PS Vita owners really do get a rough deal when it comes to Kickstarter. While we’ve seen some fantastic games released that have been crowdfunded, even more have fallen by the wayside. Only a handful seem to include the Vita in their funding plans from day one. It feels as if we’d be safer turning to forex trading instead as crowdfunding usually leaves us taking huge risks when it comes to backing projects. One such release was one of the most successful video game projects in Kickstarter history – Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night…
The project started off as an incredibly promising idea. Intended as a spiritual successor to Castlevania it had an impressive pedigree. Spearheaded by Koji Igarashi, creator of the original game, it was in good hands. Planned for PC, PS4 and Xbox One it looked impressive and offered digital and even physical releases to backers. Stretch goals were ambitious but such was the lure of Castlevania publicity for the campaign was immense and over the course of its run it raised over $5.5 million.
As with many Kickstarter funded games, the PS Vita wasn’t included in the campaign from the start. As with the also-cancelled Wii U port, this was a stretch goal and was added once the campaign reached $3.5 million. A target reached comfortably, everything seemed encouraging. Not only was that goal exceeded, but a second game was also funded – a retro 8-bit styled mini game which was to be provided to backers which became Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon.
When it was completed, all backers were sent the download code to obtain their copies for Curse Of The Moon and at that time everything seemed fine. While the main console and PC game was being developed in Unreal Engine, the plan was to port this across to the PS Vita and WiiU in parallel with the game’s creation. In essence this would mean that not only would the game be ported but both platforms would have a development tool available to other studios as well. So with plenty of updates coming from the team, everything looked positive until a shock announcement came…
The Vita port was cancelled unexpectedly in August 2018 when Igarashi made an announcement to backers, blaming Sony on the decision. He argued that the main influencing factors were their upcoming plans to discontinue the console, combined with physical game production in the West coming to an end although PS Vita backers were offered the choice of a refund or the chance to change their pledge to another version of the game.
Now for those who opted for a refund this worked out rather well. Not only did they get their money back, but a game selling for £7.99 as well as an added bonus. Backers who chose to swap to another platform still received the full game so they still got the main game so again there were no real issues. But what of the Vita owners who opted for the physical version at the $60 tier?
Now here is something that I still can’t quite figure out even to this day. While the game itself was cancelled, there are many backers who were only interested in a PS Vita release. We may had received the digital version of Curse Of The Moon, but a physical release was produced of this by Limited Run Games. Granted, this wasn’t the game we backed, but I am sure that many would have given serious consideration to accepting a limited release physical Vita game rather than having a refund.
As for it being a financially viable option,even if the developers purchased the games themselves from LRG they would have only cost $30 at most and a further $15 for global shipping, far less than the $60 backers paid. And from the $30 sales price of the physical game, a percentage of that went to the Bloodstained development team anyway so potentially this could have been a win-win option for everyone.
Instead we were left with just a digital 8-bit tribute. It could have been worse though. The Switch port – which is probably closest to what the Vita version would have been – has been plagued with technical problems so who knows what a Vita port might have been like. Maybe we had a lucky escape with this one?
That was a $60 tier so surely $30 of that could have gone to LRG to pay for the games, $15 for global shipping… and being an LRG release they would still get a cut from the $30 back!