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Thread: Kickscammer

  1. #101
    Ellsworth M. Toohey
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool View Post
    That's handy data, but this stuff isn't unique to Kickstarter. Titles hit development hell or get outright canceled all the time, but we only see it in cases like this because of how public the investment process is.
    If they were just taking money from VCs or their grandmas or friends, it would be a private matter between them. Once they start asking Joe On the Street for money and not delivering, it's fleecing the public, which is a bad thing, even if it may (may) be legal in these instances.

  2. #102
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    Unfortunately, anecdotal is only anecdotal. In terms of hard data, at least in the gaming space, one review from a couple of years ago found that most Kickstarter projects don't deliver what they say they will deliver when they say they will deliver it.
    It's anecdotal, sure, but that doesn't change my experience. Even in the gaming space I've supported more successful Kickstarters than ones that failed to deliver.

  3. #103

    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruldar View Post
    It's anecdotal, sure, but that doesn't change my experience. Even in the gaming space I've supported more successful Kickstarters than ones that failed to deliver.
    What are the successful ones?

  4. #104
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by DmitrytheWizzy View Post
    What are the successful ones?
    This was one.

    I didn't go in for the kickstarter, but I did buy the game once they got it on steam.

    FANTASTIC game if you liked the Sega Genesis or SNES Shadowrun games and they left it totally open with a set of modding tools for people to create their own campaigns, kinda like Neverwinter Nights did.
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  5. #105
    Ellsworth M. Toohey
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruldar View Post
    It's anecdotal, sure, but that doesn't change my experience. Even in the gaming space I've supported more successful Kickstarters than ones that failed to deliver.
    Great. But your experience is not representative, it is an outlier.

  6. #106

    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrick ap'Milandra View Post
    I would not trust a thing that guy says. he has yet to publish a successful game and his grudge with Chris Roberts goes all the way back to Wing Commander 1
    "When you name your baby Jeeves...you've pretty much set up his career for life. You don't see many Hit Men, for example, named Jeeves. "Pardon me sir, but I must wack you now."
    — Jerry Seinfeld

  7. #107
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    Great. But your experience is not representative, it is an outlier.
    I'd love to hear what you think are influential results instead of outliers in this context.

    You may or may not have any (because your dismissal might have been categorical) but if you have any, I welcome them out of a sense of sheer curiosity.
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  8. #108
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy Kickstarter games that have been released. I'm using wikipedia as the resource, because I don't know where else to find data on this stuff. I'm using my own experience as the arbiter. If I haven't heard of the game, or seen it myself in some capacity, it gets omitted. I've included games with mixed reception, though I've omitted a few as well. This list could probably be larger, but I'm trying to limit it to games that either received critical acclaim or made some other sort of impact on the industry.

    Spoiler for it's a long list:


    Arbitrarily listed in order of Metacritic score. It's convenient to list them this way, but also a little misleading.

    94 - Undertale
    90 - Shovel Knight
    89 - Pillars of Eternity
    87 - Divinity: Original Sin
    87 - Shadowrun Hong Kong
    84 - Faster Than Light
    84 - Freedom Planet
    81 - Wasteland 2
    81 - Kentucky Route Zero
    81 - Sunless Sea
    80 - Elite: Dangerous
    80 - The Banner Saga
    79 - Stasis
    79 - Race the Sun
    79 - Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
    79 - Read Only Memories
    77 - République
    77 - Xenonauts
    77 - Risk of Rain
    77 - Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
    76 - Shadowrun Returns
    76 - Volgarr the Viking
    76 - Mercenary Kings
    76 - Broken Age
    76 - Satellite Reign
    75 - Ironcast
    75 - Chroma Squad
    74 - Armello
    73 - Divekick
    73 - Massive Chalice
    73 - Attack on Cataclysm Yatagarasu
    73 - Pier Solar HD
    72 - Convoy
    72 - Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
    71 - The Escapists
    70 - Dead State
    69 - Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse
    69 - Octodad
    68 - Neverending Nightmares
    68 - Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
    67 - Cloudberry Kingdom
    67 - Spintires
    66 - Strike Suit Zero
    64 - Gods Will Be Watching






    Just for the heck of it, I thought I would make a list of unreleased games using the same criteria, but it's very easy to forget some of these exist (or even not know it existed in the first place). Omitting projects that don't look promising based on my own bias (unrecognizable title, low funding, etc).

    Spoiler for another list:

    This time I am listing them in order of Kickstarter campaign date, under the assumption that games that have been in development the longest with no results are in the most danger of never being released. A few of these are in Early Access.

    May 2012 - Grim Dawn
    June 2012 - Pathfinder Online
    June 2012 - SpaceVenture
    August 2012 - Castle Story
    September 2012 - Solforge
    November 2012 - Star Citizen
    December 2012 - Godus
    April 2013 - Tides of Numenera
    April 2013 - Shroud of the Avatar
    May 2013 - Camelot Unchained
    May 2013 - Stonehearth
    June 2013 - Hex: Shards of Fate
    August 2013 - 7 Days to Die
    September 2013 - Project Phoenix
    October 2013 - Mighty No 9
    October 2013 - Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
    October 2013 - River City Ransom: Underground
    October 2013 - Hyper Light Drifter
    October 2013 - Cosmic Star Heroine
    November 2013 - Obduction
    December 2013 - The Mandate
    March 2014 - Darkest Dungeon
    May 2014 - Amplitude







    Star Citizen is the most prominent unreleased project, followed by Amplitude and Tides of Numenera (Torment). Most of the other big unreleased projects were announced this year, or are due soon.

    Ouya is notable for being a successful Kickstarter that went on to become a commercial failures. Godus and to a lesser extent Planetary Annihilation are noteworthy for being unfinished. Clang was cancelled. Yogventures was mismanaged and failed. A fair number of games ended up being disappointments, and several lingered in development hell before dying, but the list of released games is still larger than most people give them credit for.

    Not out yet, but Oculus Rift was a Kickstarter. It's still debatable on whether or not it will be a commercial success, but it has been received well enough to kick off an entire new VR movement, with Sony, Samsung, Facebook, and Valve/HTC all putting their hats in the ring.


    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    If they were just taking money from VCs or their grandmas or friends, it would be a private matter between them. Once they start asking Joe On the Street for money and not delivering, it's fleecing the public, which is a bad thing, even if it may (may) be legal in these instances.
    I think there is a distinction between intentional fraud and the realities that come from making any video game. Failing to meet milestones and getting delayed is not fleecing the public, neither is releasing a game that is ultimately disappointing. It isn't enough to simplify the matter into whether or not it shipped on time, particularly not when deciding if a project was fraudulent. If a game isn't coming together, do you delay it, or do you release a bad game? This is a common obstacle with traditional publishing and isn't going to go away just because the source of funding is different.

    This alludes to another perceptional problem with Kickstarter. Most games get announced after having already been in development for a number of years, but when you ask someone to help fund your game they become aware of its existence from the very beginning. This encourages impatience, and only gets worse when the developers give unrealistic goals in the first place. That doesn't mean you aren't getting what you paid for, but you probably aren't getting it as soon as you would like.


    These Kickstarter disasters get attention because they are sexy. The number of games that actually get released goes entirely unappreciated because it isn't as interesting to write an article about that game that came out and is okay. In a lot of cases, it's easy to forget the successful projects were ever Kickstarters in the first place.
    Last edited by Wool; December 12th, 2015 at 04:38 AM.

  9. #109
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Heh, I was going to go through my list of backed projects and extract some names, but Wool just did the heavy lifting for me so I don't have to. Mine are all pretty much on that list, though. The two Shadowrun single player games, Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity (actually, I might have just bought this one on Steam later), The Banner Saga. I didn't back Undertale, but my god has that game been getting all of the mindshare in the parts of the internet I hang out these days. I backed a few more on that other list that I'm pretty confident will release something in the due course of time, Tides of Numenera for one, and Bards Tale IV which doesn't seem to be listed.

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    Great. But your experience is not representative, it is an outlier.
    Do you have any more recent stats than a nearly two year old article?

  10. #110
    Ellsworth M. Toohey
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrick ap'Milandra View Post
    I'd love to hear what you think are influential results
    I'm not sure what you mean by "influential results," but yes, I suppose I am offering a general dismissal of the notion. Kickstarter bothers me on principle because it's a way for people to avoid the hard-yet-critical parts of starting a business, and the numbers bear that suspicion out. Even Wool's list is rather small, with just 44 success stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool
    I think there is a distinction between intentional fraud and the realities that come from making any video game.
    I intentionally avoided using the term "fraud" because I suspect many of the Kickstarter projects come with honest intentions, but you know, road to hell, paved, etc.

    Whether it's fraud or incompetence, the result is the same with a Kickstarter failure-to-deliver -- taking money from the public and then reneging on a promise constitutes cheating people out of their money. You don't have to be a fraud to rip people off. It's more egregious in this case, because there's no recourse; with traditional funding, the money is exchanged for equity stakes that give shareholders some say in the matter; with Kickstarter, there are no consequences (and thus no safeguards) whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool
    These Kickstarter disasters get attention because they are sexy. The number of games that actually get released goes entirely unappreciated because it isn't as interesting to write an article about that game that came out and is okay. In a lot of cases, it's easy to forget the successful projects were ever Kickstarters in the first place.
    No, quite the opposite: Kickstarter "success" is usually overhyped. There's often buzz about projects that meet their fundraising goals, but there's very little attention paid to the flops, which is a shame, because they're the norm. Were people to realize that Kickstarter projects are subject to the same (or worse) failure rate as any other kind of business, they might be more careful with their money instead of just throwing $25 or $50 or $75 at something because it sounds cool.

    If folks want to toss their money at stuff and see what sticks, go for it. But the most successful project on Kickstarter so far is the potato salad guy -- he did everything that was promised and much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruldar
    Do you have any more recent stats than a nearly two year old article?

    A new study suggests that just 9% of successfully funded Kickstarter projects fail:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/10/9-per...o-deliver.html

    However, it's a study conducted at the behest of Kickstarter (which says it had no influence on the study; sure, just like everyone who pushes for a study say they have no influence over it). It's also largely based on self-reporting from Kickstarter funders, as opposed to looking at the actual outcomes in a specific target sector, as the earlier study I referenced did. It also uses a definition for "failure" that I would not use:

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Ethan Mollick, University of Pennsylvania
    The core question behind the professor’s research was whether a creator delivered rewards as promised — not whether the creative work was actually made.
    I would argue that the Kickstarter promise inherently includes the production of the actual project. If I agree to fund a game, and all I got was the funding reward of a poster signed by developers and an action figure, but no game ever appeared, that should constitute a failure.

    You might take heart from a middle approach. One fella earlier this year created a spreadsheet of Kickstarter game projects; the list seems to be updated on a fairly regular basis. It gives each Kickstarter project at least nine months to make progress before being listed.

    Among the 240 projects that raised $75,000 or more:

    * Ninety-two officially released a game, though none of them did so on time, according to the spreadsheet author.

    * Twenty-five are classified as "low risk," which seems to be roughly equivalent to "Probably will ship in the foreseeable future."

    * Thirty-eight are classified as admitted failures or facing significant risks of failing.

    * Twelve of them are classified as "too early to tell."

    * The remainder are classified as "Normal progress or some signs of risk," which strikes me as "we'll see how it goes."

    So under this more forgiving (since it doesn't hold Kickstarters to their promised dates) and more contemporary tally, actual products have emerged from 38% of Kickstarter projects, or close to the 37% delivery success found in the statistics from two years ago that I cited earlier.

    Or put another way, 62% of Kickstarter game projects haven't come to fruition nine months after starting, although another 10% seem likely to do so at some point. So if you want to be generous, at least 48% of Kickstarter game projects seem to produce something. About 16% have crapped the bed. About 36% are inconclusive.

    The glass-half-full crowd would say that an almost 50-50 chance of a product isn't bad for new businesses, but it's not all that: After all, almost two-thirds of new U.S. businesses of any sort survive at least two years, according to at least one study, so Kickstarter projects might actually need to make up some ground just to hit the mean.
    Last edited by PPatty; June 29th, 2016 at 04:52 AM.

  11. #111
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    Re: Kickscammer

    ..
    Last edited by PPatty; December 12th, 2015 at 03:02 PM. Reason: Double post

  12. #112
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    Re: Kickscammer

    My experiences with Kickstarter continue to be pretty good but mainly because delays don't really bother me. Over the last 12 months I've backed 65 projects, 8 of which didn't fund leaving 57 that went ahead.

    I primarily back boardgames plus occasional other interesting projects. Personally I don't back video games, too many yet to play in my steam library.
    I use this link to see what boardgames are listed. Then I filter out all the ones with horrible international shipping costs which accounts for about 50+% of all projects. After that I filter by my personal tastes and experiences with board games.

    12 games I backed at the 'Print n Play' level (due to the costs of shipping) all delivered on time but the bar is pretty low when no manufacturing is involving.
    9 games delivered on time (which I define as either the originally forecast delivery month or the following month as it takes longer for stuff to get Australia)
    4 games delivered early
    3 games delivered late
    10 have yet to deliver but are still likely to achieve their delivery dates
    7 have yet to deliver and are probably or definitely not going to be on time but in most cases only by 2 months.

    None of them have gone dark, one gave me a scare for a while as the creator disappeared and hadn't updated since October but recently posted to say they had been sued for IP breach. They successfully defended it but had been blocked from making kickstarter updates. The game is still on track however.

    When looking at other products (camera accessories, clothing, electronics, gadgets etc) the stats really drop.
    3 were on time.
    3 not yet delivered and definitely delayed for 3+ months (1 of which will be delayed by 10 months)
    6 not yet delivered and might yet be on time, but in the case of 5 of them, it'll be borderline.

    In the board/card gaming sector, Kickstarter has become a major channel for smaller companies to self publish without involving a major publisher. There is a large number of resources and experiences being shared by project creators. So much so that the issue now is more about whether the game mechanics are going to be any good rather than if you'll receive it or not.
    In other sectors, overly ambitious completion dates are everywhere, especially as the complexity of the product rises.

    Personally my favourite projects involve lots in interaction with the backers and the opportunity to express ideas and suggestions and give feedback during development. It's not an engagement you can get with buying something from a shelf.

  13. #113
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    Re: Kickscammer

    One of the Christmas gifts I'm giving this year is a Kickstarter game, Exploding Kittens:

    http://www.explodingkittens.com/

  14. #114

    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool View Post
    94 - Undertale
    90 - Shovel Knight
    89 - Pillars of Eternity
    87 - Divinity: Original Sin
    87 - Shadowrun Hong Kong
    84 - Faster Than Light
    84 - Freedom Planet
    81 - Wasteland 2
    These three I played and they were well worth the money. All are isometric party based rpgs with great stories.

  15. #115
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Macfudd View Post
    I primarily back boardgames plus occasional other interesting projects
    I can see boardgames as an acceptable risk on Kickstarter, now that you mention it, because they require so much less to produce than a video game. Once you have the concept and the rules down, it's very light manufacturing and assembly that can be easily outsourced, so all you need are a few testers (use your friends, it worked for Gary Gygax) and a couple of contract artists/designers. You and your family can be your own order fulfillment team unless the game turns out to be a raging success, a problem everyone would love to have.

    So I'd imagine that the chances of a boardgame project turning into vaporware on Kickstarter are relatively low compared to anything tech related.

  16. #116
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    Re: Kickscammer

    For the record, I've only contributed to two Kickstarter game projects myself. I'm the type that is content to wait and see how interested I am in the final product when it comes out. The two I backed came at a time when there weren't any new releases I was interested in, so I put the money I would have spent on a new game in their projects instead. Both came from companies who had already proven they could release a game, and both have shown good progress.


    For anyone curious, they were smaller titles that don't get much attention. Cosmic Star Heroine and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by "influential results," but yes, I suppose I am offering a general dismissal of the notion. Kickstarter bothers me on principle because it's a way for people to avoid the hard-yet-critical parts of starting a business, and the numbers bear that suspicion out. Even Wool's list is rather small, with just 44 success stories.
    I need to make it clear that I did not make a list of completed projects. I made a list of what I felt were the most notable games to come out of Kickstarter. Things that may not have existed otherwise, and largely (but not entirely) were influential in the industry. The number of truly outstanding games you get in any particular year really isn't that long, and many of these games can be found among their number.

    Now, there is certainly something to be said for not giving money to amateurs that don't understand the realities of business, but you might be surprised at how many professionals seek help from crowd sourcing. There are things with an audience that most publishers just will not back because the return on investment is smaller than if you design a product for the mass market. It's why people used to complain so much about every game being a first person shooter.

    To just blanket treat the entire thing as an exercise in bad business is sad to me.


    In fact, but we are actually entering an age in which crowd sourcing is being used to gauge interest by publishers rather than as the sole source of income. A lot of these newer projects have a goal that doesn't cover the entire cost of the game, with the understanding that outside funding is only willing to invest once they see a reasonable level of demand is present.


    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    Whether it's fraud or incompetence, the result is the same with a Kickstarter failure-to-deliver -- taking money from the public and then reneging on a promise constitutes cheating people out of their money. You don't have to be a fraud to rip people off. It's more egregious in this case, because there's no recourse; with traditional funding, the money is exchanged for equity stakes that give shareholders some say in the matter; with Kickstarter, there are no consequences (and thus no safeguards) whatsoever.
    There are clear cases where this is a problem, but they hardly seem as common as you are implying. I think that if you try to apply this argument to situations that don't call for it you end up diluting the argument itself. It's enough to recognize the failures without over-reaching and applying those same assumptions to any project that doesn't go exactly as planned.

    There is a kind of naivety at display here, both by the public and by some of the project leads. This idea that if you throw money at something it will magically happen exactly the way you would expect. A better understanding on how video games are made would probably be beneficial all around.


    You know, now that I think about it, I wonder at the impact of the absence of milestones in a Kickstarter funded project. In traditional publishing, developers are expected to meet certain criteria deadlines at specific points in development, or else the publisher cuts funding. As far as I'm aware, once a Kickstarter has their money it's theirs, without having to provide proof of progress. This might also explain why the more reliable projects give constant updates to backers.


    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    No, quite the opposite: Kickstarter "success" is usually overhyped. There's often buzz about projects that meet their fundraising goals, but there's very little attention paid to the flops, which is a shame, because they're the norm. Were people to realize that Kickstarter projects are subject to the same (or worse) failure rate as any other kind of business, they might be more careful with their money instead of just throwing $25 or $50 or $75 at something because it sounds cool.
    This is really only true for the runaway funding successes that get millions of dollars. It's exciting, but only a handful of Kickstarter game projects fall under this category. There are just as many articles about the failures. It's all the games in between that end up being overlooked and forgotten.

    And flops most definitely are not the norm. I listed a partial list of successfully released Kickstarter projects, and it still outpaces the list of failures even when you add the "in danger of failing" titles. And I promise you, almost none of those games had a snowball's chance in hell of appearing on my list of notable Kickstarter games, even had they been released.


    P.S. That googledoc spreadsheet is fantastic. Thank you for sharing it.

  17. #117
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    Re: Kickscammer

    The biggest kickstarter I followed, but never invested in was Skarp. Once you realized the engineers had no idea about manufacturing processes, the whole thing fell apart. They had their campaign suspended, then jumped to indiegogo, where they got 5% of what they had. People still believe in them. I really don't know how idiots are separated from their money so easy...

  18. #118
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool View Post
    Now, there is certainly something to be said for not giving money to amateurs that don't understand the realities of business, but you might be surprised at how many professionals seek help from crowd sourcing.
    Pros can be shitty at bizops too. (Brad McQuaid, anyone?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool
    To just blanket treat the entire thing as an exercise in bad business is sad to me.
    It's a risk-reward calculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool
    In fact, but we are actually entering an age in which crowd sourcing is being used to gauge interest by publishers rather than as the sole source of income. A lot of these newer projects have a goal that doesn't cover the entire cost of the game, with the understanding that outside funding is only willing to invest once they see a reasonable level of demand is present.
    I would be curious to see how many Kickstarter projects are launched with that in mind. Anyone know if there are stats on that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wool
    I wonder at the impact of the absence of milestones in a Kickstarter funded project. In traditional publishing, developers are expected to meet certain criteria deadlines at specific points in development, or else the publisher cuts funding. As far as I'm aware, once a Kickstarter has their money it's theirs, without having to provide proof of progress.
    I think you're onto something there. I wonder if Kickstarter can set up escrow accounts that release money to projects as milestones are met. That would force some discipline and project-management skill into the process. Of course, that means someone at Kickstarter would have to keep track of these things to provide accountability, although I imagine that could be crowd-sourced too -- when X amount of people who donate to a project report that benchmark Y has been met, a chunk of cash is released. "Game has gone alpha and you got your invite? Click here" etc.

  19. #119
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    Re: Kickscammer

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    Pros can be shitty at bizops too. (Brad McQuaid, anyone?)
    This is true. My only point was that you can't assume that the method of funding is an indication of a lack of competence or business acumen.

    Quote Originally Posted by PPatty View Post
    I would be curious to see how many Kickstarter projects are launched with that in mind. Anyone know if there are stats on that?
    It's a new trend and so isn't that common yet. It's mostly only present on big titles that require more than 3 million to make, and the vast majority of Kickstarter projects are funded at well under a million. It's so new that the titles in question probably aren't even on that googledoc yet.
    Last edited by Wool; December 13th, 2015 at 03:59 PM.

  20. #120
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    Re: Kickscammer

    The Unsung Story Kickstarter Is Still Breaking Promises

    Two years after launch, Playdek’s Unsung Story remains one of the biggest Kickstarter disappointments to date, a $660,126 disaster that just keeps breaking promises. And now they’ve been MIA for three months.

    Originally pitched as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics with the involvement of series creator Yasumi Matsuno, Unsung Story excited strategy fans when it launched on Kickstarter in January of 2014. Though the company behind it, Playdek, didn’t have much experience developing fully fledged strategy games, they were established enough to convince plenty of FFT fans—like me!—to give them money.

    Then Playdek disappeared for a while. When they finally re-emerged in September, 2015, they had grim news: Unsung Story would be delayed at least another year. Progress had been slow. Even more frustrating, PVP multiplayer appeared to suddenly be a pivotal part of the game—despite the fact that it was never mentioned in the original Kickstarter pitch. What was once a promising project had turned into a disaster.

    In that same update, Playdek CEO Joel Goodman also promised better communication to backers. “I again sincerely apologize for the silence throughout this development process, and we will be consistent in updating you from here on forward,” he wrote, going on to answer reader questions in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Reddit.

    On October 20, 2015, the developers posted another update, featuring a combat video from Unsung Story. Although the video looked a little rough, it at last seemed like the devs were living up to their promises of regular updates and communication. Progress! “Next month we will have a more thorough video going over the specifics in combat,” they wrote. “We will also plan another AMA where you will be able to ask your questions directly to us, so stay tuned for that.”

    Three months later, there has been no video. There are no new updates, and there’s been no second AMA. It’s become clear that Playdek has no interest in following through on their promises.

    Playdek has not responded to a request for comment.

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