to fund it, but our console publisher goes bankrupt in the meanwhile? Or if they are sold and the new owner has different ideas on the future of Awesomenauts?"
The content of Starstorm won't be released all at once. Instead, Ronimo will roll out parts of the expansion in monthly or bi-monthly patches.
It's strange to see the Kickstarter movement grow from full games to DLC but I guess there's not much of a difference between the two situations. The result is the same: gamers are shelling out money in advance to make sure that this hypothetical product exists. If that sounds like a worthwhile use of your money, then go nuts. I hope the Kickstarter users shelling out wads of cash for this campaign get what they're hoping for.