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Red Ash's struggles highlight the new trouble with crowdfunding

Keiji Inafune's latest project will probably get funded -- but in the end, what are the backers going to get: A game, or a demo?
"The most important thing for me is to get Red Ash made. ... Through partnerships and support from backers, players, and the community, we can embrace this second chance to bring my vision to life."

- Keiji Inafune

The way creators use Kickstarter continues to evolve; projects like Bloodstained and Shenmue III show that big names launching revamps of their old games are the biggest draws for audiences.

They also illustrate the partial funding of projects through the platform is becoming the new normal. Both had funding from other sources than Kickstarter; in the case of Shenmue, it may not even be enough to make a well-rounded sequel when you add up both crowdfunding dollars and the money Sony is kicking in to the project (check out its stretch goals and creator comments.)

Enter Red Ash, a new project from Keiji Inafune, the man behind the Mega Man franchise and the wildly successful crowdfunding campaign for his spiritual follow-up to those games, Mighty No. 9.

It's currently on Kickstarter with a goal of $800,000 -- not enough to make the game he really wants to make, Inafune admits in a new interview with USGamer.

Unlike Mighty No. 9, which experienced explosive success, this Kickstarter is limping along. It seems likely to make its goal -- but only just. And apparently, that money won't buy a full-fledged game:

"... we are not trying to make RA in its entirety with this KS campaign. In fact, a conservative estimate for making a great open world game would be millions of dollars! Hence, the intent of this KS is to launch the game in a form we can show first parties and sponsors, so that everyone can collaborate on a higher level," Inafune told USGamer.

Red Ash, in other words, is a proof-of-concept project. The question that remains is: How much of a game will backers be getting, especially if the external funding required to finish it to final specifications is not forthcoming?

The vague answer to that question lies in a Kickstarter update:

"Our ideal vision for this project is a game that offers 8 hours of playtime... This vision is currently spread across the stretch goals we have announced in the form of Episodes. If we are only able to reach the initial goal of $800,000, then this content will need to be cut down on as we will not be able to include the content that is planned for those Episodes."

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