The Ecco The Dolphin Team is Back with The Big Blue

the-big-blue-concept-01Ecco the Dolphin is considered one of the best games released for the Sega Genesis (AKA Mega Drive) and of the 16-bit era. The sequels were also well received but never seemed to have the same magic as the original. Well, thanks to Kickstarter, original Ecco designer Ed Annunziata is launching his spiritual sequel to Ecco called The Big Blue.

First, a quick refresher: At first, Ecco the Dolphin is about a happy-go-lucky dolphin swimming through the ocean and making Sea World-esque jumps. Then aliens abducted all the sea creatures from the bay that Ecco was in and he was the only one left. This started him on a grand adventure through oceans, time and an alien spaceship to save the day. By today’s standard, this seems like a completely ridiculous premise for a game. However, it’s that originality that made it so popular.

To build what he calls a “next generation, underwater, action/adventure game,” Annunziata is looking for $665,000. Reaching this goal will get the game on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. If the funding goal is doubled, the plan is to make the game an MMO. If they only make 50% above the goal (or $1,000,000), the game will include multiplayer and a co-op mode.

Fundraising hasn’t gone as swiftly as I had expected for a game coming from the people who made as popular a game as Ecco. However, I think some of the problem comes from the rewards setup that The Big Blue currently has.

the-big-blue-concept-02-cardTo buy the game through the Kickstarter was originally $25. Now it’s down to $15. The problem is that $15 doesn’t include a character card and the description of the game sure sounds like you need to spend the $25 for the level that gets you a game and card because you need the card to control a character. That’s all well and good but as a Canadian, I am obligated to spend an extra $2 to receive a card that I don’t want. While it’s only two dollars and I wouldn’t go broke paying that, it’s the principle of having to pay for something I don’t want that makes me not want to contribute.

Similarly, I’m excited about the original score composed by Spencer Nilsen and Bear McCreary but I don’t plan to pay $100 to get the soundtrack through the Kickstarter campaign. While it seems a little petty to not fund a Kickstarter with plenty of potential, as effectively an investor in the project, a risk/reward trade-off is expected. With The Big Blue, I’m not comfortable with the reward for the risk because there is always a risk that the project is a failure and never happens.

On the other hand, Kickstarters for games that are already fairly far along in development tend to do better. Having gameplay footage or even just a detailed explanation of gameplay goes along way with the crowd funding you. Showing ten seconds of pointing on an iPad isn’t so much a gameplay demo as a concept video. Why would I want to fund a game if I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t contribute to The Big Blue but there just isn’t enough info and the rewards are too oddly setup for me to feel comfortable. I hope that Annunziata and company examine their current Kickstarter rewards setup and what they are presenting to potential backers in order to convince them that they should contribute. There’s still 29 days to go in the campaign so there’s lots of time to make this project a reality. For now, the ball’s in their court.

Source: Kickstarter – The Big Blue


About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on April 4, 2013, in Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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