Just last month we put a spotlight on Untamed Isles, a promising Pokemon-like MMO that raised $528,804 from a 2021 Kickstarter campaign. In fact, players were supposed to get their hands on it quite soon, as studio Phat Loot announced on August 1st that it was taking pre-orders for an October 6th launch.
Yet as of August 11th, the MMO is completely dead in the water. What happened?
The one-word answer is “finances.” The two-word answer is “crypto bad.” And the full explanation is that the studio “leaned into the crypto market and expanded rapidly off the back of the positive interest” before said market crashed and left the studio “heavily exposed with too short of a runway” – essentially, it’s out of money to continue development thanks to the crypto market. And this is the charitable read on the situation, direct from founder Joshua Grant himself.
“Since we started the journey in 2020, the economic landscape has changed dramatically both generally and specifically for cryptocurrency, and we are not confident in the current market,” Grant, who led a 70-person studio, wrote. “We ran out of financial resources and we can’t carry on the development at this moment.”
So as of right now, Untamed Isles is on hiatus until and unless “the crypto situation is resolved.” As the studio crosses its fingers and rubs its lucky rabbit’s feet, we may take this as another cautionary tale about “Web 3” and its numerous disasters. Sadly, this isn’t even the first time a Kickstarted MMO went belly-up over crypto in 2022, as a similar fate befell TitanReach earlier this year.
“Phat Loot Studios and Untamed Isles did not invest any funds into crypto, all funds raised through crowdfunding and through traditional investment were spent by the studio developing the game. The reason for the pausing of game development is due to the company exhausting its available funds. We have around 70 full-time staff and have had so for over a year and ran a smaller team for over 2 years. We had several investors pull out recently due to concerns about both the economic market along with the crypto market at the moment which made it very clear we could not reach early access. If they had not pulled out, we were pushing to make the early access date we announced. This all happened after announcing our early access release date.”
Moreover, the studio puts some blame on “negative sentiment” toward crypto games, which this game wasn’t yet but apparently would’ve been eventually.
“In addition, it was proving hard to get pre-order traction given the negative sentiment associated with web3-integrated games, despite Untamed Isles being primarily a full MMORPG game (with web3 marketplace only an ancillary future integration in the background for those players that wanted to trade their in-game items outside of the game). This caused us to take a critical look at launching the game in this current market. As a consequence, it wasn’t possible to continue funding the development to hit the target release in October 2022.”