It is generally the case that crowdfunded games see extra features "unlocked" through stretch goals -- extra maps, items, specialized NPCs and other trimmings have all been promised to backers in exchange for exceeding baseline funding targets.
In the case of Double Fine's Massive Chalice
, however, project lead Brad Muir sees the game's open funding effort as an opportunity to incorporate the sorts of features that might rarely see the light of day under a traditional funding model. For instance, same-sex marriage.
"We did not talk about [the possibility of same-sex marriage] until we launched the Kickstarter," Muir tells Rock, Paper, Shotgun
. "We were so focused on pure pragmatic mechanics and how it would work and coupling and all these things... That was something I got kinda blindsided by."
"It kinda makes me feel shitty that it's not something I'd thought of," Muir admits. "I think it's sort of hetero privilege that I didn't see it coming."
Muir also acknowledges that had Double Fine gone the conventional route and approached a publisher with the game -- provided it got greenlit at all -- the issue of same-sex relationships would likely have been vetoed as too risky.
If somebody did think about it during that whole thing, they would've probably just killed it because it is such a controversial issue. They'd probably not want to have it associated with the game at all. And then they'd give me a PR company line that I'd have to tell in every interview, and it'd be super, super shitty. And then any gay gamers who are coming to the game and playing it and wanting to see themselves represented would just be really disappointed.
Double Fine's record-setting 2012 Kickstarter was premised on the argument that its proposed game could not be made under a risk-averse publisher model. Other developers such as Obsidian have appealed to fans using much the same line. However, Massive Chalice
illustrates that crowdfunding can be a means not just to resurrect old genres, but to push for better and more equitable representation as well.
While Muir says he does not have an idea locked in quite yet on how same-sex relationships will be implemented mechanically, Massive Chalice
has already surpassed its funding target and is set to be funded on June 27th. You can check out the Kickstarter here