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Kickstarter management & hype & Interview...


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Today RPS published one good interview about Peter Molyneux and 22Cans at here. I highly recommend to read all thing. Which got me thinking about PoE's Kickstarter. Again... Eventhough Its not released yet, forum agrees that looks very promising from the beta. The budget & time (all recources) were spent well.

 

For some aspects forum has some questions. Combat, off-combat, lightling, stats... nwm dont have to rewirte all the forum, topics or discussions. The very reason I'm writing is to send some love to Obsidian team. Next month we will be playing "the successor" and really excited about It. There are lots of Kickstarter campaigns were failed miserably ( saddly) but Obsidian manages to pull It together. There are some Kickstarters are starting with less money and finishing with good pruduct (for ex. Expeditions: Conquistador ) I guess thats all up to money but management skills too. I mean even though game was postponed, people seemed ok; It needed time but looking promising. Good job Obsidian & Josh Sawyer. 

 

P.S. I know I cought the release hype too soon but I cant get out from It  :w00t: my boss cought me today when lurking on forums. Also thats real journalism ( or whatever that was) not this.

Kana - "Sorry. It seems I'm not very good at raising spirits." Kana winces. "That was unintentional."

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From 36 projects that I have backed in kickstarter only 2 are actually delivered everything that they promised in time frame they promised and it is not much more that have delivered everything they have promised even in extended time frame.

 

From game project that I have backed

Wasteland 2: over year late and didn't deliver everything that it promised, delivered.

Divinity: Original Sin: over half year late and didn't deliver some features that were promised in stretch goals, delivered.

TAKEDOWN: Year late and didn't deliver lot of features that were promised, delivered.

Jane Jensen's Moebius: Nearly year late, but arguably has all the promised features

Project Giana: Delivered in time and with all promised features plus extras that weren't promised.

Planetary Annihilation: Over year late and misses promised features, delivered.

Project Eternity: Will be soon year late, not yet delivered, has playable beta that is constantly updated.

Broken Sword - the Serpent's Curse Adventure: Over year late and some rewards are still not delivered

Sword of Fargoal 2: Classic Dungeon-Crawler Adventure: Soon two year late, not yet delivered, there is high assumption that some of the promised features will not be in the final version

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption: Year and half late, not yet delivered, there has been concept change on what were promised in KS campaign

Project GODUS: Year and half late, not yet delivered to all promised versions, some promised versions and features probably will not get done. Has playable beta, which has been constantly updated. 

Elite: Dangerous: Half year late, misses promised key features, delivered.

Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey: First chapter of the game come before set time frame, but game was divided to several chapters from which only first has delivered to date.

Days of Dawn: Two years late, not yet delivered, Has playable alpha like version.

Torment: Tides of Numenera: Now two months late, not yet delivered

 

 

So I would say that Peter Molyneux gets harsher treatment than other Kickstarters (including those that come from other big names in industry), because of his reputation to promise more than he is able to deliver. And I find it quite interesting that any of these articles about how Godus is late don't mention highlight that fact that Godus got delayed majorly because of that many backers didn't like how some features were implemented and 22cans stopped to developing new features until they got those features fixed by doing several overhauls on them. So they probably could already have delivered game with features they promised, but opted instead to try deliver game that their backers like even though they need to use their own money on it.

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As someone else pointed out somewhere, Peter Molyneux is great at coming up with fantastic ways in which to simulate various things in the form of game mechanics, and even sets of mechanics, but he tends to have trouble actually molding those into cohesive games.

 

I love Black and White 2 to death, but I can NEVER make it past the 4th world. Because it just feels like you're playing around in an awesome, city-building sandbox, for no real reason. And Fable... all the talk about all the individual aspects of Fable... he got SO excited about all that stuff in interviews. The hand-holding in Fable 3. "Imagine being able to actually have contact with your NPCs in the game!" And what purpose did it serve in the game? It allowed you to telekinetically lead people around for the purposes of "escort missions," and it served as a "let's do it in this bed" input for your lovers. The end.

 

Anywho, I think he's a brilliant guy, but he needs to find some team of other brilliant people who focus solely on designing entire, cohesive games, to sort of temper his ideas and creations.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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That RPS interview is god awful and the interviewer is clearly just trying to put the screws to Molyneux and being a jerk about it.  He isn't a freaking politician cause embezzling government funds meant for the social security department.  He is a visionary game dev who over promises features and hasn't learned from his mistakes of doing so in the past.

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Yeah, RPS was laying on it thick for such a small budget game which is unlikely to draw much in terms of sales. Game Justice Warrior.

"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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I used to love Peter back in the old old days. And I'd still like to love Peter. But he's largely dead to me now. He has nice concepts at times, but I wouldn't trust him to put a game into release that I'd actually want to play, anymore. I mean, one never knows what the future holds, but it's not like I'm going to be buying anything of his on 1st release anytime soon.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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For games that fund significantly beyond the original goal, delivery dates are meaningless. I don't even consider them worth talking about. Failing to deliver promised features is a different story.

 

The dozen or so games I've backed have come through mostly as promised or seem to be well on the way. We'll see. Really, though, I have to ask why anyone would back Peter Molyneux. When you're looking at a Kickstarter pitch, all you've got to go on is the reputation of the team. Nothing about Molyneux's past would make me think he'd deliver as promised.

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Molyneux is the reason why hype is godawful and important to the industry. He is a hype machine, a relentlessly broken promise spewing machine. He has been very influential with developing classics like Dungeon Keeper, Populous and Syndicate. When he set up Lionhead Studios, he relentlessly promoted Fable, The Movies and Black and White as the end all and be all of video games. Fable came out in 2004 for god's sake! And even then people were disappointed by his self indulging promises of next gen gaming. He sold those games based solely on his magnetism and allure. Anyone who kickstarted his Godus campaign was either deluded or naive, no ifs or buts.

 

Kickstarter/Early Access video game campaigns are faltering because donors/backers are willing to toss money at nebulous concepts without an understanding of game development. Steam is replete with early access super sellers, only 25% of all early access games actually get finished...because of people who believe in people like Molyneux. If you want to waste money, I've got a lovely bridge to sell you.

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Speaking of promised and undelivered features, if there's someone here who worked in real game development, I'd like to ask a question. I can easily imagine the situation when designer writes out a concept for a game (or, say, kickstarter pitch), team starts working on that concept, and later in the production certain feature(s) doesn't feel right (doesn't fit with gameplay, artstyle, generally feels wrong, whatever), so it's better to cut it off rather then redesign the whole system to shove it in. Could that be real case in game development process or am I stupidly theorizing too much?

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Speaking of promised and undelivered features, if there's someone here who worked in real game development, I'd like to ask a question. I can easily imagine the situation when designer writes out a concept for a game (or, say, kickstarter pitch), team starts working on that concept, and later in the production certain feature(s) doesn't feel right (doesn't fit with gameplay, artstyle, generally feels wrong, whatever), so it's better to cut it off rather then redesign the whole system to shove it in. Could that be real case in game development process or am I stupidly theorizing too much?

 

That is normal in game development process, but also it is normal that people, who usually don't actually know anything about developing game or have fleeting knowledge, but who still gave their money towards game (for monetary/gametary/ect. returns) demand that features that were promised in original concept/pitch should be in game or that game should have features x and y that they think are good.

 

Which is reason why proven concepts control gaming industry, as they are safer option for both sides where visionary projects that try to create something new a risk for both sides, as they are difficult to pitch accurately, they nearly always promise more than they can deliver and people have only elusive idea  what game is about and how it plays and those ideas in peoples head are often in conflict with ideas that other people in the project have about the game, which leads to higher dissatisfaction and harsher feedback.

 

People say often say that they want to see innovation, but that is mentality that seems to often disappear as soon as their money is involved in making of a game.   

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It's a terrible interview. I would never give my money to Molyneaux but it's very easy to be all "tough journalist" against a down and out developer who's now more or less a laughing stock of the industry. It's click-bait by RPS. How about trying for some real journalism, go after the bigger companies, the publishers and such? Not so easy when they might pull their ad-money I guess. Urgh. Molyneaux is about the easiest target in the world.

But yeah, now RPS can get some points for being "hard-hitting journalists". It's pathetic really.

 

About kickstarter, I think one should always be aware of that you're giving money to something uncertain. You're not purchasing or pre-ordering. It's a risk. And while I certainly think devs should be accountable (of course they should be), there is also a great deal of self-awareness there. You should be careful with your money, you should be aware that it's a possibilty that things might not work out, that things may change, etc. You shoulder consider carefully before dropping money into a promise. You're not going to exactly the game that's in your thoughts when you're viewing the pitch.

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A lot easier to know how long it's going to take once you actually know (ie. in hindsight).

 

Also, KS doesn't (to my knowledge) allow project creators to change the estimated delivery dates of reward tiers that someone has selected. If I'm not mistaken they can only add stuff to those tiers, but unselected tiers can still be changed during the funding campaign. It would perhaps be better if those stretch goal charts also included updated delivery date estimates.

 

I would think that delays and cut features/content is more the norm in game development, rather than the exception. I don't have any solid numbers to back that up with, though.

This statement is false.

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On the one hand, the interview is really dickish.  Nathan Grayson did the same crap with Obsidian at RPS and I didn't like that either.

 

On the other hand, his response shows that he is a pathological liar that straight up lied to take people's money:

 

: During the Kickstarter for Godus you stated, regarding that you don’t want to use a publisher stating, “It’ll just be you and our unbridled dedication (no publishers).” And five months later you signed with a publisher.

Peter Molyneux: Absolutely. And at that time I wish we had raised enough money to not need a publisher.

RPS: But you got more than you asked–

Peter Molyneux: We could have gone and we were asked to by publishers to publish the Steam version, but we turned that down. The economics of doing Godus, unfortunately Kickstarter didn’t raise enough money. Now the trouble is with Kickstarter, you don’t really fully know how much money you need and I think most people who do Kickstarter would agree with me here. You have an idea, you think you need this much, but as most people will say with Kickstarter, if you ask for too much money up front because of the rules of Kickstarter, it’s very, very hard to ask for the complete development budget.

So, he didn't want to ask for the full budget because people might not give him the money if they were making an informed decision.  Cool.

 

 

RPS: I recognise that things go over budget, obviously they do. What you said at the start was that you didn’t make enough money from the Kickstarter. You set an amount you want to make, you made about £100k more than that, you took over a half a million pounds of people’s money, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough to make the game.

Peter Molyneux: Well, I think if you talk to anyone, and this is the advice I have given to people about Kickstarter, is to not ask for too much. You cannot unfortunately ask for the actual amount you need. Because you don’t really know.

And it repeats like that several times.

 

John Walker is more than a little harsh and somewhat petty in the rest of the interview, but the fundamental problem that sparked the whole interview is there.  Molyneux knowingly misled people about the cost of developing a game because he wanted to take their money.  That's beyond unethical, and bordering on fraudulent.  I'm glad he's being called to task even if I am a bit squeamish about the form.

 

Also, Project Eternity looks great.  Yay Obsidian!  And its worth pointing out that Obsidian has a pretty small crew on PE too with no multiplayer or middleware, and their initial request was two and a fifth times what Godus asked for.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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I used to love Peter back in the old old days. And I'd still like to love Peter. But he's largely dead to me now. He has nice concepts at times, but I wouldn't trust him to put a game into release that I'd actually want to play, anymore. I mean, one never knows what the future holds, but it's not like I'm going to be buying anything of his on 1st release anytime soon.

Molyneux always had really great ideas and very high aspirations (or at least he seemed to have), but he's never actually delivered on the hype he's built, not anywhere close. Some good(-ish) games came out of it, but at the same time.. eh.

 

So I completely share the sentiment.

 

It's a terrible interview. I would never give my money to Molyneaux but it's very easy to be all "tough journalist" against a down and out developer who's now more or less a laughing stock of the industry. It's click-bait by RPS. How about trying for some real journalism, go after the bigger companies, the publishers and such? Not so easy when they might pull their ad-money I guess. Urgh. Molyneaux is about the easiest target in the world.

 

But yeah, now RPS can get some points for being "hard-hitting journalists". It's pathetic really.

 

About kickstarter, I think one should always be aware of that you're giving money to something uncertain. You're not purchasing or pre-ordering. It's a risk. And while I certainly think devs should be accountable (of course they should be), there is also a great deal of self-awareness there. You should be careful with your money, you should be aware that it's a possibilty that things might not work out, that things may change, etc. You shoulder consider carefully before dropping money into a promise. You're not going to exactly the game that's in your thoughts when you're viewing the pitch.

Well RPS is a pretty pathetic company, so no surprise, really. They're desperately trying to win back what little credibility they ever had (which doesn't say much) and the easiest way to do that is to start stomping right over the easiest target available. "Look, we strong, look, we harsh! Mwwwuuuh!".

 

I'm not defending Molyneux here, not even a little (nor am I backing him over with the bus), but damn, RPS needs 99cc of testosterone and they try to compensate by acting out with a stick. Look at us, we're manly, rarrgh. Oh please.

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A lot easier to know how long it's going to take once you actually know (ie. in hindsight).

 

Also, KS doesn't (to my knowledge) allow project creators to change the estimated delivery dates of reward tiers that someone has selected. If I'm not mistaken they can only add stuff to those tiers, but unselected tiers can still be changed during the funding campaign. It would perhaps be better if those stretch goal charts also included updated delivery date estimates.

 

I would think that delays and cut features/content is more the norm in game development, rather than the exception. I don't have any solid numbers to back that up with, though.

 

In companies where I have worked and work in software development only 10%-20% of visioned features ever get to be realized, most common reason are they are low priority and don't fit budget and time frame, they need technology that we don't have in the project, they don't fit in goals of the project or purpose of final product. Even though game development is quite different from software development that I do, I would think that number of unrealized features is in somewhat same percentage.

 

I would also say that I think that KS project for software would be much more difficult than your typical project with client, as you can't just call meeting and go through features from original pitch/plan that you have come to feel not fitting in final product or that they can't be realized in given budget or timeline. 

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On the one hand, the interview is really dickish.  Nathan Grayson did the same crap with Obsidian at RPS and I didn't like that either.

 

On the other hand, his response shows that he is a pathological liar that straight up lied to take people's money:

 

: During the Kickstarter for Godus you stated, regarding that you don’t want to use a publisher stating, “It’ll just be you and our unbridled dedication (no publishers).” And five months later you signed with a publisher.

Peter Molyneux: Absolutely. And at that time I wish we had raised enough money to not need a publisher.

RPS: But you got more than you asked–

Peter Molyneux: We could have gone and we were asked to by publishers to publish the Steam version, but we turned that down. The economics of doing Godus, unfortunately Kickstarter didn’t raise enough money. Now the trouble is with Kickstarter, you don’t really fully know how much money you need and I think most people who do Kickstarter would agree with me here. You have an idea, you think you need this much, but as most people will say with Kickstarter, if you ask for too much money up front because of the rules of Kickstarter, it’s very, very hard to ask for the complete development budget.

So, he didn't want to ask for the full budget because people might not give him the money if they were making an informed decision.  Cool.

 

 

RPS: I recognise that things go over budget, obviously they do. What you said at the start was that you didn’t make enough money from the Kickstarter. You set an amount you want to make, you made about £100k more than that, you took over a half a million pounds of people’s money, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough to make the game.

Peter Molyneux: Well, I think if you talk to anyone, and this is the advice I have given to people about Kickstarter, is to not ask for too much. You cannot unfortunately ask for the actual amount you need. Because you don’t really know.

And it repeats like that several times.

 

John Walker is more than a little harsh and somewhat petty in the rest of the interview, but the fundamental problem that sparked the whole interview is there.  Molyneux knowingly misled people about the cost of developing a game because he wanted to take their money.  That's beyond unethical, and bordering on fraudulent.  I'm glad he's being called to task even if I am a bit squeamish about the form.

 

Also, Project Eternity looks great.  Yay Obsidian!  And its worth pointing out that Obsidian has a pretty small crew on PE too with no multiplayer or middleware, and their initial request was two and a fifth times what Godus asked for.

 

You left from part where he says that sum that they asked would had been enough if their estimate for how long game takes to finish would had been correct and that he didn't think that people would give money for 100% contingency which would been three time more than they asked to make sure that unpredicted complications don't cause problems for the project. 

 

I would also point out that when they realized that they estimates were wrong they sold part of their rights for the game so that they could finish the game in such fashion that it satisfactory for the backers. So in their they took also risk in amount that they asked in KS and that risk didn't pay out, but instead they lost some control over their IP. So it wasn't misleading backers, but instead asking money only for most positive out come scenario (which is something that most of the KS project do) and when things didn't go according to that scenario they seek extra funding by selling parts of their IP rights (which is their right and normal and sensible business thing to do). Their deal wasn't necessary best, as they sold mobile rights for publisher for more money than they got from KS, which pressured them to finish mobile version (which was part of original vision in KS) of the game first.

 

I would also point out that they mention in risk segment of KS pitch that they are trying to do something new and create new technology and they will try make game to be so that backers like it. Which all are factor that should ring alarm bell in backers mind that project may not go as smoothly as planned.

 

For disclosure, I am backer of Godus and I don't think that Molyneux or any other people in 22cans mislead or lied to me anyway. I would actually say that Godus has been one of the best KS projects that I have given money, as it has delivered beta version that I have liked to play (even if it is buggy and misses promised features and one can easily see that it is unfinished and how it would be better with full set of features and balance passes that remove impacts from features that are meant to for free-to-play mobile version) and it has given one of the best inside looks in game development (especially because its original plan was miscalculated and they decided to rework key features because backers didn't like how they felt) . It should also mentioned that I gave project only £20, so my monetary ties towards project aren't that big, although I don't tress much even over projects that are similarly late and which I gave hundreds/thousands of dollars.  

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Yeah that interviews kinda... I dunno. I'm not a big peter fan but that John guy almost makes me wish I wasn't called John. Aaaanyway...

 

I never really back projects on kickstarter, in fact PoE is the only one I have. And I think it was smart for Obsidian not to really promise anything to specific. I mean it spoke to me from what I wanted. Infinity style RPG, mix of BG2, IWD and PST in direction. That says some very basic concepts, real time combat with pause, party of companions with personalities and all that. They also where up front about how the full kickstarter funds wouldn't be enough to fund the game in full but that they already had stuff planned to compensate, and that 1M would be 'enough' to finish it up.

 

Basically, they had plans for development hiccups and where up front about that. Also I just trust Obsidian I guess. Oh and that other link, to the first impressions... **** whoever wrote that. Goes on to say the game has no customization options while explaining how it has more customization options then 99% of the RPG's out there. Really? I mean seriously? ....*sighs*

 

-edit-

LOL he didn't know you could pause. C'mon, you can't say you where excited for and following this game and not realize the game base is infinity engine stuff right? RIGHT?!

Edited by Adhin

Def Con: kills owls dead

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Anywho, I think he's a brilliant guy, but he needs to find some team of other brilliant people who focus solely on designing entire, cohesive games, to sort of temper his ideas and creations.

He needs an assistant..........................................

 

8)  o:)  :sorcerer:  :brows:  :dancing:  :biggrin:

 

xD

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Speaking of promised and undelivered features, if there's someone here who worked in real game development, I'd like to ask a question. I can easily imagine the situation when designer writes out a concept for a game (or, say, kickstarter pitch), team starts working on that concept, and later in the production certain feature(s) doesn't feel right (doesn't fit with gameplay, artstyle, generally feels wrong, whatever), so it's better to cut it off rather then redesign the whole system to shove it in. Could that be real case in game development process or am I stupidly theorizing too much?

 

That is normal in game development process, but also it is normal that people, who usually don't actually know anything about developing game or have fleeting knowledge, but who still gave their money towards game (for monetary/gametary/ect. returns) demand that features that were promised in original concept/pitch should be in game or that game should have features x and y that they think are good.

 

Which is reason why proven concepts control gaming industry, as they are safer option for both sides where visionary projects that try to create something new a risk for both sides, as they are difficult to pitch accurately, they nearly always promise more than they can deliver and people have only elusive idea  what game is about and how it plays and those ideas in peoples head are often in conflict with ideas that other people in the project have about the game, which leads to higher dissatisfaction and harsher feedback.

 

People say often say that they want to see innovation, but that is mentality that seems to often disappear as soon as their money is involved in making of a game.   

 

Kickstarter is also hard because people oft see that as "why didn't you do this? There is no publisher holding you back" or "why are you doing this? No publisher is telling you to!".

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Don't get me wrong.  John was a ****, especially the opening and the lines about Black and White 2 (which I liked).  But Molyneux is clearly evasive in several crucial parts of the interview.  I don't think that Molyneux had some master plan to take people's money and run.  I do think he told some fibs he thought wouldn't matter and then quickly got over his head, especially when he realized he was beholden to the mob rather than publishers.

 

 

You left from part where he says that sum that they asked would had been enough if their estimate for how long game takes to finish would had been correct and that he didn't think that people would give money for 100% contingency which would been three time more than they asked to make sure that unpredicted complications don't cause problems for the project. 

 

 

 

Again, John was a ****.  However, that part of the interview is filled with a ton of misleading language.

 

 

Peter Molyneux: Well, I think if you talk to anyone, and this is the advice I have given to people about Kickstarter, is to not ask for too much. You cannot unfortunately ask for the actual amount you need. Because you don’t really know. This is how I based my assumption of what money we needed. We had started implementing Godus, we were working on a prototype that was really going well. I thought, ‘Oh, this looks pretty good.’ I asked everybody here, how long do you think we’ll need to develop the game in full. We all agreed that nine months was about the right amount of time to complete the game. We did the due diligence on it. We asked ourselves if there were any technical questions and it all seemed to make sense. This wasn’t me just plucking a date out of the air.

 

[paragraph: unexpected stuff happened.]

 

I know you can call on me, John, ‘Oh you’ve got thirty years, surely you know what to do,’ but I would say that anybody who is creating something new and original and different, which Godus is, it’s almost impossible to ask for the right time, and in the end the amount of money that we have spent on making Godus is far, far exceeded what we got on Kickstarter. Far, far exceeded. Because you got to remember on Kickstarter, although we got £100k more than what we asked for, after Kickstarter take their cut, after paying VAT, you have to pay off after completing all the pledges, it’s far less than that. You do the maths, it’s that simple – you can do this math, we had 22 people here. If you take the average salary for someone in the industry, which must be about £30k, that’s 22 people, multiplied by £30k, divided by 12. You work out how many months Kickstarter money gives us.

 

So:

  1. He knowingly told a lie of omission about the risks.  He knew that he had no contingency and did not mention that in a section called Risks and Challenges.
  2. He represented it as a binary choice, full contingency or no contingency. In actuality its a continuum he could have chosen 25% or 75% contingency.
  3. His math sucks. ( £30k * 22 people) * (9 / 12 months) = £495k.  VAT and kickstarter fees are incredibly predictable, kickstarter even tells you how much it will be.  If Godus was funded at the base level, it's right around £40k.  And that's before fixed costs like rent, power, and middleware.  So either he was misleading in the interview or on kickstarter, possibly both.
  4. He makes it sound like cost overruns and unforeseen costs are both inevitable and unpredictable.  It can't be both.  He was aware of the possible need for contingency, but did not tell the backers or allow them to make an  informed decision.
  5. He's aware of his past history of overruns, and never thought to address that on the kickstarter.
  6. He repeatedly mentions his fear of not getting any money / failure as a driver of unrealistic promises on kickstarter.  But the purpose of kickstarter is not to get as much money as you can, it's to fund the creation of project.  If you don't realistically think you can get that money, then don't go on kickstarter.  If you want people to give you as much as you can get, go on indiegogo or patreon.  Those fund the creator, not the project.
  7. Finally, whenever he reaches a part where he makes a questionable decision, he starts saying "a lot of people do this" and "I think most people," etc. He frequently switches to generalities and changes tenses.  He also removes himself from his recollection of the problems that hit; he switches from "I" to "we."  In short, he's using lying language.

If you are happy with the product, then that's all that matters.  I've been in a similar situation (I loved Broken Age).  But, Molyneux is not and has not behaved like an innocent actor.

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So:

  1. He knowingly told a lie of omission about the risks.  He knew that he had no contingency and did not mention that in a section called Risks and Challenges.
  2. He represented it as a binary choice, full contingency or no contingency. In actuality its a continuum he could have chosen 25% or 75% contingency.
  3. His math sucks. ( £30k * 22 people) * (9 / 12 months) = £495k.  VAT and kickstarter fees are incredibly predictable, kickstarter even tells you how much it will be.  If Godus was funded at the base level, it's right around £40k.  And that's before fixed costs like rent, power, and middleware.  So either he was misleading in the interview or on kickstarter, possibly both.
  4. He makes it sound like cost overruns and unforeseen costs are both inevitable and unpredictable.  It can't be both.  He was aware of the possible need for contingency, but did not tell the backers or allow them to make an  informed decision.
  5. He's aware of his past history of overruns, and never thought to address that on the kickstarter.
  6. He repeatedly mentions his fear of not getting any money / failure as a driver of unrealistic promises on kickstarter.  But the purpose of kickstarter is not to get as much money as you can, it's to fund the creation of project.  If you don't realistically think you can get that money, then don't go on kickstarter.  If you want people to give you as much as you can get, go on indiegogo or patreon.  Those fund the creator, not the project.
  7. Finally, whenever he reaches a part where he makes a questionable decision, he starts saying "a lot of people do this" and "I think most people," etc. He frequently switches to generalities and changes tenses.  He also removes himself from his recollection of the problems that hit; he switches from "I" to "we."  In short, he's using lying language.

If you are happy with the product, then that's all that matters.  I've been in a similar situation (I loved Broken Age).  But, Molyneux is not and has not behaved like an innocent actor.

 

1. I would point out that there is no mention of contingency plan in Project Eternity's KS pitch did Obsidian lie to you? I would point out that Obsidian also took publisher partner during development of PoE should you be mad for them for doing so? I would also point out that they did have contingency plan which didn't involved KS backers moneys, but for some reason that plan is seen as bad thing as it involved deal with publisher which for some reason is seen as betrayal towards their backers, but because of that contingency plan they are still working to finalize Godus even though they run out KS money long time ago. Would it had been better if they had asked more money from KS backers instead?

2. Look point one.

3. I don't think that his math such he was answering question that you got £100k more than you asked and he was saying that is not true as even though KS fundraising did go £100k over the target they didn't actually get £100k additional funds to do the game and he explains why.

4. Unseen cost are unpredictable but they are so common in software projects that it is often wise to prepare for them and he admits that he was too naive and optimistic and too fearful towards possibility that their fundraiser would fail to ask money towards such occurrence and he also says that he don't know how people that fund KS projects would react towards people that ask more money than they have calculated that they need because they think that they may screw up somewhere and need more money.

5. If you look their KS video then you know that they addressed that point very much, as whole video is build around that point.

6. He also says that they asked as much money as they predicted that they need to complete the game in time frame that they predicted that it will took which was based on their first prototype which they showed in their KS pitch.

7. He is correct that lot of people do it and it is normal practice in KS, for example Obsidian, inXile, and Double Fine are also guilty in same things as he.

 

Molyneux is not innocent actor (like for example his failure with that Curiosity winner), but he gets much harsher treatment than others whose kickstaters don't match perfectly their pitch. Like for example Divinity: Original Sin from Larian Studios (which backer I am also and I don't personally have any problems with how they handled their project) was late and it don't have all features that were promised in their KS pitch (one stretch goal was too difficult to them to do) and Rock Paper Shotgun named that product as best from Kickstater in 2014, and in any of their interviews of Sven they didn't ask is he liar or anything like that. 

 

PS. If one don't ask money for contingency when they ask you to fund something then you should always assume that there is no plan in case that something goes awry and do you decision to fund project from that basis or ask if there is one, and make your decision basing on answer (or non-answer) that you get. 

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So:

  1. He knowingly told a lie of omission about the risks.  He knew that he had no contingency and did not mention that in a section called Risks and Challenges.
  2. He represented it as a binary choice, full contingency or no contingency. In actuality its a continuum he could have chosen 25% or 75% contingency.
  3. His math sucks. ( £30k * 22 people) * (9 / 12 months) = £495k.  VAT and kickstarter fees are incredibly predictable, kickstarter even tells you how much it will be.  If Godus was funded at the base level, it's right around £40k.  And that's before fixed costs like rent, power, and middleware.  So either he was misleading in the interview or on kickstarter, possibly both.
  4. He makes it sound like cost overruns and unforeseen costs are both inevitable and unpredictable.  It can't be both.  He was aware of the possible need for contingency, but did not tell the backers or allow them to make an  informed decision.
  5. He's aware of his past history of overruns, and never thought to address that on the kickstarter.
  6. He repeatedly mentions his fear of not getting any money / failure as a driver of unrealistic promises on kickstarter.  But the purpose of kickstarter is not to get as much money as you can, it's to fund the creation of project.  If you don't realistically think you can get that money, then don't go on kickstarter.  If you want people to give you as much as you can get, go on indiegogo or patreon.  Those fund the creator, not the project.
  7. Finally, whenever he reaches a part where he makes a questionable decision, he starts saying "a lot of people do this" and "I think most people," etc. He frequently switches to generalities and changes tenses.  He also removes himself from his recollection of the problems that hit; he switches from "I" to "we."  In short, he's using lying language.

If you are happy with the product, then that's all that matters.  I've been in a similar situation (I loved Broken Age).  But, Molyneux is not and has not behaved like an innocent actor.

 

1. I would point out that there is no mention of contingency plan in Project Eternity's KS pitch did Obsidian lie to you? I would point out that Obsidian also took publisher partner during development of PoE should you be mad for them for doing so? I would also point out that they did have contingency plan which didn't involved KS backers moneys, but for some reason that plan is seen as bad thing as it involved deal with publisher which for some reason is seen as betrayal towards their backers, but because of that contingency plan they are still working to finalize Godus even though they run out KS money long time ago. Would it had been better if they had asked more money from KS backers instead?

2. Look point one.

3. I don't think that his math such he was answering question that you got £100k more than you asked and he was saying that is not true as even though KS fundraising did go £100k over the target they didn't actually get £100k additional funds to do the game and he explains why.

4. Unseen cost are unpredictable but they are so common in software projects that it is often wise to prepare for them and he admits that he was too naive and optimistic and too fearful towards possibility that their fundraiser would fail to ask money towards such occurrence and he also says that he don't know how people that fund KS projects would react towards people that ask more money than they have calculated that they need because they think that they may screw up somewhere and need more money.

5. If you look their KS video then you know that they addressed that point very much, as whole video is build around that point.

6. He also says that they asked as much money as they predicted that they need to complete the game in time frame that they predicted that it will took which was based on their first prototype which they showed in their KS pitch.

7. He is correct that lot of people do it and it is normal practice in KS, for example Obsidian, inXile, and Double Fine are also guilty in same things as he.

 

Molyneux is not innocent actor (like for example his failure with that Curiosity winner), but he gets much harsher treatment than others whose kickstaters don't match perfectly their pitch. Like for example Divinity: Original Sin from Larian Studios (which backer I am also and I don't personally have any problems with how they handled their project) was late and it don't have all features that were promised in their KS pitch (one stretch goal was too difficult to them to do) and Rock Paper Shotgun named that product as best from Kickstater in 2014, and in any of their interviews of Sven they didn't ask is he liar or anything like that. 

 

PS. If one don't ask money for contingency when they ask you to fund something then you should always assume that there is no plan in case that something goes awry and do you decision to fund project from that basis or ask if there is one, and make your decision basing on answer (or non-answer) that you get. 

 

  1. I was quite mad at Obsidian for taking a publisher, and had more than one post about it.  But that's neither here nor there.  By his own omission, he had a backup plan he just didn't tell backers about because they wouldn't have liked it.  That's pretty scummy.  It would have been better if he had asked for the amount of money he really needed.
  2. He's still misstating his case.
  3. I'm pointing out that his own math shows that his request was dishonest.  Dishonest by at least about 20%!
  4. So he was afraid to tell the truth, because he didn't like a possible consequence.  That's a common reason for lying and still doesn't make it right.  Also, plenty of kickstarter projects have put extra money they've gotten to improving the game or "enhancing the game."  Obsidian did it before his campaign.  SRR is doing it right now.
  5.  Fair enough.
  6. But his description is incredibly suspect.  They have a good prototype and everyone agrees that it will take 9 months?  No arguments, or anything like that?  That's not the way group planning works; people argue, especially over timelines.  So he's probably telling an incomplete story or switching nouns to absolve himself of blame.
  7. The last part wasn't about whether other groups acted like he has.  His language is similar to the way people talk when they're lying.  Plain and simple.
    1. That said, not everyone acts the same way:  Doublefine was far more open about risk, "what's the worst that could happen?";  PE was far more restrained in budgeting (They tried Linux in Unity before making decisions about its place as a stretchgoal, final stretchgoal was improving the game); Wasteland 2 mentioned both other funding possibilities, was more open with risk, and they built in a contingency "$1,000,000 sounds like a lot of money, but in normal AAA video game development it is less than 7% of what a big publisher spends to make a game. The last game you bought probably had a game development budget of something closer to $15,000,000. Wasteland 2 will have a team... working for 12-18 months."
    2. Even if they did, it's still no excuse.  You can choose to be part of the problem or solution.
  8. P.S.  Caveat Emptor is a really ****ty way to run a business, especially one based on reputation.
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Speaking of promised and undelivered features, if there's someone here who worked in real game development, I'd like to ask a question. I can easily imagine the situation when designer writes out a concept for a game (or, say, kickstarter pitch), team starts working on that concept, and later in the production certain feature(s) doesn't feel right (doesn't fit with gameplay, artstyle, generally feels wrong, whatever), so it's better to cut it off rather then redesign the whole system to shove it in. Could that be real case in game development process or am I stupidly theorizing too much?

I don't work in the industry, but I would assume the best thing to do in general is to just drop the feature. But if the developer finds himself in a situation where he's dropping one feature after another because they don't fit the system, then it's probably best to take a good hard look at the system and maybe change it.

 

But that being said, I have my own (related) comment for anyone who followed Divinity Original Sin's Kickstarter. (I didn't, but I bought the game a few months ago. Then played it, and loved it so much that I decided to go back and read up on its kickstarter updates and stuff just for my own curiosity).

 

I noticed that they promised a mega dungeon in one of their stretch goals. A rather large one. And that stretch goal was reached. And as I understand it, it was actually more than a simple stretch goal. It was one of those ongoing "how big can we make it!" things where 1 level would be added per 1000 backers. They got up to 10 levels.

 

And then...nothing. They flat out released the game without any mega dungeon. And their excuse was...bizarre. It was like: "er.... we thought you guys would be more happy with 3 or 4 single level dungeons scattered throughout the game instead." Ok THAT is the type of thing that would have royally pissed me off had I been a backer. Its one thing to look at your money and later and discover that it's not enough to do some of what you promised. But it's quite another to have enough money but later decide that one of your features, that you promised and the fans wanted, is not a good idea and so you're just going to substitute something much less in its place.

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I don't work in the industry, but I would assume the best thing to do in general is to just drop the feature. But if the developer finds himself in a situation where he's dropping one feature after another because they don't fit the system, then it's probably best to take a good hard look at the system and maybe change it.

 

But that being said, I have my own (related) comment for anyone who followed Divinity Original Sin's Kickstarter. (I didn't, but I bought the game a few months ago. Then played it, and loved it so much that I decided to go back and read up on its kickstarter updates and stuff just for my own curiosity).

 

I noticed that they promised a mega dungeon in one of their stretch goals. A rather large one. And that stretch goal was reached. And as I understand it, it was actually more than a simple stretch goal. It was one of those ongoing "how big can we make it!" things where 1 level would be added per 1000 backers. They got up to 10 levels.

 

And then...nothing. They flat out released the game without any mega dungeon. And their excuse was...bizarre. It was like: "er.... we thought you guys would be more happy with 3 or 4 single level dungeons scattered throughout the game instead." Ok THAT is the type of thing that would have royally pissed me off had I been a backer. Its one thing to look at your money and later and discover that it's not enough to do some of what you promised. But it's quite another to have enough money but later decide that one of your features, that you promised and the fans wanted, is not a good idea and so you're just going to substitute something much less in its place.

Really? Interesting. Larian excuse looks like what it is - an excuse for real reason they don't want to say out loud. I'd guess they just couldn't make mega dungeon up to quality plank. Those filled with break-your-eyes puzzles dungeons of theirs must be really tedious to design. I can see fully legit reason for backers to be pissed off, though. It must be that D:OS turned out to be so lovely soothed them a little. :)

 

Anyway, I didn't try to find justification for not delivering promised things by my question, I was just curious if my estimation of game design difficulties is correct. Making promises you're not sure you'll be able to fulfill is a risky business, if you accepted the risk - suffer the consequences.

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