Mystery Defense Grid 2 investor "represents a group of people who could revive independent games"

Meet Steven Dengler, a serial Kickstarter-backer.

The mystery person who made Defense Grid 2 possible after it had fallen short on Kickstarter is serial games-investor Steven Dengler.

He's the CEO of currency converter site XE and also the founder of Dracogen, an investment company (maybe just him) "committed to helping fun and awesome things happen". Dracogen has pumped money into projects such as The Banner Saga, Double Fine Adventure, Project Eternity, Wasteland 2 and even the Veronica Mars Movie. Dracogen threw more than $10,000 at Torment: Tides of Numenera, apparently. The list of projects and studios backed goes on and on.

There he is!

"Steven represents a group of people who could revive independent games," said Jeff Pobst, founder of Defense Grid developer Hidden Path Entertainment, in an interview with VentureBeat.

"I don't have rights," Steven Dengler added, "and I am not a publisher. I did smaller financings for fun. But I see that the thing that is broken in the industry is that publishers want your soul. Self-publishing has to become a better option. Jeff [Pobst] didn't have to twist my arm.

"I'm not in this to make my fortune. This gets a game out there that people want to play. I don't want to own part of the company. I want to help make a game."

"I'm not in this to make my fortune."

Steven Dengler

Hidden Path successfully raised $250,000 on Kickstarter to make a Defense Grid 1 expansion. The underlying hope, however, was that the campaign would surge forwards to $1 million, funding a sequel, Defense Grid 2. It didn't.

Apparently Hidden Path had spent two-and-a-half years looking for a publisher to back the sequel before the Kickstarter campaign launched, and although they liked the tower-defence idea, it didn't add-up to profitable business for them. Pobst, determined, read about Dengler's love for crowd-funding and got in touch.

It turned out that Dengler was a fan of the original Defense Grid - he liked it teaching strategy to his two young boys - and that he'd already backed Hidden Path's Kickstarter campaign. He bit, and the rest is history.

Hidden Path Entertainment is 41-people strong but only 11 of those are working on Defense Grid 2. The game's due out first-half 2014 on PC (Windows and Linux) and Mac.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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