Indie Studio Says Failed Kickstarter Is Why Its Game Looks Incomplete

A jolting conclusion awaits anyone who bought Dark Matter, an indie game released two days ago on Steam. About four hours in, gamers were abruptly slapped with a wall of text signifying the end of the game. The game's maker says the hard stop is because the studio's Kickstarter failed and they ran out of money.

Upset gamers are accusing developer InterWave Studios of releasing an incomplete game, even at the $US15 price (currently discounted 10 per cent). For their part, an InterWave representative in the Steam Forums says even though the studio intended to make a game about twice as long, they consider this version to be complete. However, "Viper", the Interwave developer discussing the game in the Steam Forums, admitted that the "to be continued" text created the impression the whole thing was unfinished.

That said, "The full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldn't finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing)," Viper said yesterday morning. He said the game is meant to last 6 to 8 hours, though some who say Dark Matter is incomplete said they explored everything in the 2.5D sidescroller and completed it in half the time.

Dark Matter only raised about 12 per cent of a £50,000 Kickstarter goal this summer. When faced with a dried-up cash flow and no Kickstarter support, Viper said InterWave chose to go with what it had built "to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter."

Kotaku reader General McFist pointed out the controversy yesterday afternoon on Talk Amongst Yourselves, providing the full text of the game's description — which promises "14 levels in a gritty tale of deep space survival."

Probably the biggest reason people think they're playing an incomplete game is how it gives no hint that the battle preceding it is at all climactic in nature. Some expository dialogue right before the player enters the last door, triggering the game-over text, does little to suggest this is the end of the road, either. You can see it in the video above, uploaded yesterday by YouTube user Jay Xan.

I've reached out to InterWave to ask for additional comment about the game and whether the studio has (or can fund) plans to finish it as originally planned. Any comments InterWave makes will be updated here.


    Reminds me of the old days with bootleg films bought in Bali , the VHS with only the first ten minutes of a film.

    Last edited 20/10/13 9:47 am

    Kickstarters fault? Bs. Absolute bs. Kickstarter is not a guarantee of funding. Talk about an entitled attitude.

      It seems more like they're blaming their failure to run a successful kickstarter campaign, rather than kickstarter itself. They were hoping to get money to fulfil the entirety of their vision. The didn't get it. They did what they could with the money they had. Nowhere do I get the impression they're saying it's kickstarter's fault.

        So the kickstarter fails, they put out a half finished (quarter finished?) game and con people? The way it ends is a joke. This isn't gamers being entitled, they're saying the game ends like that because their money dried up? No the game ends like that because quite frankly they're shit game devs. Had they actually planned properly from the start, not relied on kickstarter completely and had a backup plan this wouldn't have occurred. Mayhaps they could have tried a different approach, the Steam Greenlight approach, put out an alpha, build slowly on it like a lot of other games do succesfully. Many games have done this amazingly well, but instead, they drop this joke on people, claim it's 'their finished vision with what they could do'. It's a copout plain and simple and still shows an entitled attitude.

        Last edited 20/10/13 1:58 pm

          I didn't say what they did was good, I just said they didn't, as you suggested, blame kickstarter.

            So the bit where they say they couldnt finish it because of kickstarter failing? Sounds exactly like it.

            You're taking it to mean they blame the company, I'm taking it to mean they blame the process of the kickstarter, which they do specifically in the article.

            “The full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldn’t finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing),”

            A decent dev would've sought other options to get their full vision out there, as I said, Steam Greenlight would've been their better option, release it incrementally as they could. Get inital funding, put out what they did, then update it as they go, finishing their vision as they can rather than dumping this quasi-finished thing on people.

            Last edited 21/10/13 7:56 am

    TEXT! What year is this? Seriously, at the very least spend a day making an artwork to end the game on. Wow that was really bad, really poorly done. Ouch.

    They should have released it as early access, and/or been really transparent about the lack of a conclusion to the game, to just spring that on players out of nowhere is going to piss off 100% of people.

      They could even at least have had someone, anyone, read the text at least.

    WTF developers are so greedy/lazy these days. Run out of money? get a night shift job stocking shelves at the supermarket. Get a loan. Sell some shit.. Starting to really hate this kickstarter attitude that's evolving.

    They should have put this on greelight, or made it clear to people that this was not finished. I suppose at the end of the day, you could say "Caveat Emptor!" at leave it at that. But if we are going to do that, we need to call a spade a spade and call the game poorly made with a terrible ending. They don't get to dodge ANY criticism by saying "we thought we'd get more money!". Let me ask you - if Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing Developer Stellar Stone Studios had said "We'd have made a better game, if only we had more money... and time... and talent.... don't judge us!", are you going to do that? If they had put in a disclaimer ON THE STORE PAGE that this was a work in progress, that it wasn't fully finished, then and only then, could they dodge some criticism. But they didn't - they marketed it as complete, so I'm going to assume it is. And from what I can tell, it's just a bad game with a terrible ending. Do not buy.

    haha I actually bought this game just the other day..decided to check out the posts about it on steam and found the controversy

    but this is bullshit, I'd like to think I can trust indie games on steam to deliver and not have their baggage negatively affect the game

    EDIT: I actually kind of feel sorry for them now..they had so much trouble with it

    Last edited 20/10/13 10:58 pm

    "We apologise again for the fault in the ending screen. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked."

    Seems like a prime candidate for a Steam 'Early Access' release. You know... something that gets you on the Steam front-page, gets money in your pocket, and doesn't require your game to be complete.

    Sounds much more to me like the team said, "Fuckit, we hate this now, people have quit/been fired/got better jobs, we're constantly reminded of our failure, we just want to be done with it and try to salvage our spent time with some sales."

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