Police Quest creator and ex-cop Jim Walls recently attempted a Kickstarter campaign to create a first-person action/adventure spiritual successor to Sierra's classic point-and-click adventure series. Entitled Precinct, the project failed to ignite much enthusiasm with only $86K of its $500K goal funded with only 10 days to go. So instead of cancelling the project outright, Walls - along with his ex-Sierra cohort Robert Lindsley, and a couple other devs - decided to start a new crowdfunding campaign with a questionable structure.
The new campaign at fund.precinctgame.com does away with rewards completely, because the developer thought they were too expensive. "Because the current project rewards are so costly (taking up nearly $200K of the total amount we were trying to raise), we have decided to remove all rewards," said Lindsley on Precinct's final Kickstarter update. "We also decided to make the campaign about the game, not elaborate and costly reward tiers that ultimately take away from the game development budget," noted the description on the new Precinct page.
Instead, backers can pay however much they want to go towards a "staged funding" model, in which various monetary goals will go towards giving people a better idea of what the game actually is. At $25K the developer will create a "Proof of Concept," playable build for PC and Mac that will show off what the game aims to be. At $90K a vertical slice will show a bit more, followed by a demo at $250K, then the full game at $400K.
Incredibly, players will be charged when each one of these goals is met. So if Precinct raises $200K and that's it, people will still be charged and never get more than an incomplete demo.
When asked on the game's FAQ about what would happen if the project falls short somewhere between $25K and actually funding the game, the developer said "If that happens then the full game won't be built. We sincerely hope that doesn't happen, and hope the prototype will encourage people to back the full project."
Lindsley noted that people were rather confused by what this first-person action adventure would be. "One of the things we've heard is that you want to see more," he said in the final Kickstarter update. "You want to understand what the game is going to be like. How is it going to play? How is the first-person perspective going to work? What will the balance of action and adventure be?" But rather than explain these totally valid concerns, the developer wants a non-refundable $25K just to fund a "Proof of Concept."
So it's basically asking for money to fund the pitch, so it can ask for more money.
That being said, anyone who backs Precinct at all will receive a DRM-free copy of the game if and when it comes out.
As far as what Precinct actually is, it seems to be a hybrid between the point-and-click adventures of yore and a first-person shooter. "Playing in the first person perspective, Precinct's real-time 3D environments and gameplay deliver significant realism to the classic police adventure style Jim is famous for creating," read the game's description. "Along with staple elements such as adventure and puzzles, players also encounter intense fast action gameplay sequences that include shootouts, high speed car chases, investigations, foot pursuits, hand-to-hand combat, and more."
Of course, none of this has been shown off yet and it apparently won't be unless the developer can raise $25K. After a day it's racked up $6615 of its $400K goal.