A few weeks ago Harmonix announced the Kickstarter fund for a remake to their classic PS2 game, Amplitude. Then, when it seemed as though Harmonix would fall woefully short of achieving their crowdfunding goals, Amplitude‘s Kickstarter fund pulled past the $775,000 goal with just 21 hours to spare.
The original Amplitude, which itself was a sequel to an earlier Harmonix classic from 2001, Frequency, was a PlayStation 2 exclusive and was a cult classic because of its unique gameplay that combined rhythm-based gameplay with player creativity. Harmonix then took to Kickstarter to fund an HD reboot of the game, which will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and 4.
Speaking to Gamespot, Harmonix’s director of communications and brand management John Drake said:
We’ve been drawn to revisiting the intense awesomeness of Amplitude for a long time — we just couldn’t figure out a way to make the ambitions for the game square with the lack of interest from publishing partners. The idea of crowdfunding was floated in a meeting, and it was a downhill race of excitement inside the studio from that point forward. What if we could make the game that we all had been dreaming of for the fans that have been pleading for it for 12 years without needing the approval of a publisher?
That said, our desire to make Amplitude ourselves and publish it with the help of fans didn’t mean that we could just go out and do what we want. Sony published and funded development of the original titles in the early 2000s, and their ownership stake in the franchise is deeper than just the name of the game. So revisiting Amplitude meant we were exclusive to Sony consoles. This definitely gave us pause, as we would have loved to bring the fun of Amplitude to as many platforms as possible, and because Kickstarter is known for its propensity to launch PC-driven experiences.
But at the end of the day, we couldn’t shake our desire to make Amplitude. Once it crawled into our studio’s consciousness, it was clear that we had to give it a chance to be made. That we had to take the risk that the audience wouldn’t be there to fund it because it was exclusive to PlayStation or because the original games hadn’t reached as broad an audience as we thought…luckily, the audience showed up and we were fortunate enough to fund the project.
However, the road to Kickstarter success for Harmonix was fraught with the imminent threat of failure. With just two days remaining on their Kickstarter run, Harmonix were over $100,000 short of their $775,000 goal. Projects that do not reach their funding goals by the end of the time limit do not get anything, and Harmonix stated that the Amplitude reboot simply would not happen should its Kickstarter fail.
News of this potential catastrophe spread across the gaming community. In a last ditch attempt to rally supporters and their wallets, Harmonix took to twitch to livestream themselves playing the original Amplitude while promoting the reboot.
Meanwhile, high profile figures such as Minecraft creator Markus Persson and actress Felicia Day of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dragon Age: Redemption fame took to social media to encourage their fans and followers to support the fund. Insomniac Games, the studio behind the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance games, donated $7500.
The gaming community pulled together and successfully took the Amplitude Kickstarter past its funding goals, and upon its conclusion, Harmonix had raised $844,127 from 14,112 backers. “The outpouring of support has been incredible, and we are absolutely humbled by the response,” said a Harmonix spokesperson, “From our fans to our friends in the industry — including the incredible contributions from Insomniac Games and the Skullgirls team — we could not have done this without their support and passion.”
The Amplitude remake will have both singleplayer and local multiplayer modes and online leaderboards. Online head-to-head multiplayer would have been possible had the game achieved $1,125,000 in crowdfunding, but considering the circumstances, that the game achieved its base funding goal at all should be sufficient for those who supported it.