Saturday, March 23, 2013

Freeport Versus Kickstarter

Green Ronin has been around for over a decade at this point. Their initial module setting, Freeport, was one of the first adventurers for the SRD back in the day. Now they're working on a massive update to the book on Kickstarter.

One might think that with their longevity in the game and their plethora of products, that funding would have been easily hit and made right? Apparently not. I'm not saying that it won't fund. There is still time. But let's look at some reasons why they might be having difficulty.

1. No Pathfinder brand loyalty. This may sound like heresy as Green Ronin, as I mentioned, was one of the first companies to get on the SRD bandwagon in a HUGE way. They made settings, class books, race books, and a ton of other goods including cross promotions with Paradigm Press and others. But when 3.5 died, they didn't jump on the Pathfinder band wagon. They had something like d20 age or d20 forever branding so that they wouldn't have to update their catalog. Sounds a lot like Necromancer Games before they came around ala Frog God Games. Having said that, you have no build in Pathfinder base.

Oh sure, we can get into the whole, "It's all the same!" arguments that happened with 3.0 and 3.5 and with 3.5 to Pathfinder, but if you didn't go and do the branding, getting the Pathfinder crowd to automatically leap into the frey isn't something that's going to happen easily or overnight. Am I saying that Green Ronin has zero Pathfinder products? Don't know to be honest. When I think of Green Ronin, d20 gaming isn't what I think of. Instead, we have Game of Thrones, Dragon Age, Mutants and Masterminds, and the DC comic game.

2. Goal is Too High. For a company that hasn't been backing Pathfinder since the start, and isn't using one of its licensed settings, the minimal goal here seems high. I'm not saying it's not needed for what they want to do. But when you're setting a higher bar than one of the most popular OSR projects, Dwimmermount, managed to achieve at the start of the Kickstarter craze, you might be overstepping realistic expectations.

3. Eastern Front Miniatures. This one is just a casual observation. Eastern Front as a few successful Kickstarters under their belt. But those projects are late and some of the backers are vocal about it. This may not have been the best partner for Green Ronin.

4. Pirates are played out. Well, can pirates ever really be played out? Probably not. However, there hasn't been a really popular pirate movie like the old pirates of a certain Caribbean for a while AND more importantly, people just shelled out a lot of cash for a Frog God Games pirate, in part, based project. That one had trouble funding too. Also for a similar sized product. Also for premium product. And that was by a company that has been doing Pathfinder fans right for a while now.

5. Kickstarter Sucks. Well, not really. But a lot of people are getting weary of the continued lateness of Kickstarter projects and are taking their money to actual stores and buying things. Or just downloading illegal PDFs. You know those damn kids today and their internets. When I do my next Kickstarter update, I'll actually have a few that have fallen off the list but most will not. As Kickstarter continues to evolve, people will continue to decide where their money goes in a manner that reflects not only companies, but product types as well.

I hope Green Ronin is able to pull this one off not necessarily for Freeport, but I would love to see them do compilations of their various Races, Classes, and other material that never got compiled thanks to the d20 meltdown, into hardcovers for Pathfinder.