Hero's Song wants you to take your money back

As Hero's Song transitions into Hero's Swan Song following this week's announcement of the game and studio shutdown, John Smedley and Pixelmage Games are encouraging backers to take advantage of the open refund policy.

The studio said that it will start processing refunds early next week and give players their money back via check or PayPal. Due to Pixelmage shutting down, the studio would like backers to file sooner rather than later. The last date you will be able to do this is on March 31st, 2017.

John Smedley told fans not to be bashful and refuse the refund: "I've seen a lot of emails saying, 'Keep my money, thank you for your hard work.' You have no idea how good that makes us feel, but we actually feel the opposite. PLEASE TAKE YOUR MONEY BACK. We took your money in good faith and it is with that same good faith that we want to give it back to you."

Source: Indiegogo
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31 comments
Vaeris
Vaeris

Certainly handled much better than the 3 days or so we had to get refunds for Trials of Obi-Wan expansion.

GabeNewellFetish
GabeNewellFetish

Yep, it was simple enough. After reading the article here, I requested a refund. All I provided for the justification was a link to the massively article here. Within a couple hours, it said the refund was pending and showed the amount pending toward my account (I requested steam credit). The next day, it was available to spend.


It would have been WONDERFUL if the  No Man's Sky group allowed that.

FunkyCold
FunkyCold

Well played. I was passingly interested in the game as it had great potential.  I think the timing was wrong for the game to be funded by crowd funding, as we have all been burnt too many times to give money to ideas now.

Greaterdivinity
Greaterdivinity

What a pleasant change of events after a game get canned before it hits launch. I will say, I despite him being prone to running his mouth, I still like Smed quite a bit. Always seemed like a pretty stand-up guy, so kudos to him for this move!

A Dad Supreme
A Dad Supreme

Good on Smed.

You rarely see an effort to give back money when something fails.
Usually, it's post upon post of people screaming they can't get the company to reply when asking for a refund.

Xijit
Xijit

Humm ... I am going to play devil's advocate and call out every way I can see something shiesty going on:

PR stunt: they landed a contract for a project with a traditional "Developer->Producer" set up, so they are killing this thing (which was never going to be anything more than an experimental prototype) and pushing for refunds as a Good-Will PR stunt to reduce this game's stigma effecting the real game.

(yes, this "company" is closing, but I am anticipating that in 6~ months Smed will have a "New" company with most of the same employees)

Legal Issues: there could be issues with taxes or fines or maybe even leaving themselves open to a class action lawsuit if they defaulted on their product, closed the company, but still keep the money they raised from pre-sales. Now, an actual start-up with amateurs would be relatively safe from this, but not Smed: he is a millionaire & has been one of the biggest "faces" in gaming over the years ... I am sure he took all the correct steps to keep himself "safe" from losing a lawsuit, but that doesn't mean he wants to get tied up with lawyer fees for the next decade & this could be the next step in keeping his ass clean.

They Never Spent The Money: actual funding + crowd funding vs reported funding is always a bit shifty & from day one Smed has shown that they didn't actually need the crowd funding campaign to make the game. IMO I think that the game was always funded off of venture capital or something & had a set 9 to 10 digit budget to work with, but needed to show enough market interest in order to get more ... That interest never showed up, so they canceled the game, and at the same time had all of the crowd funding money sitting in a bank account. If that was the case, then it would cost Smed nothing to refund it all.

MetaDune
MetaDune

Really classy of John Smedley but how is he going to pay everyone who was involved in the project? Hopefully he worked something in the background with them otherwise it will be hard for him to find people to do stuff

jeremy2020
jeremy2020

@MetaDune he had investors in addition to the kickstarter. Likely, his investors will write it off. 

SallyBowls1
SallyBowls1

I was not interested in the game and thought they did a particularly bad job on their KS.   But this was a class move. well done.

Caerulei
Caerulei

I was really hoping to play this at lauch. Glad refunds are going out.

Grimalkin
Grimalkin

Come on people, this is supposed to be the default behavior of any business, how low has everything and everyone fallen, for us to praise such actions instead of acknowledging them as something normal?!

Armsbend
Armsbend

@Grimalkin nothing about the video game industry says to me, 'normal business'.

Gevah
Gevah

@Grimalkin getting a good service any where is the normal thing, and it'll never stop me from saying thank you to people who provide the service, when people do the right thing even if it's the normal thing ... it won't hurt to praise them, to say thank you at least.


Ganymede
Ganymede

@Pashgan Did you just say "honest" and "generous" in the same breath when the subject is Smedley?

A Dad Supreme
A Dad Supreme

@Grimalkin

"...how low has everything and everyone fallen, for us to praise such actions instead of acknowledging them as something normal?!"

=======

Very.

There is a default for people to have to fight tooth and nail to get developers to just respond let alone beg them to take their money back.

The default went from "Sorry you didn't like our game/our game failed...here's your money" to "Sorry. We are not able to process this reply."

Pashgan
Pashgan

@Grimalkin Well, a honest and generous producer (he will have to pay processing fees to intermediaries from his own pocket) is a phenomenon in the industry where certain companies don't offer refunds after ~18 months delay of release.

Archebius
Archebius

It's awesome Smedley was able to do this. I was interested in the game, and my wife is sold whenever Pat Rothfuss is involved, but after they canceled the Kickstarter I didn't back it again. 

This isn't something that I expect other crowdfunded games to be able to do, but it's good to see it happen here.

pid
pid

This shows one thing. Projects may end bad and fail, but this move keeps Mr. Smed's name clean. I'm confident there flows a lot of his own money into this refund plan. That's how responsible business is done. Probably Hero's Song didn't resonate in the blogosphere as hoped and they realized it wasn't gonna be a commercial success. Not every idea can be a success but bailing out on time without causing real damage is how you stay in the business and win on the long term. That speaks books about how to fail fast and not fail hard. A lot of maturity in these choices!


Opposite examples: Derek Smart and Curt Schilling.

Pepperzine
Pepperzine

Though I didn't back hero song because of not liking the game design and choices in general, this move will definitely make me less weary of buying into his next project if it interests me. Bravo.

squidgod2000
squidgod2000

So they did a Kickstarter, IGG and Steam EA, can't afford to finish the game, but can afford to refund everyone everything they paid?

Did they just decided that, absent any hype around their Early Access that it would never be worth continuing to work on the game? Pretty representative of the pre-order hypefest shitshow the industry has become. 

UpayaCrow
UpayaCrow

@Armsbend @squidgod2000 This is even more great because it mimics the sort of thing that would happen with proper investors where various elements like acceptable losses and repayment plans are an element of the calculation instead of taking crowdfunding as non-recourse, risk-free capital.

Armsbend
Armsbend

@squidgod2000 He had a few million in investor money and 70 employees.  He looked at the numbers and saw he wouldnt make that money back or worse but still had some in the kitty to offer money back and write employee checks.


Frankly, ALL want to be developers should be able to do this rather than having to cry and beg every time they run out of money.  Business skill is also knowing when you face a sure defeat, retreating and coming back with a better plan in the future.  


I commend him for knowing when to quit a project.

bobbysocks
bobbysocks

@Serrenity "how could they have won here?" ...not sure if you followed the game or backed it...but I did.

They did almost no PR for the game, Smed was supposed to stream on multiple occasions, and failed to. Their community manager did little to nothing, going weeks without posting, and rarely engaging the community...I hope she was not paid anything substantial. They could have done many things to generate hype for the project, and instead they did nothing. To top that off, when all the indiegogo players said it was a horrible mistake to release the game to steam EA in the state it was in, they just went ahead and did it anyway....KNOWING it would fail, and receive sub par reviews. tell me what is worse....Taking pay cuts, and waiting for the game to be at a reasonable state for release?....or just throwing something out there that has no chance, because you need money? If you take the latter, you are a fool.


I do not feel bad for them, as most of the developers were probably compensated in some way for their work. I don't know about the rest of you, but I own a small business, and I operate it within its means. Starting to get sick about the turn the gaming industry is taking. I don't know any other honest business where you can fail to make a product and still hold your hand out as if you deserve to be paid. Poppycock.


They had almost 3 millions dollars and 17 employees, and a guarantee from Smed that they had what they needed to finish. It is obvious that they did not run the business within its limits, they are not doing a good thing, they are doing the only thing they can to save their names.

Serrenity
Serrenity

how could they have won here? They give money back to backers, you take it negative. If they hadn't given money back you'd call them greedy. If they were getting lots pre release hype, you'd say it was overblown. If they launched to a lot of preorders you would say it's just because of the hype. They literally couldn't win.

Seriously, they are doing a good thing and all you can do is find the alleged shit-lining to a positive story.

wolfyseyes
wolfyseyes

However you may feel about him, let it not be said that Smed isn't a man of integrity.

Kanbe
Kanbe

Ya the devs really trying to get people to take their money back for a failed game isn't something you see often.