The Hero Trap Cancelled After Undershooting Kickstarter

Despite reaching its Kickstarter funding goal, SMASHWORX’s Gauntlet-inspired rougelike game, The Hero Trap, will not be seeing released and has had development cancelled.  This is the result of the developer intentionally asking for less than with its funding goal than would actually be required to develop the game.  SMASHWORX released a statement regarding the cancellation, but has set it so that only backers can view it.  However, some have already transcribed the announcement and you can read the contents of the postmortem here (if any of the backers of the project can confirm or deny that this transcription is completely accurate, please let us know).

According to the transcription, SMASHWORX undershot their goal in the hopes that they would either make their project appear more enticing to backers and garner the actual funds they needed through stretch goals or, failing that, could use what they did raise to entice a publisher into covering the remainder of the costs.  Neither of those ideas came to fruition, and so the entire project was scraped.  SMASHWORX has promised that it will refund all of its backers, but they’ll have to do so without assistance from Kickstarter as the campaign is no longer their concern and there are plenty of potential problems that can occur as a result of that.

Undershooting crowdfunding campaigns has been a serious problem with the practice for some time.  SMASHWORX has certainly shot its own reputation in the foot with this fiasco and will have an uphill battle with any future projects they might pursue.  Not only that, undershooting in general makes crowdfunding more difficult for studios that are actually honest with their projections.  It makes their projects appear cheaper than they actually are and warp peoples perceptions on how much studios should expect for their base funding goal.  Compare The Hero Trap‘s $25,000 goal to Lab Zero’s $150,000 campaign simply to add a single new character to their already-completed game, Skullgirls.  When the specific costs of creating a character for a fighting are broken down, Lab Zero’s goal is perfectly reasonable, but just taking a casual glance at those two numbers paints a very unrealistic picture in someone’s head.

What are your thoughts on the cancellation of The Hero Trap and the practice of undershooting?  What other caveats of crowdfunding do you think deserve attention?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Indivisible Crowdfunding Campaign Extended

If there’s one game developer that I’d say you can trust with a crowdfunding campaign, it would definitely be Lab Zero Games.  While major industry veterans like Tim Schafer, American Mcgee, and Keiji Inafune have each had their fair share of missteps with crowdfunding, the people at Lab Zero know the importance of transparency with their funders and detailing exactly how much money they need for their goals and what that money will be going towards.  Their DLC campaign for their first title, Skullgirls, remains one of the most well-executed crowdfunding campaigns for a video game that I’ve seen.  They’ve once again taken to Indiegogo to help fund their next game, Indivisible, which they describe as a combination of Super Metroid and Valkyrie Profile with elements of roleplaying, platforming, and even some fighting-game elements.  505 Games is willing to put $2 million towards development of the game, but only if Lab Zero is able to raise $1.5 million with their campaign.

Indivisible tells the story of a young girl named Ajna who possesses the strange ability to absorb other people and call upon them for aid as Incarnations.  These Incarnations act as your party members in combat and include such diverse characters as the Aztec-inspired athlete Tenoch, the reclusive shamaness Razmi, and the voodoo zombie Narssus.  There will also be a number of cross-over characters from other indie games appearing as playable Incarnations, including Juan from Guacamelee, Zackasaurus from Super Time Force Ultra, The Drifter from Hyper Light Drifter, Lea from Curses ‘N Chaos, Calibretto from Battle Chasers, the titular Shovel Knight from the massively popular Shovel Knight, and even Annie from Lab Zero’s own Skullgirls.  Each Incarnation will have their own storyline to explore throughout the game as sidequests.

Gameplay takes the form of an exploration-based platformer in the overworld  and a fast-paced RPG in combat.  Anja will acquire various weapons throughout her journey that can be used both in combat and to discover new paths.  In battle, your party acts more like a single fighter rather than individuals as each will be controlled with their own face button and each will have abilities operating on cool-downs.  This will allow you to chain abilities together into combos and deal serious damage to your opponents.

Initially, it didn’t look like Indivisible was going to reach its goal within its month-long campaign, but Indiegogo agreed to extend the campaign for an additional month.  The campaign is now sitting at $1,047,385 with 15 days to go.  The game is planned for release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.  You can check out the Indiegogo page for Indivisible here.  If you’re on the fence about the concept, you can try the game for yourself by downloading the free prototype that they have available.