Feb 7th, 2017

Back in 2012, Kickstarter was a new and novel way to get games that classic publishers wouldn’t touch anymore. It’s one of the reasons we’ve seen a resurgence in the cRPG genre, with new classics like Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Divinity: Original Sin, and Wasteland 2 to name a few successful Kickstarters.

But what about those projects that talked big and promised a lot, but failed to deliver? Unforunately, there have been a lot of those to litter the highway to 2017. Let’s take a look at some of the highest-profile gaming Kickstarters that ultimately failed. We’re leaving Ouya off this list because it’s been done to death. Instead, we’ll focus on actual games.

Yogventures!

This one gathered more than half a million dollars in funding before vanishing, but not quite overnight. People backed this one because it had the name of a popular cast of YouTubers tied to the project, but the development team slated to work on the game was under-experienced and the game was over-promised. It was supposed to be released in December of 2012, but after a spat with the developers it was abruptly cancelled and backers were never offered refunds.

Unwritten: That Which Happened

Unwritten: That Which Happened got a lot of press when it debuted in 2013, namely because the developer Joe Houston had a good pedigree and came from a recognized development studio. He announced the game as an indie project and collected more than $78,000 from backers before updates started to run dry.

The last update from the dev was a whopping three years ago and it mentions medical expenses in his family that the Kickstarter money eventually was used to cover. He doesn’t specifically mention cancelling the project, but does admit the money is gone and he’s not working on it. Given that the last update was over three years ago, it’s safe to say this sheep has been fleeced.

Clang

This one has the embarrassing effect of smearing sci-fi and historical fiction author Neal Stephenson’s name along with it. Stephenson appears in the Kickstarter pledge video, asking enthusiastic video game fans to consider donating to his new game Clang, which he promises will feature realistic medieval weaponry physics that aren’t found in other games.

The Kickstarter collected more than $500,000 to create the game and eventually a tech demo was produced, but the team severely underestimated the cost it would take to make the game and eventually the whole project was canned.

Godus

One of gaming’s most notable hype men couldn’t resist the allure of Kickstarter back when it was fresh and unspoiled in the minds of gamers everywhere. Peter Molyneux took the the platform with the above pitch for Godus, which he promised would be a return to the God Game genre that everyone wanted to see.

Given his pedigree on titles like Populous, Black & White, Fable, and Dungeon Keeper, gamers lined up to hand Molyneux their hard-earned cash. What they got was a poorly developed clickfest that put mobile first thanks to the microtransactions that were liberally sprinkled throughout the experience. Molyneux was publicly lambasted as a pathological liar thanks to this game and has publicly admitted that during the final hours of the Kickstarter, his team was promising anything they could to reach the goal line.

Shadow of the Eternals

Shadow of the Eternals was billed as a spiritual successor to the Eternal Darkness series that was so popular on Nintendo 64. Dennis Dyack and Precursor Games revealed the Kickstarter, but the shadiness of the presentation and the controversy surrounding Dyack soon brought to light just how failed this project really was from the beginning.

Precursor Games promised Wii U fans just about everything they could think of to get them to fund the game, but still the Kickstarter didn’t manage to reach half of its goal so the project wasn’t actively funded. Precusor Games tried at least two more times to get the game crowdfunded, but enough people saw through the bullshit to stay away.