What Happens When A Successful Kickstarter Isn't Good Enough?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What Happens When A Successful Kickstarter Isn't Good Enough?

It's a strange development to consider, make no mistake there. Most people out there who file a Kickstarter are generally raring to go on their new dream project. Those that don't get their Kickstarter off the ground are usually ready to try again later. But what about those projects that make their desired splash on Kickstarter, but run into trouble along the way?

That's just what seems to be happening with "Haunts: The Manse Macabre", a game that went to the Kickstarter well for cash, but as it turns out, is having more trouble than it expected. The problem had changed from being no longer one of money to being instead one of manpower. Their lead programmer got a job at Google, which turned his spare time into a fond memory, insufficient to make any kind of headway on the game. Another programer landed much the same fortune, though not necessarily with Google, but rather with a completely different company but with the same sudden dearth of spare time. Meanwhile, the guy running the show recently confessed in a blog post that while he knew how to program, he wasn't capable of programming to a degree that would let him fix the known bugs, let alone any unknown bugs, a fact made worse by the revelation that the game was programmed in Go, a comparatively obscure language that limited the available programmer pool.

Thankfully, in this case, several programmers stepped in to say that they'd throw in some help, for what amounted to good will and a cut of profits. The $28,739 that the Kickstarter brought in, meanwhile, was long since spent. To his credit, Mob Rules Games--the company behind "Haunts: The Manse Macabre"-- head Rick Dakan has not only expressed his contrition at the project's less than stellar current status, but has promised refunds out of his own pocket to those wanting them.

The demanded refunds so far amount to just $30.

Two points immediately jump to mind here. One, any project will generally require more money than is initially believed. Two, if something like this was going to happen, it's a good thing that it was Rick Dakan heading the fallout as opposed to a lot of people. It's not clear just yet if "Haunts: the Manse Macabre" will end up dying out, or if boss Dakan will find the necessary programmers to carry on, but it's clear that even in failure, there are still a lot of great sports on Kickstarter.

Dakan may well have handled this as well as anyone else could have in his situation. He communicated the issue well, he promised to make good on the situation for anyone who wasn't willing to trust him--instead of just insisting on the trust, he made it an offer--and asked for further help. This offers up a lot of possibility for future development and gives Dakan a load of credibility in the industry.

Hopefully it will all still work out, and Dakan et al will be able to bring their dream to fruition and release it to us. But if not, at least Mob Rules Games will have gone out with class.
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