Devin Tripp is a 20 year old from Grapevine in Texas. He's owned businesses already, "from clothing to stocks", but like most 20 year olds, Devin has plenty of dreams as yet unrealised. One of these dreams is a new video game, specifically a new Star Wars video game, that delivers a truly open-world experience – or open universe, I suppose – while featuring all of your favourite Jedi Masters and Sith Lords and the like. So Devin's going for it: he's launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring his video game vision to life.
Here is said Kickstarter. You'll note that Devin's looking for $200,000 by February 1st. You might well now be thinking: that's surely not enough to create an open-world Star Wars game in 2016. And, obviously, you're right. Electronic Arts holds the rights to make Star Wars-related video games until 2023, and you can bet they paid far in excess of Devin's crowd-funding target simply to gain permission to use the (now Disney owned) characters. When Disney bought the rights to Star Wars from LucasArts in 2012, it cost the House of Mouse over $4 billion.
And when it comes to the overall costs involved with any ambitious Star Wars game, we only need to look to BioWare's MMORPG The Old Republic to see that Devin will need to add a few zeroes to his demands: the 2011 game cost $200 million to get from planning to production to actually being played.
The Old Republic took a team of 800 programmers spread across four continents six years to make. Devin's own experience when it comes to video game design is rather less than impressive. "I am not a very good programmer, and I'm an even worst artist," he admits in the Kickstarter's campaign description. "I want to put this project into the hands of professionals, but in order to do that, I need money to hire them. This was my dream as a kid (and) I hope you can share my same compassion (sic), thank you."
After claiming that there's never been a decent RPG based in the Star Wars universe, Devin goes on to describe how his proposed game will appear. "I am talking about a Star Wars RPG that will completely blow people away; like Fallout 4, or The Witcher 3 did. These RPGs set the benchmark of how the future of RPGs should look, and they are a good blueprint to go on. I want to make something that is like this in some respects but goes even further. It will have the graphics of Battlefront or better with the feel of The Witcher 3."
All of which feels totally achievable for the total of two hundred grand. To his credit, Devin does list "copy right" as a 'Risk' factor in the project, alongside the need to "please all Star Wars fans".
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But some of those fans seem to be on his side. He's received several messages of support, even though it's unclear whether they're entirely sincere: "Be ambitious! Make the greatest Star Wars game there will ever be!" writes Leng Yang, with Houa Vang commenting, "Don't let your dreams be dreams! JUST DO IT DEVIN! You got all of our support!" And at the time of writing, over $16,000 of the $200,000 has been pledged, with 26 days left to go.
Not that the campaign will go the distance. Forgetting for a second that either Disney or EA, or both, will likely order Devin to take down the Kickstarter before long, the man himself has indicated that he's not going to see it through, however much money he raises. Forbes reached out to Devin to see if his campaign was entirely legit, or a complete piss-take, and he replied:
"This has become more or less a joke. It all started out good in my head. I initially needed the 200,000 to gain credibility for investors... I do not want money from anyone. I only wanted this idea that i have to happen. I find it funny that so many people on twitter made fun of me, but yet I have a project thats gotten 17,000 funded in only four days. I will take this project down soon."
So it seems that Devin will have to keep on dreaming about his open-world RPG take on all things Star Wars. The rest of us will probably just go back and play Knights of the Old Republic again.