Yesterday we looked at ten games that successfully found funding through Kickstarter despite having no big names attached to help generate that all-important publicity. Here we look at ten less fortunate projects that failed to reach their targets for a variety of reasons, from not successfully communicating the game's premise to alleged dishonesty. Crucially, none of these projects necessarily failed because of the games themselves, but because of the way the developers handled their Kickstarter campaigns – something we'll be looking at in more detail tomorrow.
$3,796 pledged of $10,000 goal
Ninja Baseball’s, ahem, pitch isn’t quite as transparent as its title suggests. Setting out to combine the worlds of baseball and ninjas, the game trades bats and balls for swords and shuriken with a vaguely defined combat element. Creator Ted Brown’s description in his Kickstarter video certainly doesn’t lack enthusiasm – it attracted the support of 57 backers, after all – but it does lack actual game assets or any real sense of how it was all going to work. A fatal omission, it would seem.
$792 pledged of $5,000 goal
Another enthusiastic pitch with rewards that include some undeniably fantastic ‘bead sprites’, Lazy Brain Games’ “retro-action climbing shooter” Infernal Edge 2 failed to catch the imagination of the wider Kickstarter community. It’s a shame, as the first game’s blend of twitch platforming and mouse-aimed shooting is an imaginative and unashamedly hardcore mix. But while some early screenshots graced the game’s Kickstarter page, a promised gameplay video failed to emerge before time ran out.
$3,502 pledged of $15,000 goal
Auro: The Golden Prince is a turn-based strategy dungeon crawler for Android and iOS from the creators of the excellent 100 Rogues. The video has heart, certainly, but goes into detailed gameplay mechanics that would be better saved for an in-game tutorial, muddying its message, and the $15,000 goal may have been just a touch too ambitious. The team acknowledges these errors of judgement and more in its final update, and confirms that the game’s still being worked on following its Kickstarter flop (there's more on the developer's thoughts here). Maybe next time.
$1,889 pledged of $69,000 goal
Metacell 2’s creators put a great deal of effort into their amusing Kickstarter video, but for all its polish and detail, fail to communicate exactly what you were investing in. There are a lot of contradictory elements, none of which are fleshed out in a way that helps you picture what the final game would have looked like: The game is described as a top-down shooter, but it’s also stressed that it will be 3D; one of the team says he likes shooters because of their simplicity, while the other explains how Metacell 2 is going to have role-playing elements and extra depth; and the whole thing is presented using assets from the first Metacell, itself an unrelated puzzle shooter. Confusing, to say the least.
$242 pledged of $10,000 goal
It’s hard not to feel bad for Yummi Apps after watching its frankly terrible pitch for Jelly Love. A team of developers tired of working to client stipulations, Jelly Love is its first original property – a polished-looking puzzler for iOS, Android and Facebook. The poor quality of the video, though, together with some rambling anecdotes and no real explanation of gameplay on the page or in the video, left the project woefully short of its $10,000 target.
$1,884 pledged of $15,000 goal
"I know what you're thinking,” begins one of the game’s developers in Zombie Prepper’s Kickstarter video. "'Another zombie app, really?'" Unfortunately, it was a prescient prediction as the ARG failed to attract enough backers to meet its $15,000 target. Assigning points for your preparedness in the face of a coming world-changing event – be it a terrorist attack on the power grid, or a zombie holocaust – Zombie Prepper taps into the very active world of prepping. The developer’s position it as a fun way to protect your family, but when buying a 12-gauge shotgun is one of the tasks, we’re not so sure.
$17,430 pledged OF $55,000 goal
An bid to remake the original series of FMV adventure games by taking advantage of today’s technology to offer uncompressed video, this project attracted a huge number of donations from backers but couldn’t hit its lofty $55,000 goal. The remasters are still going ahead, funded by the developer, a move which has raised some eyebrows as it goes against the generally accepted consensus that Kickstarter should support projects that can’t be funded any other way. Regardless of ethical questions, it goes to show that not all reboots or sequels can whip up a funding frenzy.
$96,951 pledged of $500,000 goal
A collaborative project between MonkeyPaw Games and Gaijinworks, this campaign attempted to raise the money to localise Japanese RPG Class Of Heroes II and produce a deluxe boxed version for release in the UK and other Western territories. Nearly $100,000 was raised for this PSP and Vita game, but nowhere near its $500,000 goal. As such, the localisation is still going ahead, but the boxed version has been dropped.
$4,739 pledged of $80,000 goal
Mythic was gaining momentum, reaching $4,739 of its $80,000 goal quickly, but was shot down when allegations of asset theft were levelled against the developer, Little Monster Productions. While the studio denied that this was the case, the subsequent negative press and tainted perception of the project resulted in the developer cancelling its campaign early.
$21,345 pledged of $1,100,000 goal
Perhaps one of the most ambitious videogame proposals on Kickstarter: a MMORPG to outgun WOW, Rift and Second Life. Unfortunately, with absolutely no assets to show, and only a series of unappealing talking head videos from designer Ellwood Bartlett, the campaign failed to gain much traction. The astonishing funding goal of $1,100,000 can’t have done much for its chances either.