As some of you surely have heard already, David Hagar, the developer of Cult: Awakening Of The Old Ones (open-world RL) has announced he`s no longer working on it.
That`d be sad news and all...but hey, games do get canceled, stuff happens. What makes this situation more spicy though is the fact that a year ago he raised 34K on Kickstarter to fund it - nearly 7 times over the original 5K goal. Ouch!
It`s not a huge amount of money and also I don`t suppose a deliberate fraud on the behalf of the dev - but still, it`s a poignant little story when you look at the whole Kickstarter phenomena. Raises quite a few questions - for example, what the hell were you thinking mate or how are you gonna refund it? (he said he will). Also the claim that in the end he only got 14K out of 35K pledged due to some "taxes, fees, and payments to contractors" is sort of dubious - taxes I can understand, but the latter surely counts as development cost?
On the grander scale I think it highlights one of the major flaws in the whole Kickstarter operation - the stretch goals lunacy. I was never a fan of it, since the beginning. So your game is uber-popular and the money is pouring in? Great news! Should you add new features? Hmmm...maybe...in moderation... but perhaps it`d be better just to concentrate on what was promised in the first place? Especially as these stretch goal estimates seem often pulled out of a hat - so the whole game costs 500K to make, but if you get another 250K you`ll add a map editor? (which you`re already using?)...or another city or character or what have you? Eh, bit rich this. (And don`t even start me on the madness that is Star Citizen. New goal for 20 mil: planetary FPS combat. ROTFL +WTFITS)
Don`t get me wrong guys, I`d love to see more features in, say, Wasteland 2 - but to be honest I`d rather have them complete the game in some sort of promised time frame (another thing that gets a free pass on Kickstarter
Overall it sure is a shame, Cult definitely had potential. On the other hand this story could - and should - serve as a reality check to other people jumping onto the crowdfunding bandwagon.