Let’s start with a disclaimer.
DO NOT – under any circumstances – donate to the Kickstarter I’m about to link to. It probably won’t matter because it’s going to get a cease and desist letter from Disney’s lawyers in the next 24 hours, but at best you’d be throwing money away and there’s no need to take the chance. You’d get more value out of a lottery ticket, and this kind of behavior shouldn’t be encouraged.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Devin Tripp has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for a “Star Wars Open World RPG” and it just might be the most delusional crowdfunding campaign I’ve ever seen. Aside from the numerous spelling and grammatical errors that make it seem as if the author has only a passing familiarity with Star Wars (“obi one kinobi” makes an appearance in the opening line), there are so many red flags that it almost has to be a joke, if not for the fact that I long ago stopped underestimating humanity’s capacity for self-deceit. I’ve seen people promote a lot of nonsensical things without the slightest hint of irony or awareness.
If the campaign is a joke, then it’s a well-executed one and would still be worth sharing for that reason alone (and hats off to Devin if that’s the case). His campaign is promising a Jedi-themed Star Wars RPG with the graphical quality of Battlefront delivered on the scale of The Witcher III or Fallout 4. Even though such games cost tens of millions of dollars and spend years in development, Tripp is only asking for $200,000 and expects to ship his hodgepodge of video game buzzwords before the end of 2017. The $200,000 will be used to hire professionals because Tripp is, by his own admission, “not a very good programmer and…an even worse artist.”
Of course, Tripp hasn’t secured the rights to make anything in the Star Wars universe (he says he’s looking into reaching out to Disney), which means the whole project is almost certainly DOA. It’s a shame, because the game he’s pitching actually would be pretty cool, even if everything about his process is completely impractical. It’s basically a case study in what not to do when running a Kickstarter campaign, a page filled with impossible promises that have no chance of becoming a reality. It can only lose people money if it gets funded, which is why it’s not worth backing, even on a lark.
Given Tripp’s age – his bio says he’s only 20 – I’m inclined to write it off as an instance of youthful exuberance rather than deliberate malfeasance, and in a weird way I hope he keeps dreaming. But these kinds of projects only damage people’s confidence in the crowdfunding model that so many creators rely on. If Tripp really wants to make a full-scale Star Wars RPG, then I hope he learns a bit more about how the game development process actually works before he starts asking other people for money.