Fans of space dogfighting perked up earlier this week with the announcement of Starfighter Inc., a space-combat sim being developed by some of the core designers behind LucasArt’s beloved X-Wing and TIE Fighter games from the 1990s. While the multiplayer-centric approach (described as “World of Tanks meets Counter-Strike in space”) appealed to many, others that most fondly remember those LucasArts classics for their deep single player campaigns were less enthused by the lack of anything similar for Starfighter Inc.
Those fans might have something to look forward to now, but only if the game does extremely well in its funding campaign. Developer Impeller Studios has added five more stretch goal tiers on top of its original two, with tiers 6 and 7 being a “dynamic single-player campaign” and a “scripted single-player campaign.” How much more than the studio’s initial goal of $250,000 does the game need to raise in order to get those features? For a dynamic campaign fans will have to pony up $10.5 million, and for a scripted, cinematic campaign they will need $17 million.
Starfighter Inc. is off to a great start out the bat, with over $97,000 raised at the time of this writing with 29 days to go. Kicktraq projects that the project is trending toward nearly $800,000, but that’s still an order of magnitude away from what Impeller wants to develop a single-player campaign. Why so expensive? Impeller is staffed with industry veterans, who have worked on a wide swathe of AAA titles, and so they know exactly what it takes to deliver a high-quality experience. Rather than delivering a slapdash single-player mode, the studio has opted to aim high and either raise the funds to do it right now or just release a solid multiplayer experience that can then fund a subsequent single player expansion:
“If you’re wondering why the single player campaigns are so expensive, think about the last Call of Duty, Mass Effect or Halo game you played. Those games cost upwards of $50,000,000 to make (on the cheap side), because it takes a large group of people working for a long time to deliver something of that quality… We discussed at length and decided that while we could deliver a single player campaign on the cheap, we’d rather do it the right way. Our hope is that we can work with the Kickstarter community to raise these funds or at least get us to the point where we can produce a great multiplayer game that will then fund the single player campaign.”
Ten million dollars for a space sim is impressive, but not unheard of. Star Citizen set a world record last year when it broke $55 million in crowdfunding, but that was through the game’s own system, which has been raising money for a few years now. Star Citizen‘s Kickstarter wrapped up in 2012 with a more modest $2.1 million, which is nowhere near Starfighter Inc.‘s ambitious single-player requirement.
Go check out its campaign page and tell everyone you know if you really want to push for a single player campaign. All 10 of the top-tier reward of $10,000 (which includes designing a ship, naming an in-game corporation, and schmoozing with the devs) are still available, if you’re feeling particularly flush with cash and dedicated to the cause.