So, everyone's got something to say about Monte Cook Games' latest Kickstarter: Invisible Sun. The most common "something to say" seems to be: "Holy shit that's expensive! What in Great Gygax's Beard is he thinking?"
From what I can gather Invisible Sun is a kind of singular stand alone RPG that uses props, hand outs, some element of real time, and direct contact with the game creators in an evolving metaplot. Based on the video, it claims to overcome real life problems that prevent game play - conflicting schedules, play style differences, and absent players. That's quite a bold claim - and it doesn't quite feel like it's possible. Real life is real life, and with a promise like that I feel like Cook is implicitly claiming to blur the line between real life and RPGs.
The rest of the video makes such vague statements as "If you like characters, you'll love Invisible Sun." As if we were going to say "No, Monte - I hate characters." The whole thing feels like MCG is taking their own stab at a Mage: The Ascension style game - but adding a whole lot of extras and props. I love props and high production value as much as the next gamer, but the Invisible Sun feels like it's making vague promises and trying way too hard to come off as a game that will revolutionize and forever change the hobby.
I have to admit, it's ambitious. I'd be lying if I didn't also think it was a little arrogant. With a minimum buy in of $200, Invisible Sun isn't for the casual gamer. It's that very price point that I believe will prevent the game from changing the hobby. It prevents mass involvement in something revolutionary and new. The last game which I recall that truly changed the face of the hobby was Vampire: The Masquerade. It did this by tapping into a new market - goths and punks. It took gaming out of the dungeon and didn't measure a session in combat rounds. This made it approachable to a new subculture and, in my mind, also gave the game more feminine appeal.
Do I think the price point is ridiculous? Actually, no. If you're a devotee of Cook and you've got faith in the guy then a $200 buy in isn't all that bad. To me it's no different than +Greg Gillespie's Kickstarter for Barrowmaze: The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia. Greg's asking about $75 USD for a hardcover megadungeon. Like Cook's crowd funding project, it's a bit pricey. But I happen to have every faith that Greg will create a product worth every penny, so I have no problem with his asking price. Cook should be treated no differently simply because I prefer OSR games.
However, claims that Invisible Sun will somehow change the very way roleplaying games are played smacks of hubris in my mind. But, if fans of Cook have got the faith (and the cash) to invest in Invisible Sun - and judging by the fact that the game's almost funded in less than eight hours, they do) - then by all means, let them enjoy their investment.