Consortium: The Tower is being developed by Interdimensional Games as a sequel to Consortium, a game where you played a peacekeeper on an airplane in a sci-fi alternate future who could make a lot of decisions through dialogue, and via the use of lethal or non-lethal weapons. It was kind of like Deus Ex meets Air Force One, with the graphics of Reboot. The new sequel is going with Warren Spector’s “one-city-block rpg” concept again, set entirely in the “Churchill Tower,” a huge half-built construction project taken over by terrorists, filled with complex, interacting moving parts.
As you make your way through the complex, you get to decide whether to defuse the situation or enflame it further, whether to keep fighting the good fight for your corporate hegemony-sponsored “peacekeeping” team, or defect to the shadowy forces that are also operating in the tower, and whether to blow everything up or nobly “stick with the prod.” You also get a cloak and an ability that just sprays bombs everywhere (getting you fired, but not ending the game).
The Kickstarter campaign stalled out at $142,608 when its 33-day campaign ended, reaching 4,616 backers pledging an average of $31.21 (CAD converted to USD). The current campaign, featured on the front-page of fig.co, is (at the time of writing) funded to the tune of $309,333 with 2,550 backers. One would expect fewer backers on a smaller, less known platform than kickstarter, but why are those backers biting harder?
At least part of the reason is how fig.co works. It’s an upstart equity crowdfunding platform just for games. Equity crowdfunding means only $82k of those pledges expect only the tiered kickstarter-style backer rewards (e.g. hats, posters, developer autographs) in return. The other $227k have been made in a form of profit-sharing investment. Fig.co offers “game shares” for $250 each, and each share entitles investors to one dollar for every $4102 of “adjusted gross receipts.” However, to abide with US securities law, these shares are currently only available to “accredited investors” (as explained in this Gamasutra article). To be an accredited investor under US law, you have to have either be a millionaire or make more than $200k a year. So, put away your wallets, kids. The big boys are playing.
Fig has a lot of big names in the game industry behind it: it was founded by former Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts) COO Justin Bailey, and Double Fine’s head honcho Tim Schafer himself sits on the board of advisors along with Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian Entertainment (Neverwinter Nights, Alpha Protocol) and other big-shots. So far the platform has achieved some funding successes, such as Psychonauts 2, but also some failures (Rock Band 4 for PC). But as of the time of publishing, nothing funded through fig has actually been released (or cancelled), so there isn’t any precedent yet for how happy backers and investors are with the final results.
Whether or not the investments of Consortium: The Tower funders turn out to be profitable, financially or in terms of the quality of the game that gets produced, the fact remains that fig has funded another Consortium game where Kickstarter couldn’t.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Ramon Rakow.