Jul 022013

EDIT: Based on feedback, we’ve made a few adjustments to the higher tiers and added a new physical reward.

We’re currently planning on doing a kickstarter for our next RPG, Cosmic Star Heroine, in or around September. Here’s what we’re thinking as far as reward tiers go (note, this is still a work-in-progress and is subject to change).

$1 – Good Will (No reward tier)
$10 – Digital copy of Cosmic Star Heroine
$15 – Digital strategy guide & Zeboyd Games wallpaper & forum avatars (taken from Cosmic Star Heroine & some of our other games)
$20 – Cosmic Star Heroine soundtrack
$25 – Digital copies of all of our previous games on Steam & Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 soundtrack
$30 – Digital art book for Cosmic Star Heroine (showing both completed art & also drafts & sketches)
$35 – Second digital copy of the game (share with a friend or have it on more platforms!) & Special Thanks mention in Credits
$50 – Access to the Cosmic Star Heroine beta
$75 – Inclusion in the in-game “online” spy directory (Your name & a short description will appear in Cosmic Star Heroine in the top-secret spy database for all other secret agents to see)
$100 – Cosmic Star Heroine T-Shirt or a collection of Zeboyd Games Posters
$200 – T-Shirt & Poster collection
$300 – Physical book of Molly the Were-Zompire and Epiphany in Spaaace (Does not include T-Shirt & Poster collection)
$400 – Book and either T-Shirt or Poster Collection
$500 – Book, T-Shirt, and Poster collection
$750 – Be a minor NPC in the game
$1000 – “Patron of the Arts” mention in the Credits
$3000 – Be an NPC that can be recruited for the spy base in Cosmic Star Heroine (Note, not playable in combat)

Except in cases where it doesn’t make sense or is otherwise indicated, reward tiers would also include previous tier rewards (for example, you only get 1 inclusion in-game & it just uses the highest tier for that reward). We’d spell everything out in the actual kickstarter so as to avoid confusion.

 Posted by at 11:29 am

  29 Responses to “Cosmic Star Heroine Kickstarter Reward Tiers (Work-In-Progress)”

  1. The RPG Kickstarters I’ve browsed usually offer a digital copy of the game and/or soundtrack for equal or less than what the game will ultimately sell for. So, is CSH shooting for a $10 price point instead of $5? Will the digital soundtrack sell for $10 instead of $4 like the PA4 soundtrack did?

    Or are the $10 and $20 tiers basically, “give us much more money than these will sell for, and thanks for your support”?

    Obviously I don’t expect you to anser the above questions so early in the game’s development. I also don’t mean to criticize. It’s just something to think about.

  2. “My biggest problem with this list is that it’s… well, boring. It’s the exact same rewards that I’ve turned down over and over again. I’m not interested in soundtracks, so that’s a couple tiers I won’t go for. The physical book is kind of neat, but at $300, I’m not sure it’s THAT neat.

    I’d like to see some unique items pop up here. Why not offer the option to help design/write a side-quest? An ultimate weapon? An enemy? Maybe the artist can do custom pixel pictures (So I could pay $300 and get my family done as pixel people to put as my PC wallpaper).”

    The problem with those suggestions you’ve made is that they either interfere with the design or we’d have to price them too high to be worthwhile. Like for example, you suggested custom pixel art at $300 but that’s potentially a more difficult reward to fulfill than putting someone in the game as an NPC which is typically priced at $500-$1000 in kickstarters. Adding a good side quest to a game can easily take a few weeks so what would we price that at? $5k? $10k? It wouldn’t be worth it for backers. Designing a weapon would have limitations (each character uses a specific type of weapon) and enemies would have to make sense for the setting (although admittedly, there’s a lot more leeway there). In any case, design rewards are difficult – price them too low and now you’ve outsourced the design of your game (which results in a worse game) unless you put really low limits on the number of people who can redeem that prize at which point, why bother?

    Anyway, we expect most individuals who participate in the kickstarter will go for the low tiers. The stuff at the higher tiers aren’t supposed to be good value for your money; they’re supposed to be nice little bonuses for people who want to help out more.

  3. My biggest problem with this list is that it’s… well, boring. It’s the exact same rewards that I’ve turned down over and over again. I’m not interested in soundtracks, so that’s a couple tiers I won’t go for. The physical book is kind of neat, but at $300, I’m not sure it’s THAT neat.

    I’d like to see some unique items pop up here. Why not offer the option to help design/write a side-quest? An ultimate weapon? An enemy? Maybe the artist can do custom pixel pictures (So I could pay $300 and get my family done as pixel people to put as my PC wallpaper).

    How about offering a few Skype “lunches” with people who’d like to meet the duo behind Zeboyd Games? Or you’ll insert someone’s one or two lines into a book or something in the game.

    I think if you want people to give more than $10 for the game, they need to feel involved. These people are handing you their money with no guarantee of a product (I don’t doubt Zeboyd Games at all, but some might), so give them something to get excited about. A poster and a T-Shirt? I can go to a print shop and make my own damn poster and T-Shirt. Give me something UNIQUE and you can have my money.

    My two cents. I do want to add that I’ve played all four Zeboyd Games products and I’ve loved (and completed!) them all. I would jump at the chance to give more than $10 here, but so far I don’t see a reason.

  4. Make sure you don’t go overboard on physical merchandise too soon. I have had 2 kickstarters complete, and the people behind them talked about how unexpected and rough the physical goods became because of issues with shipping such as addresses that didn’t work and the merchandise was returned or goods that didn’t get returned and people saying they didn’t get the goods so the game makers ate the cost of sending more out to people who said they didn’t get theirs. The fact that you personally will be buying boxes and shipping all the physical goods manually is a very large task depending on just how many people go for the physical goods tier. A lot of money goes into that if you don’t respect what it can cost you in both cash and time.

    As for your tiers, to be honest, they are kind of boring. When you make your pitch, make sure you add a lot of art to the kickstarter page and play up the art style for all its worth to get people to notice and want digital artbooks, wallpapers, and posters.

  5. I like the idea of a physical book copy of Molly The Were-Zompire and Epiphany in Spaaace. Have you guys thought about selling those after the Kickstarter for those who want them?

  6. I do respect that you took the time to address my comment. When BoD VII came out and started doing well, I was super excited. I really wanted the old-school RPG to make a comeback, but felt like it was sorely in need of evolution. Your approach was to streamline it and rely on parody, which worked for two games. Hell, CSTW was probably my favorite game of the lot.

    The PA games, which I assumed you didn’t write, probably seemed like a great opportunity at the time. I’m sure in retrospect we can all agree that they were a good learning experience, but not really great games. The stuff you guys did wasn’t bad – it’s just that the self-referential, cheeky writing style and convoluted plot did it in. I honestly couldn’t even get through the fourth, despite the better graphics and solid combat.

    But contrary to popular belief, I don’t think clones are a bad thing. I liked CSTW well enough. Hell, it was a small part of the reason our team decided to take the plunge and Kickstart our own RPG. It succeeded but we still had to plunk out over 40k of our own money. And that’s just for a game that’s a half-evolution over Suikoden.

    I realize a lot of what you make in gross goes to taxes and other business/living expenses. I’ve had the luxury of working with a composer I’ve known my whole life. Although, it seems like you’re spending far too much on music. I know plenty of fantastic small-name composers who would do a full soundtrack for an established indie company practically for free. It’s all about name recognition.

    I guess I just don’t see it. We spent 90% of development creating an engine. Once the engine was done development flew by. It’s probably impossible to create CSH with only one artist, so I guess that makes some sense.

    I just hate to see no-name devs with fantastic prototypes get shut out (because let’s face it, the established indies treat the up-and-comers like garbage) of an opportunity to do something great because everyone is investing their money in tired genres and old conventions. If CSH is truly an evolution in design, which for 100k it damn well should be, then the KS is completely justifiable. My two cents.

  7. Just throwing a random idea out there. Have you guys tried talking to the humble bundle people about setting up a “kickstarter” like thing thru them. I would think a bulk of the heavy lifting for them would already be done, considering they already have the money collecting and giving the digital goods out in place. It would seem to be a natural extension of what they are already doing. Reason I bring this up, is from what I understand, their cut of the money is much lower then what kickstarter does.

  8. $1 million dollars may sound like a lot but that’s gross, not actual revenue. Once you take out the distributor’s cut (Microsoft, Valve, etc.), transaction fees (VAT, sales tax, credit card fees), Penny Arcade’s cut for PA3 & 4, the composer’s cut (we couldn’t afford to pay the CSTW composer up front so instead we gave him a rather generous percentage of the profit for that game), and taxes and then you take what’s left and divide that by 7 (3.5 years x 2 people), that’s really not the extravagant amount that you may think it is. Yes, we’re doing well by standard indie game developer standards (most of which can’t afford to make games as anything other than a part-time hobby) but we’re hardly rolling around in money.

    If this kickstarter raised $100k (which is probably what we’ll end up setting the initial goal), around $30k would disappear from expenses (kickstarter & amazon fees & reward fulfilment costs). Of the remaining $70k, about half of that would go towards paying for music/sound & miscellaneous development expenses (tools & hardware to test on). Leaving $35k for taxes & to help pay for our own personal living expenses while we make the game – hardly a lot of money for 2 people with families to live on (thankfully, we’ll still have some royalties coming in from our older games). Of course, if the kickstarter proved wildly successful, we’d have more money to spend on the game’s development (could even hire additional team members).

    Obviously, you don’t like the games we make, but our goal isn’t to clone the past; it’s to take what worked in the past and build upon it with our own unique style & ideas.

  9. Why not a 5-10k tier to add a backer NPC that IS playable in combat?

  10. You’re obviously going to delete this comment, but after talking so much about how you sold over 100k copies of CSTW on Steam alone, you should really address why you need a Kickstarter to fund what amounts to a late 16-bit RPG. I realize PA3 and especially PA4 tanked from your POV, but they still sold far more copies than most indies could ever dream. I could see doing this if your team was creating a truly innovative product, but it seems like you’re just moving up the RPG-cloning ladder. Dragon Warrior, check – Final Fantasy IV, check – Grandia, check….Suikoden..upcoming. I truly hope the public wises up and decides not to pay your salaries for 18 months when you clearly mismanaged your what, 1 million dollars in gross revenue over the past 3 years? It’s no better than all of these has-been game developers coming out of the woodwork to create games that would have been popular in the 90s.

  11. I like that you brought the $75 tier. Moves it from “a bit too much” to “pretty tempting” for me.

    I was looking through some of the other kickstarters I’ve backed and was going to suggest some kind of digital short story to set the scene for the beginning or the game or to flesh out some side character, but I guess that’s what the $300 tier would be (except physical).

    Looking forward to backing in or around September!

  12. Went ahead and made some adjustments based on feedback. Think this layout is a bit better with less of a gap between rewards & a new physical tier (yeah, I think we’ll do the book after all).

  13. Would the $50 one include the 2 games of the $35 tier? If it does then I think there should be an option in-between for people that would only like one game but also the beta access and the thanks, maybe at $40-$45?

  14. Also, something that Gunpoint did in their more expensive version: They gave you 9 development versions of the game at various stages. You have a Beta tier for CSH, but do you happen to have old, in-development versions of Breath of Death, Cthulu and (if allowed) Rainslick that you can add to one of the higher tiers as a “Behind the Scenes, here’s how the sausage is being made” thing?

  15. With that, it appears that the $25 tier would be the sweet spot (Has the Soundtrack and all games) and I think that most Kickstarters have that as their most popular tier. Can you fund CSH with a bunch of $25 donations?

    I think that the $100 feels a bit lacking. It’s a cool gimmick, but usually $100 is the “Physical Rewards within the USA” threshold (although I know how much of a pain physical rewards are).

    I wonder if it’s better to lower the $100 to $75 and add a new, limited $100 tier “Name an item/area/monster”? (not sure what a general purpose $100 tier would make sense)

    Also, I wonder if it’s worth spending the effort to create a limited edition boxed version of the game for the $250 tier? (I know, nightmare).

    International Shipping of Physical Goods WILL suck ass though, condolences for that in advance!

  16. We have implemented suggestions from beta testers in the past beyond just bug fixing. Of course, these suggestions tend to be things that are relatively easy to implement (like rebalancing a battle, buffing an ability, or making the game slightly more convenient) since by the time beta starts, the game is mostly done. In any case, some people like the opportunity to play games before official launch and see firsthand the final stages of development. If you don’t think it’s a good reward, well, there are plenty of other rewards to shoot for. 🙂

    We considered books of Molly & Epiphany as a reward tier but ended up deciding that they would be really difficult to price.

  17. Freykin,

    Until Zeboyd says something like “you can shape how the game develops” I don’t think that’s the kind of assumption we can make. If what they mean is early access and we can report bugs, that’s fine. I just want to know that’s what it is. I guess I just don’t think that access to an unfinished game is something I want unless there’s a lot of replay value in the title.

  18. “I was actually looking forward to holding a physical Molly the Were-Zompire”

    yes I agree as well

  19. Sounds great! Wish I had $3k to drop on the last one. Although I am disappointed the books you talked about on Twitter didn’t make it on the list. I was actually looking forward to holding a physical Molly the Were-Zompire.

  20. Being part of a beta means you get to provide feedback, which means you get to help shape how the game develops.

    All these tiers look great to me, I would most likely do the $125 one, money allowing.

  21. Can you explain why I should care about getting a beta of a single-player JRPG?

    Also I would encourage you to have at least a rough draft of T-Shirt designs for the kickstarter launch. How a shirt looks plays a big part in if I want to wear it in public. At least for me, understated is better than giant pixelated anime girl.

  22. I like these reward tiers, though I must admit that it would be nice to see something between the $50 tier and the $100 tier.

    What is the ultimate goal number that you’re aiming at?

  23. I’ll probably go with the $125 T-Shirt tier (if they have them in my size), especially if it includes the $100 tier reward as well…. 😀

  24. The only other thing I would have liked to see was a physical copy of the game! Man that would have been so cool to own. Maybe one day we can get a kickstarter for a physical compilation of all Zeboyd Games. 🙂

  25. I would love to see a physical copy of the game and art book. I know I would definitely back at that level if it were around 150.00 or 200.00.

  26. All of them seem reasonable to me. Watch as we try to get you to add as many crazy suggestions as possible. Limited number: $200 – Name a Cosmic Star Heroine pet that appears in the Secret Spy Base. Finally Rafanoldo the Goldfish can be shared with the world. $2000 – Name a planets moon after yourself. $2500 – Said moon now has a hidden item.

  27. Very nicely set up. As I went down the support tiers I immediately thought, oh, I’d like that too, which a good Kickstarter tiered system should do to get maximum pledges. Having a physical reward not start until $125 is a good call as well.

    I’ll be interested to see the Kickstarter.

  28. These look great, was hopping to see a “customize a gravestone” kind of reward but the spy database sounds sick!

  29. Currently got my eye on the $100 pledge, although I wish I could drop the $3000 for the big NPC spot. I hope some people do that, so I can recruit some cool supporters.

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