Kickstarter Reward Ideas
Share your ideas here.
-Meet Ed or another team member. I was thinking this could be done through a Skype video call, not all of us can travel. Maybe higher backers could meet more than one team member.
-Lowest to highest backers: Digital soundtrack, soundtrack CD, autographed soundtrack CD (maybe the cover or liner notes).
-A small plushie of one of the sea creatures
Here's some things I basically copied from the Dreamfall; Chapters rewards:
- early access
- boxed collector's edition with manual-
- forum access
- beta access
- making-of videos (I know Ed didn't want to make these, but they're a popular reward)
- have your name added to the game's credits
- personalised postcard signed by the team
My concern about wallpapers and videos is that as soon as one person has them, they're going to be posted on the internet, rendering the funding perk meaningless.
I think because of the stigma from the first KS, creature cards should be kept out of the funding rewards, at least for the Little Blue. Ed seems passionate about the idea so I don't want him to get discouraged, but I think he could find an interesting way to incorporate them into the game other than giving them monetary value.
Personally I think making-of videos are kind of boring, watching people spin polygons around on a screen and playing with sound equipment. I do not think it will really be necessary, given how involved backers will be in the development process with access to betas, etc.
What I think would really get people interested, is if one of the rewards was a documentary where Ed and maybe other members of the team talk about the development and release of Ecco and the other games they have worked on. It would be a great resource for fans and it would generate significant interest if it was packed with new information previously not released elsewhere. For example, a lot of people are fascinated by earlier builds of Ecco the Dolphin so they can get ideas of what could have been in the games.
Earlier builds of Ecco might be fascinating to Ecco fans, but not to people who haven't played that game. On the other hand, watching people spin polygons might sound boring, but judging from the other projects backers really like to see that (and for good reason, since it makes them feel involved in the development process, so they understand what their money will be spent on). A retrospective on Ecco might be worth it though, but creating such a video probably requires Sega's approval.
About the wallpapers: they're really just padding. It's fine if people share them, at that point they served their purpose.
So the original KS page had rewards at: $10, 15, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000.
After $100, they just kind of drop off and there starts to be huge price jumps. I would suggest adding: $75, 150, 200, 300, 400, 750, 3000, 4000.
I have no experience with Kickstarter, but I think people would be more drawn to the rewards if the price jumps were less intimidating.
Some more ideas:
-promotional materials such as hats, badges/pins, t-shirt
-"feelies" - small promotional items packaged with the game.
As an interesting contrast, here's a failed KS that raised much more money than the Big Blue, but had, in my view, generally less interesting rewards in the lower tiers.
There is only so much exclusivity you can achieve with rewards.
The only things I think can be totally exclusive are things like signed stuff, actual physical posters (I know that's a long stretch in the digital era!) and maybe art/production books like what happened did with Okami which have beta artwork and stuff inside them.
Then again stuff like this would probably be received better if it is available to others. There isn't any point in restricting every Big Blue merchandise to backers. You need to find a balance somewhere.
@James: I agree with you that there should be Big Blue merchandise available after the KS. But, I think that exclusive rewards are part of the allure of the KS funding process. I think people would be more likely to pledge if they saw something compelling they want, knowing that they will not be able to get it later, provided it's within their budget. Something to consider is that they should probably not make the rewards too elaborate, to prevent the funding goal from increasing simply to pay for the rewards. As much as people love those limited edition Working Designs PS1 releases loaded with extras, it's rumoured that the over elaborate releases helped sink the company.
My funding limit is around $100 and I'd at least want to get the game on a disc and something else for that much. For example, the Pier Solar HD KS had all versions of the game available as physical releases by the $50 tier.
Something like this I feel has very gimmicky KS rewards:
Personally, I find the creature cards from the original KS more compelling rewards than the stuff on that page. The Little Blue should try to have unique rewards, in addition to promotional materials. These people are just doing silly faux-retro stuff that's been done by a bunch of other people. One of the reasons I don't do pre-orders or purchase limited editions of retail games anymore, is because they're all kind of the same and overpriced for what you're paying for.
Given that The Little Blue will be a smaller game, I think the KS should have more physical than digital rewards to draw people to the project. Digital rewards like name in the credits and early and beta access are great, but I think the KS should avoid digital gimmicks like in-game items. In-game rewards like power ups and items just scream "DLC" and "microtransaction" to me.
I'm not so picky about the box itself, but for the game case, backers should be able to choose between CD or DVD cases. I hate DVD cases for video games, they're bulky, they do a lousy job protecting the art (it's not backed up against a solid surface), the plastic wrap gets dirty easily (and holes poked in it from standard shelf wear) and they're impossible to clean and replace (proprietary PS2 cases for example). If a retailer puts a sticker on a DVD style game case, there's nothing you can do to peel it off or clean what's left behind, short of replacing the entire case.
My favourite kind of packaging for disc based games is Dreamcast cases.
All the parts of the case are fully replaceable, they're compact, the case does a great job of protecting the art, you can clean the case itself (I've done this myself to clear off sticker gunk) and the cases have interior art on the inside instead of solid plastic like DVD cases. Another advantage of Dreamcast style cases is that you can put different stuff on each spine, to allow consumers to customize how it looks on their shelf.
While we're on the subject of packaging, backers should be able to choose the language for their game's packaging and manual. NOBODY likes those thick tomes that are manuals for European games with 5 languages on the inside. If the game is only playable in English, keep the manual in English. This will also keep your production costs down.
I've had enough negative experiences with this living in Canada. Every single game you buy here is English only, but because of stupid laws, the game has to have bilingual packaging and manuals. So, companies cost cut to fulfill this. They either give you an extra thick manual with English and French on the inside, or they just cram two black&white manuals into the case. Both of these make the case bulge and damage the packaging and the manual. I'm a collector and do you know what I do with the French manuals? I throw them out. They are of no use to me and they are useless, arbitrary filler that damages the game packaging. Because of this I always try to get the US version of a game for its monolingual, normal packaging.
Regarding exclusive merchandise: I think that in the end it could be a strong point for the Kickstarter. When you look back at contests, mail orders and giveaways from 90s gaming magazines and such, it's the kind of stuff that retro collectors drool over today. Nothing that takes away from the experience of the game itself, but cool merchandise for fans and collectors to have.
Maybe as a stretch goal, how would people feel about LB having a score/points system? I know people haven't really cared about high scores since the 90s, but oh well. For example if you look at Megaman 1 or the classic Castlevania series, those games weren't designed around the score system but having it in the games didn't hurt them either.
It would also be nifty if LB featured actual secrets in the game. I don't mean like odd easter eggs, but obscure secret areas you could only discover on a fluke or from reading a guidebook. Of course that's a long stretch in the internet age.
Since LB will be a short game I can picture extra scenarios/levels being stretch goals.
A recent trend I've seen is having PS4/Xbone support as stretch goals, but I would strongly advise against that. Next gen platforms always have an uncertain future, no matter how deep the company's pockets are or how much hype they have. You never know what's going to become the next Saturn or 3DO. We don't even know yet how difficult the new platforms are to develop for, and the platform with the greatest ease of development doesn't always win. We also don't know yet about the physical reliability and longevity of these upcoming consoles, and given that Sony and Microsoft have universally negative track records, it doesn't look good. Both platforms also have crappy launch lineups, so a game drought is expected like what happened with the PS3. We also have yet to see the actual hardware in action until games are released, and pre-rendered tech demos are never reliable because they're lies to generate marketing and never represent the final product. When people buy a new console they are doing it for the exclusives, so ports of LB/BB will not be high priority for that audience.
As for Nintendo, the Wii U is a joke and the Wii is dead. Xbox 360 and PS3 are 8 year old hardware now and are on their way out of the market. The console market as a whole is on shaky grounds now. Porting a budget game like LB to a console would be very risky. PC gaming may make up a minority of the market, but it is the safest bet for LB and BB at the moment because it's a stable platform.
Ideally I'd like to play LB/BB on a standard definition console like PS2, but I know that's not going to happen and it also depends on where the game is on a technical level.