The Kickfailure Roundup: What Is Being Done With Your Money

I’ve had it in my head for a while to round up all the info I could about projects I’ve previously written about and do a big update post. It just so happened that I came across a bunch of news about previous Kickstarter successes and failures that I hadn’t written about while waiting for things to fail. We’ll see how this goes, and maybe I’ll have a segment (like professional people do and shit) for updates about Kickstarter games.

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And now, for the terribly biased news!

Morons Back YouTube Celebrity Game; Failure Ensues

I’ve never understood celebrity endorsements. Do people really buy shoes because a basketball player was paid to say that they’re great?

If Yogventures is any indication, the answer is yes, all of the time. They would pay for the shoes before the company even started making them if they could. And thanks to Kickstarter, that’s now possible!

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This was the first Kickstarter I truly hated. Had I been writing this blog at the time, I would have torn this piece of shit apart. It is one of the worst video game Kickstarters, for so many reasons. It relies entirely on the popularity of the Yogscast – and not at all on the game itself, which is generic bullshit. And it’s not like those two assholes are actually developing the game – they couldn’t write a Hello World script in Unity, because they’re not fucking game developers. So why make a video game Kickstarter? To hire “developer” Winterkewl Games to make their first game. The game is a randomly-generated voxel open world sandbox blah blah Minecraft clone.

So a bunch of brainless shits handed a developer that’s never made a game before over half a million dollars to remake Minecraft because it features two YouTube celebrities. What a fucking brilliant idea.

The beta of the game was supposed to be available for download for the backers in December. Trying desperately to stay on track, on December 24th, the “pre-alpha” was released. Ugh. On March 30th, the game FINALLY reached alpha version 0.01. These titles being entirely meaningless, let’s just say that the game has about 1/20th the features of Minecraft, and the only noticeable difference is that the player characters are more detailed. It would be a dreadful understatement to say that this game is not going well. But to any of you backers out there, that’s what you get for being completely fucking retarded. NEXT.

Project Awakened Fails at Kickstarter, Still Takes Donations, Continues to Fail

I was going to write about Project Awakened, but I guess something else came up, or real life things prevented me from mustering up the hatred. Or maybe it was just too much of the same Kickstarter bullshit that it wasn’t even notable, because that’s how I feel about it now.

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Well, except for the fact that after their failure on Kickstarter, they took direct donations via Paypal. I mean, who cares about funding goals and budgets; just take what you can get and run, AMIRITE? That’s what the developers started to do, until they realized that they were in way over their heads. Gee, who could have anticipated that? Maybe anyone with a functioning cerebellum and a little bit of game development experience.

So they’ve now promised to refund everyone their donations and accept their failure while hinting that maybe some other morons would fund it one day. At least the retards who only pledged on Kickstarter don’t have to worry about it. NEXT.

Echoes of Eternia More Like Development for Eternia

Echoes of Eternia was one of the first games that I liked the idea of, but I couldn’t support because the funding was so unnecessary. Now, I love me some JRPGs, but it doesn’t take $10,000 to make one in RPG Maker. So give this tiny development team $43,000 and what do you get? Excuses for why they just couldn’t deliver on time. The game’s estimated release date was.. well, this month. And yet all we’ve seen are a handful of screenshots. That would put us in.. what’s before pre-alpha? Pre-pre-alpha? Do we just cycle back through the Greek alphabet into omega phase? I’m not sure, but I do know that I just found the title for my next game.

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“We want to stress that the due date of May 2013 was an estimation for EoE if it was still developed with RPG Maker. The advances we made to EoE’s game engine, graphics, music, etc, have definitely added to the development time.”

Sorry, what the fuck is all this money for? So you can greatly expand the scope of your project and get in way over your heads? Great idea, I wonder if anyone else is doing that. (That was foreshadowing for later in the post.) NEXT.

Star Command Succeeds at Kickstarter, Fails at Game Development

Oh, Star Command, how I’ve waited for your failure. Remember that time you were supposed to come out at the end of 2011? That’s when you had a measly $36,000, back when that was impressive for a Kickstarter project. Then remember when Kickstarter blew up for video games, and you managed to get a bunch of brand new suckers to give you $151,000? That time, it was supposed to come out in October of 2012. Well, the PC version anyway – the mobile version was allegedly “on track for Late Summer”.

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I guess that’s why it just came out a couple of weeks ago. In case you’re particularly bad at math, this game is a year and a half late.

So two Kickstarters and countless delays later, what do you get? A game that the developers themselves admit is about 30% of their original vision. I applaud their honesty there, but this is the absolute most important reason behind my vitriol for these projects. Do you know who can predict how much time and money a game is going to end up costing when they only have a pre-alpha (or less)? NO ONE. Just ask Winterkewl Games. It’s possible – and even likely – that some portion of the original vision would be impossible, impractical, or just plain not fun even if they had all the time in the world to work on it. You just don’t know until you try. And that’s why developers shouldn’t even be asking you to fund their barely-functional “pre-alpha” prototype. And it’s damn sure why you shouldn’t be doing it even if they do ask. NEXT.

Broken Age More Like Broken Budget

And here we are, straight to the assholes who started the bloated Kickstarter budget monster. It’s not their fault that a herd of idiots followed in their well-intentioned but poorly-guided steps. What is entirely their fault is that they had to extend the development time by 6 months, and are on course to go over their 3.3 million fucking dollar budget. (Sorry, that article is forever, scroll down to “Delivering on a Kickstarter Promise”)

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The game was budgeted at $300,000, with the documentary coming in at $100,000. Even tripling the budget for the documentary, the game got ten times its requested budget. Now, you have to take out Kickstarter and Amazon fees, of course, but they knew that ahead of time. What possible excuse can there be for not staying within ten times your budget? It’s pure stupidity to think that a bigger budget translates into more features. The complexity of games goes up exponentially with everything you add. How is this not common knowledge to such a seasoned developer?

But I have another beef with the game previously known as Double Fine Adventure – or, more accurately, Double Fine themselves. And that’s the disillusionment of backers being special, and a part of the process.

When you back a project, the creators will thank you profusely and tell you how great you are and how much you mean to them. Then once they have all your money and start spending it, you’re just another job. Like how Double Fine announced a bunch of details of their game to the press and then had to apologize for not updating the Kickstarter backers first. And check out this weak-ass excuse:

“This was an unfortunate side effect of the teaser reveal falling in between planned episode updates and us not taking that properly into account.”

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You’re not a part of the team. You’re not special. You’re a scheduled PR move, like everything else. I really want to stress this, because I want it to be in your brain every time a developer spouts that bullshit about how Kickstarter allows them to directly interface with, and answer to, the fans. If this game were being funded by a publisher, they would have been the first to be informed of such an announcement. But when 87,000 nobodies fund your game? Well, they’ll get their update whenever it’s scheduled, and if that doesn’t line up with the press reveal, then oh well. All you really are with Kickstarter is a customer with a preorder. A preorder far in advance of any reasonable preorder.

But that’s not all. Double Fine really wants to drive home the idea of just how un-special you are if you backed them on Kickstarter. As I just mentioned, they’re on track to go over the Kickstarter budget. So what do you do?

First, you continue to take donations on your own site, and give all of those people the same access that the Kickstarter backers get, as long as they pay at least $30. Then, you make a Humble Bundle, and offer the same fucking thing to everyone who spends at least $35 on the bundle. Double Fine is shamelessly continuing to crowdfund in every way possible short of making another fucking Kickstarter. At this point, I kind of wouldn’t be surprised if that happened.

Now, I didn’t really give a shit about any of the featured games in the Humble Bundle. But what I did care about was the handful of prototypes included for paying above the average. The only problem I had was that I didn’t want to support Double Fine. The Humble Bundle conveniently provided me with the perfect solution.

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Charity and the guys at Humble Bundle, I’ll support. Double Fine, you’ve squandered enough of everyone’s money, and it blows my mind that they’re not all as sick of your excuses as I am. And I want to end with some quotes, first from Tim Schafer himself, in the original Kickstarter pitch:

“Either the game will be great, or it will be a spectacular failure, caught on camera for everyone to see. Either way, you win.”

That was back when you were just going to make do with whatever funds you had, and give everyone an insight into a year of game development. A few million dollars later, and you’re still whoring out the documentary, private forum, and beta access, and now here we are with the latest word on the development schedule being this:

““Ultimately, the number one decider on the schedule is when we feel like we have a game that we’re proud of,” Rice says.

Schafer echoes that sentiment.”

And on that note, here is a quote from the Wikipedia article on Duke Nukem Forever:

“After repeatedly announcing and deferring release dates, 3D Realms announced in 2001 that it would be released simply “when it’s done”.”

END.

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7 thoughts on “The Kickfailure Roundup: What Is Being Done With Your Money

  1. It’s unfortunate this is all happening. I’m hoping that people will be learning to…invest more wisely in the future – Kickstarter was such a new (and still sort of is) thing that consumers are likely learning more about how projects aren’t very likely to succeed if they’re too big…hopefully developers as well learn to really set your sights VERY low and start smaller

    • davidgaames says:

      Consumers have the excuse of being ignorant of the whole process. But developers should already know how to budget. It’s not like crowdfunded money is a different currency and we haven’t worked out the exchange rate. But maybe with developers’ failures being more publicized, they’ll think twice before promising ridiculous things, or even putting up a Kickstarter at all.

  2. Wonderful wrap up; write more posts like this one. Shoot for weekly, preferably.

    • davidgaames says:

      It’s a nice thought, right? 😉
      One of the biggest barriers to that is actually Kickstarter’s dreadful search features. I can’t even search for a project that failed – I have to find an article with a direct link to the Kickstarter page.

      • With Kickstarter being so focused on transparency, I find that very difficult to believe. Maybe you just arent looking hard enough.

        The truth is out there (and it has stretch goals.)

      • davidgaames says:

        I want to see some of this biting sarcasm in your posts!
        And now I really want a Kickstarter movie to be made with that tagline at the end.
        And lastly, I think I’m going to start calling the failures due to stretch goals “stretch marks”.

  3. […] remember that time I wrote about this game? I really wish I had been writing this blog when I first saw it. The rage it filled me with was […]

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