The Wonderful 101 Remaster’s Kickstarter is the Most Pointless So Far
Gamers from all over the world were caught off-guard on November 3rd 2019 when renowned Japanese developer Platinum Games, the masterminds behind great titles such as Bayonetta, Astral Chain and Nier Automata, announced The Wonderful 101‘s remaster…..’s Kickstarter campaign. This is the long-awaited return of the Wii U cult classic. A game widely praised by critics and fans alike, but also a game that failed to make an impact because, well, it was a Wii U exclusive. I love the fact Platinum is keen on giving this game a second chance, but my question is, did they really need a Kickstarter campaign for that? And a sloppy one at that?
Let me be clear, I don’t exactly dislike Kickstarter projects. In fact, with the exception of the massive disappointment that was Shenmue III, a game I actually backed, we’ve had some notable positive results over the past years, such as Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained, and most importantly, Shovel Knight. I understand when smaller studios decide to create a Kickstarter campaign: they need financial resources and a means to properly calculate demand for their project, as all they have (in bunches) is time. But this isn’t a small studio we’re talking about. We’re talking about Platinum, probably the most renowned Japanese development studio making games nowadays.
Platinum is a development studio, not a publisher. I would understand the need for additional means of funding if they wanted to become a publisher for their games, but there a few key factors that make me feel skeptical about this particular decision of using crowdfunding money to achieve these goals. The first one is the fact that, being a remaster, they could have easily forfeited physical releases in favor of an easier, digital-exclusive initial launch. Thus using the vast amount of money they would sell regardless in order to finance the manufacturing of disks and cartridges later on. Considering they don’t need money to develop the remaster, as it is basically finished (the Kickstarter page states that digital copies will be delivered in April).
Another thing that bugs me is the timing of this announcement. Platinum had just received a big fat investment from Chinese mega-corporation Tencent and so far, I have no idea what this investment was directed at. Platinum states that most of its projects are funded by partnerships with publishes, be it Square Enix, Nintendo, or the like, so that means they have just received enough cash to, at the very least, handle a simple release as the remaster of a smaller title like Wonderful 101, right?
Finally, and this is something that bothers me in general about Kickstarter, I need to talk about some of the backer tiers available at Platinum’s page. It starts off with pricey, but reasonable smaller tiers. For around thirty-six bucks, you’ll get a digital copy. For forty, you’ll get a physical one, with both being slated for release in April. If you add fifteen more dollars to your physical order, you’ll get a keychain.
Things only get more absurd from there. For one hundred dollars, you’ll get the previous tier, plus a t-shirt, a CD, a digital comic book, and the honor of being blocked by Hideki Kamiya on Twitter. I don’t exactly see how that’s something worth spending on, but as of February 4th, five hundred forty people have invested their money in order not to be able to read a man’s social media profile. There is even a tier that costs one thousand eight hundred and forty dollars (plus tax and shipping costs), and if you pay close attention to what comes in this bundle, you wouldn’t guess more than three hundred dollars on The Price Is Right. Those extra tiers are just too shady for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that Platinum is unearthing The Wonderful 101 from the graveyard that is the Wii U’s library, especially because they’re planning to release it for PCs and PS4 as well. I just think the overall purpose of the crowdfunding project is too nonsensical, as the game itself is basically ready, and the company behind it has just received a massive financial investment from outside sources. A developer as trustworthy as Platinum could have easily earned a ton of cash without the need of a weirdly planned Kickstarter campaign.
By the way, paying one hundred bucks for Kamiya to block you on Twitter? You can do that for free if you write him any single thing he disagrees on. There, just saved you some cash.