Chronicles of Elyria takes to Kickstarter today. With a funding goal of $900K, and already deep into development with $500K of the studio’s own money already invested, the Soulbound Studios folks are hoping that months and years of planning and conceptualizing will be enough to bring players and backers flocking to their incredibly ambitious MMO design.
By now, most of you have heard of Chronicles of Elyria via our site and others, but for those who haven’t, you can find tons more about the game at the official site, and on their Kickstarter. Frankly, the game’s ideas and systems go way beyond what I’ve written here, so you really should read up on some of our development journals written by founder Jeromy Walsh. but the question remains: is Chronicles of Elyria worth your pledge?
Unlike a lot of Kickstarter projects, Elyria isn’t coming begging for money without any proof of concepts or hard work already put in. Soulbound Studios has already fronted about $500,000 dollars of development and they’re already four months into active development as well. They’ve released videos of in-game footage, weather tech, aging and dying of characters, even combat demos at PAX East. They’re also using Unreal 4, which means they don’t have to waste tons of time and money building their own engine – the hard work has been done by Epic in that regard.
Now, like the open development practices of Soulbound Studios, I’m going to be candid with you. This little article is sponsored placement, but not a sponsored endorsement. What that means in this case is that Soulbound paid for this piece to be highlighted on the front page of our site for a full 24-hour period. What they didn’t pay for were my own personal words. They offered to write the introductory post for their Kickstarter, but I asked them to let me do so. I’d give them a draft to preview (since they are paying for the placement), and if they didn’t like what I had to say, we’d run their own piece instead.
Some of you trust me, some of you don't, and I know not everyone agrees with my views on the genre. That said, here I am writing this: we should support Soulbound’s Kickstarter. I’ve been burned by projects in the past, myself. I get the malaise of player-funded development. But every so often, an idea comes along that really seems to be worth supporting. What’s more is that Soulbound’s passion project is already knee-deep in development and backed by the studio’s own money. Their ideas are strong, clear, and they’re proving quickly to have the knowhow needed to make their dream a reality.
But a project like Chronicles of Elyria is going to be too risky for any big studio to take on. MMOs, due to chasing Blizzard for a decade, seem like too much of a financial burden to even attempt and the boon of venture capital that once was flush with cash has all but dried up. It’s now on the players’ shoulders to help developers make the games we want to see. It’s my opinion that Chronicles of Elyria is one such game. Let me be Gandhi and say that we players must be the change we want to see in the genre. Soulbound Studios wants to deliver the sort of new MMORPG experience you’ve been craving for years, but they won’t get there without your help.