There are a plethora of tower defense games, but Defense Grid: The Awakening is arguably the best of them all. Developed by indie studio Hidden Path Entertainment (yes, the studio co-developing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with Valve), Defense Grid tasks players with defending power cores by strategically placing a variety of towers. While the 20-level campaign is certainly entertaining, the real meat of the game is with its various challenges, ranging from only being able to use level one towers to power cores that poison enemies. And, of course, there are leaderboards for each map and each mode.
That brings us to the reason for this post – Hidden Path has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of a proper sequel, Defense Grid 2. The Kickstarter is actually broken up into four tiers, which makes it a bit confusing at first. The Kickstarter goal (the mark at which the project is considered funded and backers' money is officially taken), is at a mere $250,000, but reaching that goal does not unlock Defense Grid 2. Instead, it unlocks Defense Grid: Containment, an 8-level expansion for the original game that will provide a link between the stories of the first game and its eventual sequel. At $500,000, Hidden Path will complete a new game engine to be used for the sequel, and to test it, the company will remaster the original game on the new engine, as well as include a brand new co-op multiplayer mode. Up until this point, everything is for PC only – unless the $750,000 tier is reached. At that point, not only will everything be released for Mac and Linux as well, but Hidden Path will also release a level editor. Lastly comes the $1,000,000 threshold, which will bring the full sequel, Defense Grid 2, to all three platforms. Defense Grid 2 will be a completely new 20-mission campaign with "new aliens, new tower types, new level types, new game modes and many new ways to play."
In the comments, Hidden Path said the following:
Sorry, we're not trying to be misleading. The goal is to make DG2. We could then set the minimum funding goal to $1m, but we figured that would actually concern more people that way. So, we came up with a way that if we don't reach that goal, we're still going to deliver good new content to you. That was the thinking.
And, by the way, we plan on making DG2 someday even if we don't reach the full funding goal here. If we do reach it here, well then that's known, and we're making it and it will happen next year. Nice clean end of story. If we just get 1/2 way through, say, and reach $500k, we're going to deliver DG:Containment to you, and we're going to deliver the remastered game on the new engine to you as we promise here - we'll work straight on them and deliver them as soon as possible. And then after that, we'll keep at it, but at a slower pace on our own dime. It may take extra time, it may take us making other games for other people first, but we'll still eventually get to DG2, and when we do, we're not going to forget you. You helped get us there and we'd get you a copy then, but that's a different kind of promise, and we understand that.
Obviously Hidden Path wouldn't be held accountable for that last promise if the campaign doesn't reach $1m, but I'd be willing to bet the company would keep its word. If you haven't played the original Defense Grid, the Kickstarter campaign is actually an excellent place to start. The minimum $15 pledge not only grants you all the content from unlocked tiers, but it also grants you a Steam code for a free copy of the original game. Double it (that's $30 for the mathematically inept) and you'll get all the previously released expansions as well. Hopefully this enjoys the success we've seen from the likes of Double Fine, Wasteland 2, and Grim Dawn.