Ryan Wilson

Top Old Developers That Need to Jump on the Crowdfunding Train

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been a welcome breath of fresh air to gamers wishing to return to the early days of gaming. Veteran developers seem to be, one by one, asking for gamers’ help in funding projects once thought doomed into fruition. Tim Schafer, Jane Jensen, Brian Fargo, and Al Lowe have already used crowdfunding to great success, ensuring that the crowdfunding movement isn’t going anywhere. So, who should be the next retro mastermind to jump on the bandwagon? Here’s who we think:

Richard Garriott de Cayeux

Known for: Ultima franchise, Tabula Rasa
Richard Garriott, best known by his gaming alter-ego Lord British, has been revolutionizing the role-playing genre for over 30 years. Though he started as a hobbyist creating Dungeons & Dragons campaigns for his friends, he was encouraged to try selling his latest game, Akalabeth, in Ziploc bags in game stores. This proved extremely successful, selling around 30,000 copies. He soon followed this up with what would soon become his name-to-fame, Ultima, which lead to a franchise of 9 games, spinoffs, expansions, and even a popular MMO still active today. Garriott may have taken a few years away from the game industry to pursue his passion for aerospace, but together with his new company, Portalarium, he is ready to take the gaming world by storm once again.

So what’s stopping him?: Unfortunately, Lord British has all but lost his rule over the world of Ultima, as EA firmly holds the rights to any and all future titles bearing the Ultima moniker (though, surprisingly, he still holds the key to Britannia). He’s been in talks with EA to claim the name once again, but so far his efforts have been fruitless.

Roberta and Ken Williams

Known for: King’s Quest franchise, Phantasmagoria
This husband/wife combo are responsible for popular adventure game company, Sierra On-Line, which brought us such franchises as King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Quest for Glory. The duo created what is easily the company’s most successful franchise, King’s Quest, which spawned 8 titles and helped bring adventures games out of their text and parser days and into the graphical era.

So what’s stopping them?:Ken and Roberta retired from the industry back in 1999, and have shown little interest in going back. While we did see a glimpse of them when they gave their blessing to the unofficial fangame, The Silver Lining, both are currently busy with other pursuits. The final nail in this coffin might be the fact that the series is set to be reboot by Telltale Games.

John Romero

Known for: DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D
Together with John Carmack, John Romero essentially created the first-person shooter genre with Wolfenstein 3D. With DOOM, Heretic, and Quake, he helped the genre continue to evolve. Following his great success at id Software, he went on to form Ion Storm, which led to such popular franchises Deus Ex and Thief.

So what’s stopping him?:Not everything that came out of Ion Storm was successful. After the colossal failure and snarky campaign of Daikatana, his name might be too tarnished to ever receive enough funding. He has already tried unsuccessfully to return to the industry a handful of times to little success (many projects cancelled due to lack of publisher).

Chris Roberts

Known for: Wing Commander
Chris Roberts, like Richard Garriot, built his game development career at Origin Systems, assisting on the Ultima series shortly before he made a name for himself with Wing Commander. The series combined white-knuckle space combat rivaling Star Wars with great story and, from Wing Commander 3 on, Hollywood talent like Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, and Malcolm McDowell. The series spawned 5 main titles and numerous spinoffs.

So what’s stopping him?: After a long run of successful titles, Wing Commander’s reputation was tarnished by a horrid film adaptation, which Roberts directed himself. You’d think with the heavily cinematic stylings and star studded nature of the game franchise, they’d be able to easily follow suit with a movie, but we were wrong. Horribly wrong. Roberts has since left the game industry to pursue a career in film production.

Leave us a Comment