This is what happens when a Kickstarter game goes horribly wrong.
Winterkewl, the developer behind Yogventures, a 2012 Kickstarter open world sandbox game based on popular YouTube channel The Yogscast, is no longer working on the game.
In a letter to backers earlier this month, CEO Kristafer Vale explained that all the rights to the project have been given to The Yogscast and that Winterkewl will “probably need to go out of business and possibly file for bankruptcy if things get much worse.”
The Yogscast are attempting to make good on the broken promise and are giving all backers a free copy of another open world sandbox game called TUG as part of a new partnership with its developer. The Yogscast will create YouTube videos with the game and have a “key role” in the development, according to the press release.
Needless to say, backers aren’t happy.
A TUG developer’s post on its Early Access page suggest the game might replace Yogventures.
“Yea, we are going to work with the Yogscast crew to accomplish a lot of what Yogventures wanted to do,” the developer wrote.
We’ve contacted The Yogscast about this and will update the story if they respond.
What went wrong?
From the beginning, like many Kickstarter projects, Yogventures was an ambitious idea. The PC and Mac game wanted to take the sandbox style of Minecraft and create a similar game that includes characters from The Yogscast’s popular video series. You would be able to build custom adventures including, NPCs, dungeons, enemies, and buildings, using the game’s voxel-based engine, and then share them with other players. You would be able to play with other people online too.
The six-person team at independent developer Winterkewl, who had made no game development experience before, would develop the game with input from The Yogscast.
Winterkewl asked for a modest $250,000 in the 2012 Kickstarter campaign, and ended with $567,665. At that time, the game was scheduled to hit pre-alpha in October, alpha in November, beta in December, and release sometime in 2013. It would go on to miss all of those dates.
Winterkewl was close to releasing the beta version of the game in August 2013 when it revealed it had run out of money in December 2012 and had been funding development itself for almost a year. The developer was forced to scrap the game’s original engine and rewrite a new one after running into technical problems. That overhaul ate up the remaining funds and forced the team to start working day jobs to compensate.
The beta was released shortly after, and that was the last update on the game’s progress we got until earlier this month, though it appears development on the game continued until at least March.
In this month’s letter from Winterkewl CEO Kistafer Vale, he said that The Yogscast refused to make videos promoting pre-orders for the game, and apologized to the backers for not realizing the amount of work the game required.
“I’m deeply sorry that despite our best efforts we never reached a level of play-ability that inspired enough confidence from not only the community but even the Yogscast themselves,” Vale wrote. “This is my fault, I agreed to every feature request we got because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. I wanted so badly to make this project a reality I ignored the real-world risks to the point that I almost lost everything and worst of all I let you all down.”
What happens now?
Kickstarter does not require project creators to refund backers, but up until a few weeks ago Winterkewl had been honoring them itself. Now that The Yogscast owns everything, the refunds are its responsibility, and in a recent Reddit post, co-founder Lewis Brindley said he will look into it, but “can’t promise anything.”
It’s still unclear if TUG will replace Yogventures or if the game is still going to come out someday.
An official response from The Yogscast could clear a lot of this up. We got in touch with Vale, but he couldn’t comment.