After a successful pilot phase -- during which Crackdown 2 creators Ruffian Games suffered somewhat for announcing a Highland Games-themed puzzle-strategy game instead of Crackdown 3 -- Square Enix has launched its "Collective" program into full service.
Collective is a means whereby independent developers can solicit support from Square Enix in promoting and marketing crowdfunded video games. By submitting a title to Collective, developers can gauge public interest in their project and, if it proves to be successful in attracting prospective supporters, receive support from Square Enix both during the crowdfunding phase of development and once the product hits the virtual store shelves.
That's not all, though; part of the idea behind the program is to revitalize some old intellectual property that has laid dormant for years, largely from the Square Enix-owned Eidos back catalogue. So far, the IPs announced that independent developers will be able to fiddle with include gecko-based platformer Gex; action-adventure series Fear Effect, noteworthy upon its original release for having one of the first instances of an openly gay playable character; and old-school Quake II-powered RPG Anachronox. All three of these properties haven't seen any action for years now but were well-known in their day -- Anachronox in particular maintains a strong cult following even today -- and thus are ripe for exploration by new, creative developers. This aspect has not yet been finalized, however, so the current form of Collective accepts only original submissions.
But what of the three projects that passed through the pilot Collective program? Well, the first of the teams to successfully make it through -- Tuque Games, with its procedurally generated "post-human" action RPG World War Machine -- will begin an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with Square Enix's support towards the end of the month. By the end of the pilot period, around 90% of respondents had indicated they wanted to see more of the game and were willing to throw some cash behind it, so the team at Tuque games will doubtless now be hoping these same people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Ruffian Games didn't fare so well, unfortunately, garnering an approval rating of only 40% for Game of Glens, largely because it wasn't Crackdown 3. Consequently, the team has decided to give Game of Glens a rest to focus on "other, bigger projects," according to a statement made to our sister site Eurogamer. Ruffian's keeping tight-lipped on exactly what these projects are right now, but back in February Ruffian's producer Jim Cope said that one of the unannounced projects would be particularly appealing to Crackdown fans.
New Collective pitches will be published every Monday, starting in mid-April. Initially, as previously mentioned, all projects will be original work, but once the terms and conditions have been hammered out by the legal team, we can expect to start seeing pitches for new Gex, Fear Effect and Anachronox games very soon.
Find out more about Collective on the official site.