Chronicles of Elyria boss insists work on the game continues in spite of team layoff

    
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Chronicles of Elyria boss insists work on the game continues in spite of team layoff

As we’ve been covering over the last month and change, Soulbound Studios shocked backers and watchers when it announced that MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria, the recipient of millions in crowdfunding money, was laying off staff and ceasing production, having run out of cash. The revelation caused backers to seek aid from the Washington State Attorney General’s office and pursue other avenues for refunds and civil suits for what they characterize as a scam. Then Soulbound backtracked, claiming it’d been misunderstood – that in fact some staff remain to work on the game and the studio was seeking alternative funding sources, which some backers interpreted to be an effort to stall legal action against the company.

The latest development probably won’t change the minds of any angry backers, that’s for sure. Apparently, Soulbound CEO Jeromy Walsh penned an FAQ for the Washington State AG’s office, and now that FAQ is being distributed to backers, complaining consumers, and Kickstarter readers. In it, Walsh repeats the newer assertion that the studio is still working on the MMO, that its “intention was and continues to be to deliver” the game. “Our intention was never to shut down the game or the company,” Walsh says. “We used the word ‘shutter’ incorrectly and regret ever writing that.”

However, Walsh says he doesn’t know when the game will launch, confirms that the team was indeed laid off March 24th, and admits that he alone is working on the game, though “six or so” former team members have offered to volunteer to continue development. “Presently, we are discussing a plan with a potential investor/partner to provide a playable proof of technology game to you.”

The letter also informs backers that the studio will not be issuing refunds and outlines where all the money has gone to date.

“100% of the funds we raised through Kickstarter, our stretch goals, and direct contributions went directly to support the game’s development. Building games, especially games of this scope, is an expensive venture that is a combination of software development and art where things are bound to go wrong. We are no exception. Like many developers over the years, we have found ourselves way behind schedule. We are solely to blame for our mistakes. No one has purchased a Ferrari. No one has taken a world tour on your money. All salaries were within the norm for a company of our size in our industry and region. In fact, our founders are our biggest investors by far. So, where did your money go? Our costs can be broken down into payroll expenses for approximately 20 people, numerous contractors, health insurance, operating expenses (such as our lease, computers, electricity, Internet services), software licenses and associated royalties, legal costs, accounting, training, and marketing. Our run-rate has averaged nearly $2M a year over four years and every penny can be accounted for.”

Further reading:

Source: Kickstarter via Reddit

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Relmharver
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Relmharver

Even though I’ve been playing computer games since the C64, I’m not that familiar with the history of game development. Has there ever been a bigger douche than Caspian, in regards to dishonesty and screwing customers? Chris Roberts doesn’t count, because that hasn’t played out yet.

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Kickstarter Donor
NecroFox4

Anybody remember Dawn?

Reader
Nate Woodard

I get this one and Ashes of Creation so confused. This is the one that basically went silent for months and now assures us they are still developing literally weeks after reported silence without comment right?

Reader
Eamil

Yup. And for all the crap Ashes was getting for a while, their stream a few weeks back at least showed off more in-game footage than Elyria ever did.

Reader
Nate Woodard

Okay, just making sure. I knew the other one was actually making progress, though the Battle Royal mode has me scratching my head a bit.

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Eamil

Yeah I get you. I was just making a side comment there.

Reader
Nate Woodard

LOL. You’re good. I’m not staunchly defending. It’ll be a miracle if it actually sees a real release.

Reader
HolyAvengerOne

Yet another strand in Jeromy’s web of lying bullshit to try and not get sued. What a sad, sad pathetic and dragging agony for the game.

Same shit he pulled 10 years ago with another “MMO” that he “kept working on”: https://www.gamedev.net/blogs/blog/292-level-grind-online/

Eliot Lefebvre
Staff
Eliot Lefebvre

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HolyAvengerOne

This was hilarious af. I strongly believe that Jeromy really took that as a compliment, in his crazy hubris, he’s not likely to have understood the irony of it all.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Ooph, he had to know about the financials by then. Points for the gumption, but missed points on the bravado.

Interesting to see a few familiar faces in that comments section, though : P

Reader
Bruno Brito

It’s almost funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

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Toy Clown

I don’t think this game deserves any news space – unless it’s relating to court actions and paying back those who backed the game. I’m so tired of hearing people with Trump Mouth.

Justin Olivetti
Staff
Justin Olivetti

“Q: When will I get my refund? How do I get my money back?
A: Hahaha you won’t.”

There, fixed.

laelgon
Reader
laelgon

*cough* bullshit *cough*

If they wanted to prove it isn’t all a scam, and that money wasn’t wasted, how about showing any actual aspect of the MMO? That doesn’t include more low poly asset store parkour videos.

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Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Connor

“It’s just a flesh wound.” -Soulbound 2020

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Raidervc

Burning through $2 million per year seems…high, for an independent studio with no consistent source of revenue. I’m guessing they didn’t have a project manager who said,” Hey folks, this isn’t sustainable.”

Luckily he found a loophole allowing this to remain “in development” so he’ll never have to refund anyone!

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Jo Watt

$2 million per year and look at the demo they recently put out. There are prototypes that people can slap together in something like Unreal Engine within a week or so that would play and look way better. What they showed looked like Runescape and people claimed… “it’s just they dont have the textures yet”.

Its bullshit. They clearly slapped something together and made up some story to go with it.

Now I’m thinking if they did have interested investors… they probably didn’t accept the offers that wanted too much “control” or “information” because then they couldn’t explain why nothing was being accomplished each month.