Wasteland 2 Got Too Big For Its Own Good, And Is Now Delayed

Wasteland 2, like Double Fine's adventure game, is one of Kickstarter's greatest video game project successes. And, like Double Fine's adventure game, it's also run into a snag because, well, we just gave it too darn much money.

The game is six weeks behind schedule, says developers inXile entertainment, and the reason is the "increased scope" that came from getting $US2 million more than the $US900,000 it originally sought. That means the game's planned October release will now essentially begin its beta. An estimated full release date was not mentioned in the latest update on the game's progress.

Now, inXile still has enough money to finish the game; the $US2 million extra piled on top of their fundraising led them to put so much extra stuff in the game that they got behind schedule. They can still pay for it with what was donated. Different story from Double Fine, which rode gamer goodwill from a $US400,000 goal all the way to $US3 million total, then earlier this month said the game being built was now so big and so incomplete they either needed more money or had to cut it in half to meet a January release date. Double Fine chose the latter option, with the remainder to be rolled out a few months later.

Wasteland 2 and Broken Age (Double Fine's adventure) are two of Kickstarter's most conspicuous successes, and they kicked off a games development gold rush and a wave of good-time fuck-the-publishers sentiment. Thing about publishers, though, they may be the cash machine, but they can crack the whip. Crowdfunding donors are just the cash machine.

I point this out in hopes that Chris Roberts and the $US5.7 million-funded Star Citizen project are paying attention, because I don't think this "OMG, we got so much money we can't finish the job on time" excuse is going to fly again.

Making the Date [Kickstarter]


Comments

    Lol what a horrid story, publishers can crack the whip? Need anyone mention duke nukem forever? LA Noire? The Last Guardian? And need anyone mention what happens when they do crack the whip? Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines? alien colonial marines?

    Sure as backers we can't crack the whip, but that is the whole point of going indie for development, so nobody does crack it so the game can be ready when it is and not before. Anyone trying to pitchfork these Kickstarter delays really needs to sit down and consider what it is these people are doing and working with.

    Last edited 22/07/13 11:57 am

      Exactly - we're talking 6 weeks here, not 6 months. Considering the additional content that's being included, I don't see a problem what what amounts to a small delay in the scheme of things.

        This is just a ploy to run away to Mexico with all our money!!! :P In all seriousness though, it really doesn't bother me that it's going to take longer, same with the double fine announcement - we get more game for our dollars, but we just have to wait a little longer - I think we all win in the end.

      "Sure as backers we can't crack the whip, but that is the whole point of going indie for development, so nobody does crack it so the game can be ready when it is and not before."

      I believe the sentiments of the article is that, if you're a professional and you can't handle money nor can you scope your project correctly. Then you're not much a professional. These guys can make great games and no one is denying that. What they can't seem to manage is plan or set their milestones. Also furthering that, these guys aren't Blizzard/Valve who can do the "it's ready when it is ready" argument. They're small time and they banked on people love and goodwill and they promised something in writing(release dates/product) and they have unequivocally FAILED to live up to their own commitments.

      I didn't fund them because honestly neither game piqued my interest but I feel bad for people hanging out so long.

        Lol so its ok when a multimillion company who could quite literally throw money and man power at a project to get it done to say "its ready when its ready" but for a smaller studio (small time? What? Tim Shafer was making games, GOOD games, while Chris Metzen was still jerkin it in his mothers basement) should rush it to ship it because other people demand it be so? That isn't how it works and you need to get off the AAA teat if you think it is.

        They have as much right to delay the game until they think its ready as any other studio, in fact really they aren't obligated to ship anything the way Kickstarter works, if people are upset by that then they should have looked into how Kickstarter works and need to manage their expectations on how game development works. Not to mention that there are plenty of times Acti-Blizz have put release dates into writing and not committed after people pre-ordered, so have many other big publishers, so your logic is extremely flawed.

          There is a big, HUGE difference between a indie dev i.e. Shafer and a AAA studio. For starters, they're not asking for ANY money upfront prior to committing to a project. Typically pre-orders happen in the final beta stages of development. Were this a AAA-dev there would be no end to the backlash.

          Also have I said anywhere that they are obligated? I'd wait for your answer but I'll say you're wrong now because you are. Kickstater is a risk/reward system. All the studio is showing is that they aren't competent in project management and cannot handle their budget book.

          I do care about "AAA" games either, you mentioned that first again you're insinuating that I referred or implied these connotations when the reality couldn't be further from the truth. As for this "AAA teat" you speak of(freudian slip I suppose) I couldn't give to damn if a game came from a AAA-house, indie-dev or a hobo down the street. So long as it works, plays well and provides enjoyment. How about you not give them a free pass because they're an Indie-dev.

          Your logic is flawed just like the budgeting and project management was on this game.

      I think it's only a problem if they decide that they don't have enough money to finish, and then... don't. Thing about doing something 'when it's done' is that you have to eat, and preferably sleep under some kind of shelter. Food and shelter rank just a little bit higher than working on your dream project for a few more months, so when they run out of money, they're all going to have to get other jobs to pay for the eating/sleeping bits, then work on the project in their 'spare time'.

      Smaller kickstarters have crashed this way, leaving backers without anything to show for their cash except disillusionment and a faint sense of betrayal.

      Also, VtM: Bloodlines is a bad example because that game was fucking awesome, bugs and all.

        That still comes under the risk of a Kickstarter, fact is that you are not guaranteed a product in the end. True if Double Fine or any of these bigger guys did that they wouldn't be able to show their face around anywhere again, but it's still the risk of backing a KS.

        VtM:BL was a mess no matter how people ended up enjoying it, that doesn't make it a bad example and the fact it took fans countless hours for free to make it bearable is just more proof.

    I think you're off beat with the direction of this article.. 6 weeks over the "estimated" deadline is nothing to be concerned about and the "cash machine" as you like to call the donors are not perturbed by this at all..

    "because I don’t think this “OMG, we got so much money we can’t finish the job on time” excuse is going to fly again."

    Uhm.. yes, it will because that's how these things go. Everyone I see discussing such things is more than happy to allow things to go over the "estimated" deadline in the interests of the game being what it was intended to be rather than meeting some arbitrary deadline..

    That's the whole point of NOT going with whip-cracking publishers.. all they care about is their own wallets and reputation.. they don't care that a game is being shaped solely to meet a deadline.

    Is this a pure opinion article? or are these the views of Kotaku in general?

      Well. I think the 'excuse will fly' for the next few projects to be delayed, but only because there's not actually any other option.

      I don't think that excuse will 'fly' for future kickstarters... but we won't actually see that manifested as repercussions as much as we'll see it in failed kickstarters. Which will make the cause very difficult to separate out. 'We don't trust kickstarter to deliver' can very easily be mistaken for, 'I don't like this idea'.

      People who did like the model but can't trust the delivery might just say, "Yeah, it's a great idea, but I'll wait until they're actually selling copies before I buy into it," and we're back where we started - needing money for the cost of paying people to live and work on something that isn't yet yielding any returns.

      High-profile devs/games failing expectations is a great way to discourage faith in the system.

        You should have written this article.. much better description of things.

    well this is part and parcel of game development isn't it? Developers have put back release dates for years to put in final tweaks and what have you. Wasteland 2's case though I can understand more than Broken Age though. If you can't budget properly then you've screwed up and that sort of behaviour (putting out half a game) could end up biting future Kickstarters where it hurts

    Delays are one thing, I'm all waiting for a better finished product, but asking for money is a whole 'nother can of worms. 6 weeks is hardly a bitter pill to swallow.

    I'm with the rest of you - six weeks? Take the time you need! (Even if it's six months.)

    Its a six week delay. The concern I have with the double fine project isn't that the delay, its that they've run out of money. It suggests really poor project management given the fact they got an order of magnitude more money than they asked for.

      ^This. One wonders how much cocaine and how many hookers Double Fine invested in during production... they really shouldn't try to live 'The Bay Life'

        I think the worst thing about the Double Fine Kickstarter is that they got the $3m haven't yet come through with a game and have done another Kickstarter which has also been successful, i don't understand how people can give them money when they haven't produced a game from there original Kickstarter.

        If they were going for a second loan at a bank to fund these games, there is know doubt that they would not get it.

        I guess that's sort of what Kickstarter is all about, removing the logic barrier to get your loan.

          Exactly. My opinion is, produce the first original game you promised with Kickstarter, then produce everything else as additional content, not paid DLC, but have that first core game ready to go *just incase* you go overtime, then release all the otherstuff post release if you have to to extend its life. Doublefine have screwed the pooch. Hopefully the game gets out in time and nothing bad happens but it's been a clusterfuck for them in a big way. Wastelands situation has been 'Hey guys, we're still coming, we dont need anything extra, just a little more time because theres SO MUCH CONTENT!' thats *fine*. Doublefines, is the entire wrong situation.

          Last edited 22/07/13 5:41 pm

    Same here, I'm not impressed with this article and I don't think the author ever understood much of what makes Kickstarter a different way to plan and develop a game. I'm a backer of Wasteland 2 (and Broken Age, and Star Citizen, etc) and I want the devs to release it when it's ready. If they spend their money wisely and are able to extend the development time to ensure a quality release, then they should praised, not put under suspicion.

    But it seems that there is a new hype starting in the media, which consists in stating that Kickstarter is a broken system and that mainstream publishers are better in the end - that's not my experience. I'm really pleased with the Kickstarter projects which I've backed (with several of them no in alpha or beta) while I'm continuing to grow more and more sick of the big publishers who have fed us monstruosities like always online games and killed some of my most beloved franchises (farewell Sim City...).

      I agree totally. Screw the publisher companies. All they've done in the past few years is crank out crap.
      I'll be happy when all the publisher companies go out of business for their pathetic 'efforts'.

        That is a very wide generalisation and I'm sure if you took a minute to it you would see there are countless game titles which have benefited from have publishers money.

          Yeah, there are definitely problems with the publisher 'model' as it stands today, but even scrapping that, publishing - what it used to be - serves a pretty vital role. Marketing and distribution are completely separate skillsets to game development, and where a lot of indies fall down. People complain about Steam's Greenlight, but you don't see Activision or EA putting their games up on there, do you? Because publishing is about building those distribution relationships to get units in the big storefronts.

          Time was, you'd hire a publisher to do these things for you, just like you would any other contractor.

          But the thing is... these were people who were good with money. And because they were good with it, they got into the funding side of things. Just like the record labels for music.

          Without crowd-funding, a publisher is paying for untested developers to live, work, eat, buy luxuries, etc - a living wage while working on something that is earning no money.
          It might do in the future, but the market is fickle and can you be sure? This is why Metacritic exists. To put measurable numbers against highly-subjective 'art', so you can tell what happened with your business investment.

          How would you feel about starting a small business where you have to hire and pay a shitload of employees, who work on something you can't get any revenue out of? Might you get a little twitchy? Might you want to keep a close eye on progress, and set milestones, to make sure things are going OK and that they won't just drag things out in the name of 'quality', while you keep paying their wage and superannuation without seeing a single cent for it? Over not months, but years. For MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. How mad do you think Sega is about Colonial Marines? I'd be fucking livid, and very seriously considering illegal methods of getting my money back.

          I don't agree with the incredibly low developer royalties (if there are even any royalties at all), and the loss of IP rights that publishers have strong-armed into their contracts these days, and the desire to see a return on investment means ramming round pegs into the square holes market-testing has determined makes money, at the expense of art. But when you realize that a game can take several years of development and millions of dollars, and not guaranteed to return that investment if it rates poorly (at the whims of unclean gamers), and you can see why a business might do these things.

    Might want to check that figure for Star Citizen... they're long past $5.7M, should be crossing $15M in the next month or so.

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