American McGee Defends His Kickstarter Game, Says It's '100% Finished'

Last week, I wrote about Akaneiro, a game designed by American McGee (Alice) and announced back in 2011. McGee and his team went to Kickstarter to ask for $US200,000 "to finish what [they've] started."

McGee took issue with my coverage, writing Kotaku a note to say that the game is actually finished.

"The game is 100% finished," he wrote. "The company is not out of money. The project was completed on time, on budget and will be shipped this month (Jan 2013.) It has been in Closed Beta with 25k people having run through it since late last year."

McGee also addressed the line "we're out of time and money to do so," which has since been removed from their Kickstarter.

"When the Akaneiro team says they are 'out of money/time' it just means they came to the natural end of their development cycle on that project," McGee told me. "The KS campaign would allow them to extend that - something we'd ask a publisher to consider were we funded that way. We're not, so we ask the audience instead."

I asked McGee to clarify this: if the game is 100% finished, why does the Kickstarter say that the team feels "some key features are missing"? Why start a Kickstarter at all?

The game is 100% finished. The company is not out of money. The project was completed on time, on budget and will be shipped this month."

"'What's been achieved both artistically and mechanically is fantastic… but it's just not enough to call the game complete, to satisfy our fans or ourselves,'" McGee wrote, citing his Kickstarter page. "THIS is the main idea. We're not satisfied. We'd like to take the game further and make it better. In the days when we were funded by a publisher, we would have asked them to review our ideas for additional features and approve (or not) a longer development cycle. 99% of the time they would have said 'no.'

"As we are not publisher funded, and because we can't afford to continue development indefinitely, we're asking the audience — we're giving them a chance to decide whether or not these additional features sound worthwhile. Whatever the response, the game will launch this month (January 2013) in a state that is "final" per our existing internal schedule and budge. Support for the title will continue going forward, but will be focused on the existing product — with not a lot of time or resources available for adding new platforms or major features."

McGee also took issue with the last line of my story, in which I wrote: "Remember the days when game companies started making games and then actually finished them? Without panhandling on the Internet? Ahh, nostalgia." So it's only fair to post his response:

"Remember when developers just went out of business because publishers let them die? Or when half-finished games were forced to market and the developer took the blame? Or when misleading marketing campaigns duped players into buying something they had no interest in to begin with?"

Hence, Kickstarter.


    So they've 100% finished a game they don't consider "complete" and they finished on-time and on-budget but need more time and money.


    Last edited 08/01/13 12:51 pm

      Finished what they planned and budgeted to do, not necessarily what they wanted to do, is what I took away from it.

      Unfortunately no game ships "complete" in the developers eyes. It is an art form like any other when done by artists, in that it's creator will never be fully satisfied with the end result. But it is also buisness and in buisness you need to sell a product once you are out of money.

      They are out of money, they got their product to the sellable stage, but they see that they could do more. More polish, more content, more whatever. So they are asking a fair question, do you want it the way it is? Then don't kickstart. Do you want it to be closer to a complete form? Then kickstart it.

      A game isn't really "finished" until it has reached at least version 2.5, has three DLC packs (which are needed to stay in multiplayer rosters) and two campaign DLC packs (which fill in those missing story sequences 6 - 9 and 11 - 14).

    From all I have seen of this it just looks very much like Samurai II: vengeance

    This is yet another Kickstarter where I can't help but wonder why they just didn't try to get a loan.

      Well, a loan needs to be paid back. If the kickstarter campaign works, they only need to pay back a few virtual goods.

    I don't know, seems reasonable. Could be worse, it could be day-1 DLC, or locked content that you paid for later.

    My he does seem touchy. The pressures of being a developer I should imagine. I guess it's perhaps all on the line for him, and the team, at the moment - if not all, then certainly a significant financial investment.

    I think it's a little unnecessary to have a go at you for your original article. Clearly it's expected that there will be confusion when the message is confusing - which they seem to agree with even if subconsciously by removing some of the confusing text from their kickstarter page.

    Sounds to me that the Kickstarter was not required in the first place, but has generated awareness and publicity (win!), and may allow them to make minor improvements of the game. An inventive use of Kickstarter. I suppose everyone will do that now. Let's see if there's a CoD Kickstarter to pay for red hats for everyone.

    I think this is a fair response after re-reading the initial article.
    It is important to make the distinction between "finished" and "completed" sometimes.
    For example, you can finish Assassin's Creed without doing any side missions, but it's not complete until you have 100% synch.

      Couldn't have said it better myself...

      I read the first article and did a small post about it myself calling balls on the article. Unfortunately the damage is very much done now. It'll practically be an uphill battle to get the amount of funding because of the initial negative press. And Kotaku *is* a very popular game website =(

    100% finished but not complete is not 100%.
    How much was spent on the game before they wanted another $200 000?

    Use revenue from sold copies to improve the game.
    Once it's at a level that you are happy with, start making DLC.

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