Carmageddon Reincarnation secures Kickstarter cash

Carmageddon Reincarnation concept art
Image caption Concept art from the new title suggests it will be at least as violent as its predecessors

An Isle of Wight-based video games developer has secured enough cash to finance a new edition of Carmageddon.

Fans of the controversial series have pledged more than $400,000 (£255,000) to Stainless Games.

The firm had to meet the cash target on crowd-funding site Kickstarter in order to trigger payments from the project's backers.

Several video games have succeeded on the site, sparking talk of a new funding model for low-budget titles.

Close to 11,500 people have committed money to the reboot, pledging between $1 to $10,000.

Backers include Markus "Notch" Persson - the former lead developer of the hit game Minecraft - who has promised $5,000.

Stainless had to set up a separate company in the US in order to qualify to use Kickstarter.

Stretch target

Supporters do not receive a share of any profits, but are offered a range of scaled incentives to commit more money - including a free copy of the game when it is released and the chance to have their likeness used as one of the in-game pedestrians who drivers kill to score points.

Stainless is trying to "stretch" the amount of support to $600,000 by promising Macintosh and Linux versions of the game in addition to the planned PC edition if it surpasses the new target.

Image caption The original game's focus on killing pedestrians provoked criticism

Carmageddon: Reincarnation follows Double Fine Adventure, which raised $3.3m; Wasteland 2, which raised $2.9m; Shadowrun Returns, which raised $1.8m; and dozens of other titles which have secured funding from similar schemes.

"I think that Kickstarter or similar programmes of its ilk will form a longstanding alternative to the traditional model of funding coming via large investors or publishers," Neil Barnden, co-founder of Stainless, told the BBC.

"It is the perfect place for indie developers to go to connect directly with the community who want to play their games, and help the gamers feel more involved in the process."

Unproven model

Big budget titles, which can cost more than $40m to develop, are likely to remain the reserve of deep-pocketed publishers for the foreseeable future, particularly since some believe costs will rise further when the next generation of consoles are released.

Image caption Inxile Entertainment's role playing video game project raised close to $3m via Kickstarter in April

One industry analyst also suggested the crowd-funded model might prove to be a short-term phenomenon.

"Kickstarter is an interesting way for independent and sometimes niche games content to secure funding, but I don't believe it heralds a shift in financing for the larger games industry," said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at IHS Screen Digest.

"One issue the platform has is that it has become inundated with games funding requests, which I think will hamper the potential of future projects securing necessary funding.

"Also we have yet to see any major results from the games funded through Kickstarter. The future success of this channel of funding really depends on the results that come out of it."

Carmageddon's Kickstarter campaign is due to close on 6 June.

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