Anyone on the MassivelyOP team will probably tell you that I won’t shut up about Chronicles of Elyria. There’s so much to like about the game Soulbound Studios wants to build! Like many of you, I backed the game, and I’ve been literally battling to keep myself from donating $500 max to the Kickstarter; so far, I’ve backed at only the $40 tier, and I’ve never gone over $35 for any Kickstarter in the past. I don’t easily part with my money, especially for a game in development. While Elyria has a lot going for it, I’ve noticed recently that the developers and some fans might have gotten a little over excited since hitting their funding goal, and I’ve seen people comment about pulling out their funds because of this. The team recently released some answers to some good questions on Reddit, but some answers still feel a bit too optimistic. Maybe it’s time we bring things back down to Earth.
the stomping land
Official Site: The Stomping Land
This week we’ve been abuzz about Smed’s Hero’s Song Kickstarter cancellation – the KS more than the game, mostly because the game is happening regardless, but the Kickstarter might be more a window into the genre and the wider gaming industry than the game itself.
Our audience has seemed particularly prickly lately about so-called “rockstar devs” taking “AAA games” to Kickstarter for “no-strings” money and promotion instead of to investors or publishers, which might be leading to the corporatization of Kickstarter and squeezing out of smaller studios. We talked about that last month too when we asked our readers whether they planned to Kickstart anything in the new year.
So let’s talk about the present and future of crowdfunding. Are you over it? Is it dead? Is it being killed off by so-called “rockstar” devs, or is that sour grapes? If you’ve backed games, how many have delivered? What are your criteria for backing games in 2016? These are the questions I posed to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking.
It’s become tradition to fare well the MMOs that sunsetted in the preceding year, but that wasn’t always the case. At the beginning of 2015, in saying goodbye to 2014’s sunsetted games, I tried to put that into perspective.
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how Vanguard’s early stumbles foreshadowed the changing MMORPG industry. In January 2007, when Vanguard lurched its way to launch, the genre was barely a decade old; it was booming, and it had never suffered hardship on a massive scale. In the west, we’d seen only three “major” MMOs sunset (Motor City Online, Earth and Beyond, and Asheron’s Call 2), and only one MMO, Anarchy Online, had “gone F2P,” though we hadn’t yet thought to call it yet because it was such a rare and new thing. In fact, it wasn’t until 2008’s first big wave of AAA, post-World of Warcraft MMOs launched and mostly flopped that MMORPG players gave much thought to the future of the genre and how WoW had reshaped (and possibly broken) it. Maybe not even then.
In 2016 and in 2015, sunsets are increasingly common, a result of market oversaturation, business model struggles, and changing gamer tastes and investment options. Let’s revisit the games we lost in 2015 and consider what their sunsets portend for the year ahead.
One of the very real risks of donating to a Kickstarter campaign is the danger that a company could take your money and never deliver on the project. We’ve seen this happen several times, whether it be a shady fly-by-night company or a project that gets in over its head and runs out of funds. In any case, donors have had little recourse to obtain refunds for unfulfilled projects — at least, until now.
The Washington State attorney general filed and won a lawsuit this past summer against Kickstarter campaigner Altius Management. Altius, which promised to create asylum-themed playing cards, raised over $25,000 in 2012 but never delivered the product to backers. Altius Management was ordered to pay over $54,000 in court fines and restitution to the 31 backers from Washington State.
Do you have a weirdly shaped hole in your life that can be filled only by killing and riding dinosaurs (not necessarily in that order)? Have you wanted to live out fantasies of taking up residence in Jurassic Park? Then get thee hence to ARK: Survival Evolved because this might be the game that The Stomping Land had promised to be — and then some.
ARK strands you on a massive island that’s a throwback to a land before time. While players will have to do the typical survival game activites (forage, craft, build), they’ll also have to contend with the dozens of types of dinosaurs that happen to be roaming around. Dinos in ARK can be tamed, killed, and used as mounts, depending on the need.
ARK will be launching its early access program next month while aiming for a June 2016 release. Its dinosaur survival theme is similar to The Stomping Land, which was abandoned by its developer earlier this year. Check out the following announcement trailer for ARK and see if these jaw-dropping graphics can convince you to get on board with this project.
Welcome back to Make My MMO, a recurring column from Massively-that-was which covers crowdsourced MMOs of both the fully funded and the not-so-much variety. Each week we’ll round up the most relevant crowdfunding news stories in case you missed them, and we’ll also keep a running tab on active funding drives.
And speaking of that, for the next two weeks we get to write about ourselves in this space, as our Kickstarter is ongoing through March 6th and you lovely backers continue to stick it to the man while humbling us with your support.
Click past the cut for the rest of this week’s crowdfunding news. And don’t forget to tip us if you see something we missed (especially this week and next as we’re still scrambling to get our new house in order!).
Friends, it pains me to say this, especially when dinosaurs are involved, but it might be time to give up hope on The Stomping Land.
After far overshooting Kickstarter goals for his dinosaur survival sandbox, The Stomping Land creator Alex Fundora has seemingly abandoned the project. Freelance artist Vlad Konstantinov, who had been hired work on the project, said that he had attempted unsuccessfully to contact Fundora [link now dead] numerous times over the past month and hadn’t been paid for his recent work.
To make matters worse, early access to The Stomping Land is still being sold on Steam despite players warning others off in the comments. The title raised over $114,000 from a Kickstarter campaign in 2013.[Source: The Stomping Land forums [link dead], Eurogamer, Steam]