by Zachary Knight

Filed Under:
awesome, brian fargo, human, open, video games, wasteland

inxile, kickstarter

Finding Success In A Wasteland By Being Open, Human And Awesome

from the kick-it-forward dept

If there is one sure way to succeed in the modern age, it is by being open, human and awesome. This is something that we are learning over and over again in the entertainment world, and it is especially true for those running successful Kickstarter campaigns. What started with the success of Double Fine's adventure game campaign has lead to the success of a number of other games. One of those games is inXile's Wasteland 2 project. This project is on track to raise over $1.5 million and as Brian Fargo has learned, this is all because the people behind the project have been open, human and awesome with their fans.

In the opening statement of the latest project update, Brian expresses his gratitude for the outpouring of support the project has received.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the positive feedback and enthusiasm from the support I have gotten from Kickstarter. The groundswell of people cheering us on and the evangelism - people spreading the word - is unlike anything I have experienced. In fact, I would say the last week was the high water mark of my career.
This is one of the best statements of gratitude I have ever read from an artist. Brian recognizes that this success is due completely to those who have shown support by donating and sharing the project with others. Without those two actions, there would be no Wasteland 2. As Brian further notes, all this came from being open and human. He shares the story of two people in particular that show the power of that philosophy.
On the next day I get a short tweet from an individual that confesses he pirated Wasteland as a kid and was donating to help make up for it. I of course forgave not knowing he had donated $10,000 dollars. An incredible gesture... now if we could get every pirate of Wasteland 1 to donate we could really beat the Kickstarter all time record.
This is the true power of openness and humanity. The power to turn a pirate into a paying customer. While not all pirates will turn around and pay $10,000, many will turn around and pay full price for later content made by an artist they love as well.

In the next story, Brian notes just how long lasting this openness and humanity lasts in the hearts and minds of fans.
And just today I got an email along with a donation from a kid who lived down the street from me when he was a teenager. His note was as follows:

"This message is intended for Brian Fargo. Brian, I was your next door neighbor when you used to live in Laguna. I was a pesky 15 or 16 year old kid that would come around and ask you about games. You would sit down and take time to talk to me about games, and the industry, and I just wanted you to know how cool it was that you didn't blow me off. It meant a lot to me. Recently, I found out about your Kickstarter movement for Wasteland 2, and I contributed to it because I believe in you and your ability to resurrect the glory of the franchise. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and thank you again for creating some memorable memories for me during my teenage years. Take care!"

It shows that being nice creates goodwill 20 years later.
If that kind of attitude toward his fans created a lasting effect of 20 years, just imagine how much more goodwill he has built up during that time and what he will now build up. This is not some get rich quick scheme but a way to find lasting success. Success that will last 20 years and beyond.

All of this success has led Brian to further express his humanity and gratitude. Rather than hold to this success and keep it all for himself, he has decided to help fund future Kickstarter projects. In a plan he calls "Kick It Forward", he will donate 5% of the profits made from Wasteland 2 toward other Kickstarter projects and asks that all other successful projects do the same. While the money he pledges won't come until after the completion of Wasteland 2, there are many other Kickstarter projects already making money that can really get this campaign rolling. What a wonderful way for artists to further express their humanity and awesomeness.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 7:05pm

    It shows that being nice creates goodwill 20 years later.

    Wheaton's Law is there for a reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    JPriest, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 7:36pm

    My dad jumped on this as soon as he got wind of it. The other day he pulled out his Wasteland box to show me: 5&1/4" floppies, folded-printer-paper manual, everything short of a computer old enough to try and play it (though he might just go digging around until he finds one). It's funny how he got me looking forward to a sequel for a game that's two years older than me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Kyle Reynolds Conway (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 7:54pm

    If the internet really is a wild wasteland it sure seems to have many beneficial mutations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 10:20pm

    Being nice pays off in ways you would never have expected, being a jerk also pays off just not in any good way. You get what you sow, that is as old as the human world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    EnJaySee, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 10:36pm

    Reading more of Brian'supdates, he's been trying to get this game made for years but no publishers wanted to touch it. As soon as he turns to the public he generates $1million plus and growing. I also sensed a tinge of bitterness towards the publishers in his posts. But it's great that he's finally going to make his game the fans are the ones responsible.

    I was going to donate the minimum, but after reding his posts I upped it to $50. As much as I can spare but it's still more than what I was going to give simply because I read his posts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Trenchman, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 1:15am


    I was a little late to get on board with the Fallout games and I didn't play Wasteland until after that, but I was captivated from the first moment I player them. Fallout and Fallout 2 were fantastic games, and I can see why so many people love them. I'm a big fan of old games, and have spent a lot of time playing old Dos games, and really enjoyed my time with Wasteland. So, I'm very happy to hear that a sequel is in the works.

    I wish Brian Fargo and the rest of the Wasteland 2 team the best of luck, along with so many other Kickstarter projects. I hope that this will allow some great games to get made, and some great people to do what they love. I for one will be looking forward to spending some money on Wasteland 2.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    And Kickstarter is having a big impact.

    The question:
    “Hey, I’m seeing a bunch of advertisements for workshops on selling securities through crowdfunding. Wouldn’t this be illegal under the Securities Act of 1933?”

    The answer:
    The answer to the crowdfunding question is “yes.” Under current law, crowdfunding to sell securities is illegal.

    Startup Law Blog: Crowdfunding: Current Legalities & Proposals by Joe Wallin on March 9, 2012

    What politicians saw and are doing about it.
    "In America, you can gamble all of your money at a casino and you can donate to countless charities around the world, but it's nearly impossible for most people to invest $1 of seed money into someone else's new business," Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) said in a statement. "This makes no sense, especially in the Internet era where everyday we see new ideas, programs and social networks take off."

    Good Bussiness: Fund It in the Crowd: Congress Moves Toward New Tools for Startups and Investors by Alex Goldmark on March 17, 2012

    Basically to fund a company an startup under current law it is forbidden, but since some saw an opportunity to grab some money from people, they are trying to change the law to allow people to crowdfund the creation of new companies, which is something different from funding the projects in Kickstarter, it may ammount to nothing depending on how people plan to make people donate money to something but they are trying to open the door for that kind of thing to happen.

    Next hopefully someone will get rid of the granted monopolies so everybody can get into the market. It doesn't make sense to finance something that can be destroyed by litigation through IP law or other laws that only benefit some player in some other field what congress should really look at are the laws holding back others from creating business.

    Take Wasteland 2 it may not be a billion dollar franchise, it may amount to nothing but 1.5 million dollars will keep a group of people paid for an entire year even if it doesn't make a profit it still produces working jobs.

    Giant companies don't care about jobs they care about profits and to make more they will transfer the jobs that could be done elsewhere and control the entrance of others into the market using the monopolistic tools they are granted(e.g.: IP laws which are not the only ones).

    If people are serious about creating jobs the focus can not be about profits or exclusionary rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Watchit (profile), Mar 24th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    wow, I'm actually really excited for this game now, sounds really interesting :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    "If there is one sure way to succeed in the modern age, it is by being open, human and awesome."

    Written like a kid that just poked his head outside, and thinks he discovered the sun.

    Being open, human and awesome is a refrain that goes back ages and ages, back to the beginning of commerce on the planet. It's not new. It's not something "in the modern age", it's a general rule of small business from the world go. It's something that larger companies try to maintain, but find more and more difficult to do.

    You can read a little more about the late Ron Zemke to get a better idea of why your "discovery" isn't anything more than just your own eyes opening every so slightly to something people have known for a very long time. Here's a good summary of the life and times on Ron Zemke:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Trenchman, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 11:52pm


    Yeah, I don't think the point of this article was to point out any great discovery. But to draw attention to the fact that being "open, human, and awesome" is not only a great thing to do as a person, but a great thing as a business. By pointing to specific examples and how they've benefited everyone involved. I'm not actually sure how you came to the conclusion that it was his intent to treat this as a great discovery.

    Also, many larger companies don't seem to try at all to be any of these things, it's isn't that they can't, they just don't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Ophelia Millais (profile), Mar 25th, 2012 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re:

    Hmm, this strategy for success is dependent on either being honest when there is integrity to be honest about, or else on being utterly deceptive. I mean, I don't think we really want brutal honesty from most businesses, or from very many of our commercial artistic heroes, when it means they're going to say something like "I really only did it for the money, I was a cog in a machine, I put on a good show and pretended to care about my customers, er, fans, but really if I wasn't getting paid, I wouldn't have done it, and I'm not ashamed of that fact, suckers."

    So, it doesn't seem like the kind of strategy that would work for the big copyright/content industries, because the people running them would have to be lying through their teeth in order to come off as human and awesome and worthy of support.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    eternaleye, Mar 25th, 2012 @ 9:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That reminds me of an XKCD strip:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2012 @ 9:44pm


    Looks like you're not following any part of that rule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    FreddyFingers, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 6:52am

    Virtual Apple ][ and Wasteland!

    Don't tell anyone, but you don't have to drag your old Apple ][ out of the attic

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    FreddyFingers, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Virtual Apple ][ and Wasteland!

    One of the Apple ][ skills that has served me best was that it's OK to just bang on the keyboard and see what happens. That's basically how the original Corel Draw and Excel worked.

    In case you don't want to bang on the keyboard, insert Disk 5 when it asks for Disk 1, and move with I,J,K,L.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Lying or not that is not the point, the point is that society is again exerting group pressure to ensure core values are respected, if you comply with those no matter how, you be in the safe line, go against the grain and you will suffer.

    Is just that simple, also society doesn't like any powers that erode that pressure and they got the power to change things.

    Further by lying and having to act the part they are actually learning something, do it many many times and your brain gets rewired to act that part automatically at which point no matter what you think your actions will be in accordance with current values and expectations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2012 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Great example of how to use something to achieve another LoL

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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