Veteran developers Peter Molyneux has warned against devs promising too much in their crowdfunding pitches – particularly if the project is still in its very early stages.
Referring to his own experience with world-building title Godus, Molyneux told TechRadar he received a lot of negative feedback for adding certain features to the final game that weren’t mentioned in the original Kickstarter appeal, such introducing virtual currency that speeds up progress.
However, the dev says this is a result of the pressure that surrounds crowdfunding appeals.
"There’s this overwhelming urge to over-promise because it’s such a harsh rule: if you’re one penny short of your target then you don’t get it," said Molyneux. "And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is ‘Chris, we’ve only got 10 days to go and we’ve got to make £100,000, for fuck’s sake, let’s just say anything’. So I’m not sure I would do that again."
On reflection, Molyneux says funding Godus via Kickstarter was actually damaging to the project. Because the appeal ran so early in the game’s development, backers developed a perception of the what Godus would be like that differed greatly from the final game.
"What I’ve learned is that doing Kickstarter and Steam Early Access, before you’ve got something that is defined and playable, is a hugely risky undertaking that can be very destructive to the final quality of the game," he said.
"And if I had my time again, I wouldn’t do Kickstarter at the start of development, I would do it at the end of development or towards the end of development. I’m not saying I would never do Kickstarter again, but if I was to do Kickstarter again, I would say ‘look, we’ve done half the game, you can download this demo, you can play the game. You know what the game’s going to be, now we’re going to take it from this point to this point’."