Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Despite its promises and despite the stubborn determination of the team working on it, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen became the poster-child of crowd-funding failure back in February, 2014. The project managed to raise some $460k - definitely not a shabby accomplishment - but given that the target for the Kickstarter campaign had been set to $800k, eventually it failed to get any money at all. Despite that setback, the team behind the project managed to keep it going, by taking donations at the website of the game.
Now, a private investor has reportedly jumped in with a significant amount of money, so Pantheon has apparently caught a lucky break for a change. It is indeed quite unusual for games to gain private investor backing, but the team behind Pantheon was able to show much more than just a working prototype. Apparently, 10 levels are done already and while the game-world is still small, game-play is fun, engaging and promising. Pantheon is focused on the sort of game-play many of its current competitors seem to have neglected/missed altogether: co-op action against the AI. In Pantheon, the focus is on the social element: players have to build up relationships and they have to become members of a guild/community.
Pantheon's creators (the team behind EverQuest) have made no secret of the fact that they were targeting some of the players who have grown bored/disillusioned with World of Warcraft. Aware of the fact that they're unable to compete directly or to raise enough money for a game as epic as WoW, the Pantheon people think that the future of MMOs is a niche-focused approach, which leaves room for several smaller titles, each carving out its own following from the pool of ~10 million world-wide MMO players.
Currently, there are 14 people working on the Pantheon project, some of them recently returned after they were forced to take different jobs in the wake of the Kickstarter debacle.
The world that Pantheon currently consists of is called Terminus, and it is a fantasy realm populated by various creatures/monsters, powerful heroes and deities. Current game-play is based on a high-risk/high-reward model, encouraging players to take a creative path to problem-solving, instead of mashing buttons.
If all goes well for the title, we may see a pre-alpha test version this year, followed by a long beta testing period next year. The current capital-infusion notwithstanding, the game will need to raise more money to achieve completion.
Philip Thalberg works for the web's top eSports destination, Gosugamers.net.