Kickstarter canceled the campaign for MMORPG RAW just a day before it funded

    
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Tomorrow was supposed to be a big day for Killerwhale Games’ MMO RAW as it concluded its Kickstarter campaign – in fact, we had a note in our newsroom to check up on it again after it had funded. It’s not to be, however, as MMO Fallout noticed the campaign was suspended (that’s Kickstarter’s word) just this morning with just hours left to go in the campaign.

We first learned about the game well after its Kickstarter began in June, after it had already raised the majority of its ask; we noted at the time that it seemed to be run by a novice dev team making rather lofty promises without any PR, as well as the fact that gamers had lodged complaints about dodgy recycled assets and the possibility that it was violating German law. Nevertheless, the campaign soared to nearly $200,000 US by the time it was shut down.

According to a Redditor who backed the campaign, Kickstarter’s Trust and Safety Team mailed backers this morning informing them their pledges had been canceled and giving a rather nonspecific explanation: “To protect our community, we may suspend projects when they demonstrate one or more of the following: A creator (or someone directly related to them) posing as an independent party to create the illusion of support in project comments or elsewhere” or “[a]ppropriating someone else’s biography or falsifying an identity” or “[m]isrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator.” It’s not clear why the company allowed the campaign to continue for many weeks before canceling it.

Killerwhale Games’ public statement today calls Kickstarter “Shitstarter” and promises loyal followers that work on the game will continue.

The Discord has an even longer explanation and signals intent to move a campaign to Indiegogo, which we’ll note here allows creators more flexible funding such that they get anything that is donated, even if the campaign doesn’t reach its arbitrary goal – meaning even fewer protections for backers.

The message these devs say was sent to them from Kickstarter jibes with the one sent to backers. An additional FAQ posted in the game’s Discord asserts that “the Kickstarter has been suspended because the developers ‘would need to raise additional funds outside of Kickstarter to complete the game,'” a claim that has not to our knowledge been supported by anything made public by Kickstarter and that doesn’t comport with Kickstarter’s previous standards when it comes to funding MMOs. [Update: Kickstarter apparently confirmed this rationale to PCGN, which should certainly raise some alarm, given how many MMOs have rather transparently admitted their Kickstarters could not possibly fund an entire game.]

The lesson here is, as always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and your best course of action is to not put any money into it – if it’s a scam, you win, and if it’s not a scam, you still win because you can buy it at launch anyway. A lot of our readers are probably too young to remember the Glitchless MMO Dawn, but it’s worth a refresher all the same, if only because websites with the history of the word “fetapult” are slowly blinking out of existence and everyone needs to know that these kinds of pitches aren’t new in gaming whatsoever.

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Tamanous

Valid reasons or not, Kickstarter would have to cancel before fulfillment because they guarantee the funds on successful campaigns.

John Artemus
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John Artemus

Is Killerwhale Games a German company? I only ask because if English is their second language then I can forgive all the grammatical errors in their statement.

Because bad grammar makes everything seem very shady.

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Jon Wax

This game was always going to fail. Would have been wild west all over again: begging for pve only, why is server pop so low?, Game sucks

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Bruno Brito

Killerwhale Games’ public statement today calls Kickstarter “Shitstarter” and promises loyal followers that work on the game will continue.

Exactly what a dodgy company needs: To show LESS professionalism.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

Kickstarter have been more vigilant lately. Kolossal games had some of their stuff shut down after it was found they had basically kickstarted some games under pseudonyms and such.

I love Kickstarter, mostly for board games, but be careful with who you invest in. This screamed scam from day one and honestly looked dull anyway, but even if you were interested in this kind of thing there were warning signs all over it.

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Rolan Storm

Exactly: it is scam. I wonder if ‘Killerwhale’ has something to do with ‘Brigada’ series.

And to all those guys who gave RAW benefit of a doubt (surprise): bastards barely speak proper English, they lashed out in social media with childish attitude, their video takes forever to make… I can point at one minor flag after another – but there is no need, everyone figured out already what it is.

Looks like some young cybergopniks opened a Sesame of crowdfunding for themselves and decided they are first to try.

Also – again – my eyes. Reading them is painful.

Yangers
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Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

THIS DOESN’T SOUND SUSPICIOUS AT ALL! /s

crowstwo
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Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
crowstwo

You guys dodged a bullet right there. This “campaign” was screaming fake from a mile away.

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

“An additional FAQ posted in the game’s Discord asserts that “the Kickstarter has been suspended because the developers ‘would need to raise additional funds outside of Kickstarter to complete the game,’” a claim that has not to our knowledge been supported by anything made public by Kickstarter and that doesn’t comport with Kickstarter’s previous standards when it comes to funding MMOs.”

cf this from GamesIndustry.biz

“”Our rules and guidelines ask that creators seek to raise the amount of money needed to bring a project to completion and fulfil all rewards,” a spokesperson told PCGamesN.

“This creator stated in an update that they would need to raise additional funds outside of Kickstarter to complete the game. We require projects to be honest and clearly presented, and this project failed to meet that standard.””

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Zero_1_Zerum

Huh. There’s not much info about Dawn these days. Just a few random articles and forum posts mentioning it…. And the official website is still up, so at least someone has been paying for the hosting and keeping it running. Last post is from 2016.
Kinda a shame that more information about the scam isn’t currently available. If you don’t learn from the past, you may be doomed to repeat it.