A tale that has been somewhat less than heroic thus far.
You may remember last week I commented on the failure of the Alpha Colony Kickstarter, and how in the end it was probably a good thing because of the potential for the entire project to have gone horribly awry and waste the funds backing it, resulting in some very upset backers at the very least. Near the end of that story I posited that it might take a high profile case of a Kickstarter not coming through with the promises it made after funding for people to wake up a little.
Well, I wouldn't exactly call this super high profile, but other than that the story of what was happening to the backers of Code Hero pretty much fit the bill nicely.
Code Hero is a game with a very interesting premise. Through playing the title people can learn how to code and make games. That at least is the current claim of the creator Alex Peake, who started the Kickstarter project with the goal of raising $100,000. Thanks to the numerous backers of the project, Code Hero actually made $170,000 which included two people that actually donated over $10,000 for the highest level of reward: a custom scenario in the game itself. It all seemed like another one of those Cinderella stories.
Of course, this was back in February. Roughly ten months and little in the way of communication later a lot of backers are getting antsy to say the least. That's what lead to the circumstances of the story getting the attention of the people over at The Escapist to cover the goings on, and in a none-too-positive light in regards to the way that it was being handled by Peake and his self-made studio Primer Labs.
This story may still have a happy ending, since after the story went live it spurred a reaction from Peake, and a promise of updates coming in soon, as well as a more open line of communication in the future.
Now, I'm not a game designer or developer, but I've read enough to know that sometimes deadlines are things that just can't be met. I can understand that issue. However, this isn't so much a case of that as it is one of the people wanting to know just what the hell is going on with something that they've invested money into, and with good cause.
People want to know that you haven't just run off with the money and bought a car or taken a trip around the world or something like that. One of the reasons why everyone was starting to get so irate -- aside from the long amount of time left in the lurch, of course -- was that rumours were starting to pop up that Primer Labs was continuing to look for financing, which implied that without more income the game might not be getting made at all. That's hardly something reassuring to those that already gave money to the project, and something that probably should have been addressed immediately, not only after attention was brought to it.
This kind of situation though is exactly the one that I'm afraid will have to happen in order for people to wise up a little regarding Kickstarter. Like I've said in the past there's nothing wrong with using it as a source of income for projects, and people shouldn't automatically be pessimistic of absolutely everything they come across on the site looking for funding. Still, on the opposite side of the coin Kickstarter is not a magic fairy that can make a poorly budgeted or cobbled together project any better. The sooner that people learn that lesson, the better.