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Plugged In

10 Kickstarter games to watch

Plugged In

Not every great game comes from the industry's big publishers.

The rise of Kickstarter has put several intriguing titles on our radar. While there hasn't been a real mainstream hit from the crowd-funding site yet (though games like FTL have come close), that could be about to change. Proven development talent has begun using the service to fund games that didn't fit into the mold of traditional game publishers. Here are 10 upcoming Kickstarter-backed games that we can't wait to get our hands on.

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(Credit: Double Fine)

Broken Age

Originally called “Double Fine Adventure,” this is the Kickstarter game that launched the revolution. Raising some $3.3 million, it proved that the site was a viable funding source for games.

Unfortunately, it turns out that wasn't quite enough to make the game.

Originally budgeted at $400,000 with a six- to eight-month turnaround time, Broken Age was recently delayed -- again -- due to it being over budget. Double Fine now says it plans to release a slightly smaller version in two parts starting next year. Frustrating? Absolutely! But we're still curious to see what Tim Schafer’s team comes up with.


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(Credit: Harebrained Schemes)

Shadowrun Returns

Fusing the cyperpunk stylings of "Blade Runner" with the magical fantasy of "The Lord of the Rings," the Shadowrun franchise started off as a tabletop game in 1989. Created by Jordan Weisman (who also produced the BattleTech series), it eventually made its way to video gamers via two spectacular Sega Genesis and Super NES games. It was made into a disappointing shooter in 2007, but Weisman had nothing to do with that.

Now Weisman's new company, Harebrained Schemes, has regained the rights, and people are taking notice. Shadowrun Returns, which raised $1.9 million on Kickstarter, is a 2D turn-based RRG for tablets and PC. Best of all, you won't have to wait for this one: it arrives July 25.


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(Credit: InXile)

Torment: Tides of Numenera

A spiritual successor to 1999's beloved Planescape Torment? Yes, please!

Tides of Numenera promises to emphasize story and character development, letting players craft their characters however they'd like. The game picked up $4.2 million in funding and was originally set for a December 2014 release. The wait's going to be a bit longer, though, as developer inXile has already pushed that back to 2015.


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(Credit: Obsidian)

Project Eternity

Obsidian Entertainment is plenty busy. Right after wrapping up Fallout: New Vegas, the team went to work on South Park: The Stick of Truth, due out later this year. But driven by a desire to return to its roots, the company launched a Kickstarter for this pet project.

It raised nearly $4 million and work on the game is already deep underway, with a projected launch date of sometime in the second quarter of 2014. Obsidian says the freedom that self- and crowd-funding provides is it will be able to explore topics that publishers usually balk at, like slavery, drug use and prejudice.


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(Credit: Roberts Space Industries)

Star Citizen

Chris Roberts, the man behind Star Citizen, hasn't stopped with Kickstarter when it comes to funding his new game. He's utilized just about every crowd-funding site around, and taken private donations as well. That has resulted in a monster haul of over $14 million from fans.

The money will go to creating a new space adventure game. There's no one better at the genre, as Roberts is the creator of the Wing Commander series. But he's also nearly as famous for missing deadlines, making the game's projected release date of late 2014 questionable.


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(Credit: Portalarium)

Shroud of the Avatar

Richard Garriott, creator of the Ultima franchsie, knows RPGs. He also has $1.9 million to launch this new franchise, marking Lord British's return to his roots in the fantasy role-playing space.

Due October 2014, the game will have a rich multiplayer component as well as a single player quest, and promises to focus more on player choices and discovery than level grinding. Garriott says it will be released in five annual installments.


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(Credit: InXile)

Wasteland 2

You wouldn't think a 1988 game would have a fan base this active, but when that game is the predecessor to Fallout, all bets are off. Brian Fargo is leading the charge on this post-apocalyptic RPG, and he's gathered key members of the team that built the original game. Thanks to Kickstarter, he has $2.9 million to help get it done.

Unfortunately, more money does, in fact, lead to more problems. The game's been delayed a bit due to the increased scope of the project.


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(Credit: Camoflauj)

Republique

Talk about cred: this stealthy game is being created by developers who, collectively, have worked on Metal Gear Solid, Halo, F.E.A.R. and Kinect.

Designed for iOS (but also en route for the PC), the game is set in a universe where the player becomes Big Brother, helping an onscreen character by gaining control of network-enabled devices, powering down lights, wiretapping calls and summoning elevators when needed.


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(Credit: 22 Cans)

Project Godus

Peter Molyneux's indie experiment puts him on familiar ground: it's a god game that blends the strategy and sandbox genres.

Most interesting, though, is the recent revelation that the winner of his Curiosity app gets to introduce his own rules and morality into Godus. And those rules will affect all of the other players. That winner, Bryan Henderson of Edinburgh, Scotland, also gets a cut of each sale.


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(Credit: Pencil Test Studios)

Armikrog

The clay-animated Neverhood might not be the most famous game in the world, but it’s got a cult following. And they’re now following the team behind Armikrog, its spiritual successor.

The adventure game -- which focuses on a space explorer and his blind, alien, talking dog -- will feature the same sort of claymation as The Neverhood. It will also boast voiceover work from Michael J. Nelson, former host and head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000. As an added bonus, most of the team that worked on The Neverhood is back on board – and thanks to a successfully met stretch goal, a Wii U version is in the works.

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