Last Level Press

Kickstarters and the Future

By: Olen Bjorgo

If you frequent the Twitter feed for Last Level Press then you might know that our very own Violita donated towards a game called The Mandate, which puts you in charge of a crew as you travel the stars, and has gained the support of folks such as Angry Joe, TotalBiscuit, and even the folks over at The Escapist. And, while on the subject, I’ve donated to two Kickstarters that gained quite a bit of traction a while ago: Mighty No. 9 by Comcept, the small company founded by former Capcom member and co-creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune, and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero by WayForward, the company that made the re-mastered version of the DuckTales game for the NES. And there was even a successful Kickstarter to produce a new album for the band of Questionable Content creator Jeph Jacques. And Frederator Studios, an independent animation company headquartered in New York City, started a successful Kickstarter to produce more episodes of Bee and PuppyCat, the cartoon made by Adventure Time artist and storyboard revisionist Natasha Allegri. And Suede, a New Zealander who is featured on, had a successful fundraiser to produce a short film intended to be entered into film festivals thanks to a site called

That’s not even mentioning numerous other projects that exist on other similar sites! With the ease of online transactions and sites to organize everything, crowd funding seems to be the way to help support what we love, enjoy, or even could be interested in or want to see more of. An exciting new frontier for small companies, independent artists, and creative individuals, all done with the kindness, hope, and support of countless benefactors seems to be upon us, but is it the way of the future? Personally, I like to think so.

As does R.A. Salvatore.  No joke here, he really does.

Granted, we’re probably not going to see many triple-A companies or long-standing veterans of an industry go out of their way to make a Kickstarter, but we can expect to see things that can say they were produced partially or entirely with donator support. It’s honestly comforting to know that you’ve helped, even in a small way, to help make something wonderful possible, and you even getting a little something for your help and thinking if it wasn’t for you and a bunch of people you may never meet then it probably wouldn’t exist. Not to mention that it means it will be something that could be against the norm, or something will be made knowing that more people have an expectation of quality, rather than investors and stockholders hoping for profit. Trying to go against the norm and be faithful to those who expect honesty and quality from us is the base that Last Level Press was founded on. It was also founded to emulate others we admire and respect, since they too have the same mindset.

However, Kickstarter and other sites like it can be risky ventures. In a way, donators who contribute to Kickstarter funds are taking a risk with their money in the hopes that what they contribute is something of good quality, something that makes their donation seem worthwhile, and the more unknown a person is, the greater the risk is. All of those Kickstarters I mentioned were of people known for a certain level of quality and fame; they are the safe bets that whatever you put in will give you something good, and makes the investment more a show of support than faith. If you found some unknown artist who wants to produce an independent film, and all they’re asking for is maybe $5000, then you’re giving in blind faith that they produce something worth giving them maybe 0.5% of their total goal if you’re generous.

Then, you might get your first taste of investor’s buyers’ remorse.

There is also the risk that they use the money for reasons they don’t mention, or even not use it for the intended project that you’re giving money for. Of course, I don’t mean something like the money I donated for Mighty No. 9 will be put into the budget for coffee and donuts for the development team, which I wouldn’t be opposed to since donuts are tasty and I helped indirectly feed someone that is making something that I’m betting will be a quality product, but I mean more like someone at Comcept using my money for their own personal use rather than for something that the company will use to make the game. Like with any donation you make, there is no guarantee what it’s used for, whereas with a budget for a large company that money is used for specific purposes. The donations I’ve made, however, give me confidence that some guy won’t skim a little off the top to… I dunno, buy a large pizza and maybe some breadsticks. Thankfully, I’ve heard of very few instances of people taking advantage of the kindness of fans and supporters but it is still a risk nonetheless.

I had mentioned that I believe Kickstarter and other such sites could be the way of the future. Truth be told, I think it only makes sense. The Internet is home to new media, new entertainment venues, and makes supporting independent companies so much easier than it was ten or fifteen years ago. We are setting up a system which makes what we, the consumers, pay exactly for what it is we want, and supports exactly what we like since we want things catered to us specifically. I like the older Mega Man games, and I support Mr. Inafune’s efforts to make better games, so I supported Mighty No. 9. I might not be good at the older Mega Man games, but I know I can’t expect Capcom to make one these days. I never played any of the old Shantae games but I liked what I saw, I loved what WayForward did with DuckTales, and I wanted to help support a new game by a pretty cool company. My money is going towards what I support, what I want to see, and it makes me feel as though my donations make a little difference towards that goal. Just like Mr. Black, Violita, Angry Joe, and countless others, I believe that we speak volumes with our wallets.

The Mandate Kickstarter is still going on, and is very close to its goal. If you want to help out and donate towards a game that looks very promising, then please do so. Maybe search the site, and see if anything else peaks your interest, and promote it if you feel it’s worth supporting. While social media can be a barrage of nonsense, it’s also is capable of magnifying a message to audiences across the planet. Big things cannot be accomplished alone, but together we can help make big things a reality.

Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.   | Legal Notices

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