Yesterday afternoon, only hours after it began, the Kickstarter funding drive for Torment: Tides of Numenera met its funding goal when nearly 17,000 backers pledged more than $900,000.
Not long after that, Kickstarter confirmed a second milestone on its official Twitter account: InXile Entertainment's old-school role-playing game, a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, had outpaced Ouya to become the fastest project to reach $1 million in funding.
In the midst of its rapid ascension from proposal to funded game, Polygon contacted the developers to get their reactions, learn about early high value donors and discuss their plans for stretch goals.
"I hoped it would hit fast, but I had no idea it would be as big as it is."
"I knew there was demand for this game, but I am overwhelmed by the support," creative lead Colin McComb wrote to Polygon. "I hoped it would hit fast, but I had no idea it would be as big as it is.
"I'm trying to put this in ways that don't sound like pregenerated phrases, but right now I'm kind of in shock and truly humbled by the reaction of our fans."
A significant portion of Torment: Tides of Numenera's early support came from high value donors. Fifteen backers pledged to the $1,000 tiers, two each pledged to the $2,000 and $5,000 tiers and five backers supported the game with $10,000 or more. Assuming the minimum pledges for each, that amounts to $79,000 — about 9 percent of the $900,695 shown on Kickstarter when it surpassed its goal.
By this morning at the time of this writing, those figures have risen: 28 have pledged in the $1,000 tiers, three in the $2,000 tier, two in the $5,000 tier and seven in the $10,000 tier. With $1,706,263 pledged of its original $900,000 goal, and assuming the minimum amounts for each donor, pledges from high value backers now account for at least $114,000 — about 7 percent of the current $1.7 million in total pledges.
We asked project director Kevin Saunders about those donors, and he told us that many were still unknown even to InXile.
"There are guys, like Notch, that we have heard of but we don't really know them very well, and there is one backer that we know personally," he wrote.
Notch confirmed that he is a donor in an email to Polygon.
"10k," he wrote. "Mostly because awesome."
Yesterday morning, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan revealed on Twitter that he'd pledged $10,000 to the drive, writing, "If Torment: ToN is half as good as Planescape, I will die happy."
Kickstarter projects routinely use stretch goals to incentivize donations. By promising new features like multiplayer modes, iOS and Android ports, new gameplay modes and more, developers can use stretch goals to meet their funding goals or expand the scope of their games after reaching their funding goals.
"10k. Mostly because awesome."
Developers typically unveil those incentives weeks into Kickstarter campaigns. InXile's unique position has accelerated the original timeframe. Though they don't have anything to announce yet, the developers are working on stretch goals.
"We’ve planned a very scalable design and story structure for the game, so we have clear ways to really push the envelope in terms of RPG reactivity and choices and consequences by expanding upon various aspects of the story," McComb wrote. "We have many very talented writers and designers ready to join our team to allow us to deliver increasing depth.
"Besides that, we have some other specific features and enhancements in mind and we’ll begin sharing those soon. We have a strong core vision for Torment and we will continue to expand upon our goals for the game in ways that allow us to maintain our focus on the type of experience we’ve promised our backers."
For more on InXile's Torment: Tides of Numenera, be sure to read our recent interview with McComb and Saunders. Conducted before the Kickstarter campaign began, they discussed how the project started, its influences and how Kickstarter success convinced InXile to upend the traditional publisher/developer funding model by selling its projects directly to consumers — a strategy that has now paid off handsomely for the developer twice in under a year.