Black Isle Studios Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Post-apocalyptic Strategy/RPG

We've been left wondering for a fairly long time what the revived Black Isle Studios division of Interplay might be cooking up, and we finally have our answer. The folks at Black Isle Studios (which includes Fallout veterans Chris Taylor and Mark O'Green) have launched a crowdfunding campaign to stop the impending apocalypse and also to start development on a "post-apocalyptic strategy RPG", which apparently includes a strong base-building component and also a branching storyline.

So far, so good, right? Well, unfortunately, taking a deeper look reveals a situation that isn't quite as simple and jolly as we hoped it would be.

First, there's no indication on the website of how much money is needed, or for that matter, how much money has been raised. You have to actually open the website's source code to unearth a widget that shows how much money has been raised so far, which strikes me as extremely counterintuitive. Granted, the way the campaign has been set up is undoubtedly quirky and humorous, but that doesn't really justify the lack of transparency.

Second, the crowdfunding campaign has been set up to get the money to develop a prototype. Frankly, I'm dumbfounded by this. If Interplay can't fund this prototype, why should I believe that they can fund the whole development cycle? I admit there's something I might be missing, but this doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence.

Third, per the crowdfunding campaign's FAQ, donators won't get a copy of the finished title if and when it is completed.

Fourth and last, and this is perhaps the most worrying thing, all of the money goes straight to Interplay regardless of whether the prototype gets funded or not.

On the other hand, the description of the game they have in mind does sound interesting and its codename (Project V13) suggests that they will start from the assets and storyline snippets developed for Fallout Online (which shared the same codename) as a base. Cue the announcement video:

On to the details:
Project V13 (PV13) is the first planned Black Isle Studios release in years, a post-apocalyptic strategy RPG. You will create a character to represent yourself within the game world. Your character will be a hardy adventurer from a variety of backgrounds; one of the last remaining humans, a new breed mutant, or a technologically advanced cyborg. The choice is yours.

Once you have determined your character's background, you will found your "colony". From a deserted city, a broken down military base, or even the ruins of an oil pumping station, the colony will be yours to rebuild and control. Attract non-player characters for guards, peons, scientists, and other activities. Or, if you are the type that so desires, shanghai the NPCs. Put them to work rebuilding your society and improving your colony.

Meanwhile, you will experience grand adventures to gather the resources and ancient technologies as well as fight back the enemy hordes. Your character will gain experience, advance skills, learn new talents and gain access to incredibly powerful equipment. Or die trying.

Explore the world, meet friends, and fight your neighbors for control of resources. PV13 will be your chance to rebuild a devastated world.

For completeness, here's a description of what the donors will get:
$10+ contributions will receive:

'¢Access to a special Black Isle forum. You can read about the ongoing fight to save the world. (And PV13.)
'¢A copper BIMAR forum badge.
'¢A Certificate of Recognition at the end of 30 days.

$20+ contributions will receive:

'¢Access to the private forum as well as posting privileges.
'¢A silver BIMAR forum badge.
'¢A Certificate of Merit at the end of 30 days.

And last, but certainly not least, the Top 20 Contributors. Those who really care enough to Save the World. Obviously the most Intelligent and Charming Visionaries among us. Those who should be honored by parades, statues, and overpriced stadiums.

We'll put them on the Hero board. It's the least we can do. But, surprise, we will do more.

When the Mayan Apocalypse is over the Top 20/Hero Board contributors will receive:

'¢Access to the private forum as well as posting privileges.
'¢A gold BIMAR forum badge/banner.
'¢And a Certificate of Valor at the end of 30 days.
'¢Hero Board listing.

Ultimately, I just can't, in good conscience, recommend people to donate to this campaign. I try to normally remain neutral in matters of crowdfunding, given that I think our readers can judge for themselves whether something it's worth their money or not, but I thought it was important to note the overall lack of transparency of something that is still newsworthy for us, for good or ill.

Thanks, No Mutants Allowed.