Gamers are still in the honeymoon phase with Kickstarter. What happens when games never make it to launch? Kyle Orland at Ars Technica discusses Haunt‘s recent failure and what this says about the Kickstarter phenomenon:
Over 1,200 backers helped Rick Dakan and the development team at Mob Rule Games raise nearly $29,000 through Kickstarter this summer, enough to help recoup some of the $42,500 already invested to that point. But that money apparently wasn’t enough to get Haunts across the finish line. As Dakan notes in a detailed Kickstarter update, the two main programmers on the game have been forced to move on to full-time jobs, and will have minimal free time to devote to the final debugging and polish needed to get the game from its current threadbare version to a releasable state. Coding the game in the relatively obscure Go programming language means there’s a limited pool of new programmers that could be brought in for that final push as well.
Haunts is the first in what’s likely to be a wave of Kickstarter-funded games that simply fall apart before they become viable products (many non-game Kickstarters have already faced similar post-funding meltdowns). Much bigger games with much more traditional funding methods are delayed and cancelled all the time, sometimes publicly and sometimes quietly behind the closed doors of a developer. Getting money directly from potential players, and keeping them involved and updated in the development process, doesn’t change the basic risks and uncertainties of the development process, as Haunts aptly demonstrates.