Now here's a game I just did not see coming and yet it's something I'm sure many RPG, action fans and cyberpunk followers have been craving for ages. The new promo video for the Kickstarter does an amazing-balls job of geeking gamers up for something special, only to show them nothing.
The video is headlined by the game's producer, director and creator, Franz Tissera. Franz – not to be confused with Hans – leads a team of renown developers, artists and designers under the Elemental-Labs label. Their first project is an ambitious one that they plan to get made for only $200,000. Though, given the scope of the game and what they're planning on doing, I would hazard a guess that $200k is just barely enough to get a prototype demo done based on what they're claiming they want to do with the game.
The ten minutes of pitching the idea to Kickstarter goers was nice and all but the video suffers some criticisms that I also agree with: First of all, there's no gameplay or even concept footage or a prototype of what the game is supposed to look like, just concept art from here to the moon. Concept art is nice but it's not a game.
We also get sketchy details on the action-RPG elements. While there are several long-winded blocks of text rolling out details on the RPG mechanics and how the game will work as an ARPG, it all feels whimsically ambitious. I mean, it's the sort of thing a bunch of people with a great idea sit around a Starbucks and discuss with their fancy-pants glasses, character sketches and tablet-laptops while sipping on their caramel macchiatos.
The thing is – and not to be overly skeptical – I'm seeing a lot of executive boardroom pitches in that video, the sort of thing that you bring to an AAA publisher to get funding for a demo. I've got nothing against the Reborn concept and I love the art and possibilities that come along with the idea. However, the entire Kickstarter from Elemental-Labs reeks of a studio that wants to be under the wing of a publisher and not really something that's an “on the ground” project working with dirt and scraps and trying to put together funds to turn an exciting idea into something real.
When you see Kickstarter videos for things like Contagion, Hyper Light Drifter, Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora or Keiji Inafune's Mighty No. 9, there's no doubt in the minds of gamers that these are real games looking for funds to actually make it to the market. And I suppose that's where the discrepancy comes in with Reborn: it's not a game that needs money to exist, it's a concept that wants to be a game using your money. The subtle difference between the two examples in the aforementioned idiom is the very reason why Reborn could have a hard time gathering funds on Kickstarter.
Still, I hope that with the 28 days they have left they'll use that time to churn out a prototype of some sort so gamers will feel that the there is something tangible behind the idea and not just a pitch with a good concept and no grounding beyond ideas and art.
You can learn more about Reborn by paying a visit to the official Kickstarter page.