Successful $73,000 Kickstarter Runs Out Of Money

Successful $US73,000 Kickstarter Runs Out Of Money

"I will admit that the amount needed to create this game was largely underestimated for the campaign," wrote the director of a Kickstarter game called Midora in an update yesterday. "I knew that the game would need more than $US60,000 to be made."

This confession comes roughly 14 months after Midora, which promised to be an old-school action-adventure with some seriously gorgeous sprite-work, raised $US73,470 from over 3,000 people. Back in April, the director — who goes by the handle Mhyre — confessed that he had run out of money. Now, he's begging video game publishers and other potential investors for a deal.

"If you want to know exactly how much money we need to finish this game, I will tell you," Mhyre wrote. "Between $US120,000 and $US150,000."

That's double what they raised in July of 2014. And, again, this comes as part of a message in which the director confesses that he knew he wouldn't be able to make this game with the amount of money he took from gamers.

Mhyre continues:

"I would like to call all publishers and investors that could potentially be interested in the game. We have all that you need to make a decision and we're ready to be generous, provided that you help us in the first place. We want things to move on, to progress. If you are yourself interested or know anyone that could be interested, please leave us a message on kickstarter, facebook, twitter... anywhere really, as long as it's private. Feel free to suggest companies or suggest us to other companies if you think that could help as well. We are ready to talk."

Some advice: If you see a video game Kickstarter asking for less than, oh, say, $US200,000 (aka: a year's salary for four people working at below-average rates), you probably shouldn't back it. And if you see a video game Kickstarter whose creators don't seem to have any experience shipping actual video games, then, well, you probably shouldn't back it.


    Awaiting the standard Kickstarter comments. Every article, they are the same.

      I was going to say something about Star Citizen. Does that qualify?

        Yeah, there's usually one or two.

        Sometimes you'll get the special joy of watching a long-time hatah and fanboy use it as an arena to continue their vendetta!

    The constant undermining of the publics perception of what a game needs in terms of budget is distressing. It's not entirely unsimilar to other areas of work where an over abundance of skilled workers will drive cost down due to lack of demand. The more electricians around, the more affordable their skills become.

    The game developers around itching to make a game, the stronger the pull to lower the budgetary requirements as it's such an easily understood parameter. If only there was some universal truth and ease with which one could determine the exact monetary requirements. If this existed, developers would instead be forced to raise/improve other aspects of their game while keeping the monetary requirements locked at this bare minimum.

    Instead we see this trend of more unfinished projects because they set the bar too low in the hopes to get any funding at all and nobody walks away happy. Not the developers, and not the kickstarters.

      I've backed great games with lower budgets that still got made *shrug*

    Anyway, I've never really questioned the target of a game on Kickstarter I've just naively looked at the promised game and bought in if it interests me. I've backed three games so far, haven't received any yet but Soul Saga is looking like it's getting close now.

      I backed and received codes for Ninja Pizza Girl and The Long Dark, but haven't found the time to play either yet. I should probably get on that. I mean, at least they had the decency to finish those games. If I'd backed a game that failed to deliver, would I even notice the difference?

    From what I've heard, most Kickstarters ask not for the money they need, but for the money they think they can get, which is usually much less than what is actually needed.

    The advice at the end of the article is probably pretty accurate.

    So far I've backed three Kickstarters (Little Witch Academia 2, FaceRig and a game/language teacher thing) and two of them succeeded. But then, the two that succeeded weren't actually games, and both had solid commercial teams behind them.

      After the Double Fine Adventure Game project (which was it's own spectacular trainwreck of a development) we fell in love with the idea of crowdfunded games and were eager to see any and all game projects succeed. We backed with wanton abandon, expecting to usher in a new golden age for independent devs which would cut those jerkwad publishers out of the cycle! YEAH.

      Then we found out that many devs without a publisher are in that situation because they don't have a game to publish, and maybe not every developer or every idea deserves to succeed.

      On the flip side you have devs Luke Harebrained Schemes who are asking for $1million to deliver a game with a single player story and telling everyone the game won't be out for two years, yet their Battletech kickstarter is sitting on $1.6million, nearly at the $1.8 needs to expand into side missions.

      Some are realistic with what they can achieve and are proving it still sells.

      Plus they have a great track record so far so first time I've really jumped in with a couple hundred dollars thrown at it. Everything else has been bare minimum.

      Last edited 07/10/15 1:42 pm

        I feel like those success stories have more to them than just being well laid out and honest. Battletech is a good Kickstarter and all, but a big part of it's success is that it came out the gate strong.

        Also I'd wait until it actually comes out before praising it for being realistic. $1,000,000 is a ton of money in your wallet but it's next to nothing over the span of three years (in the unlikely event that a project actually gets finished on time and they make the two year release date you should still throw an extra year of working on it into the budget for post-release support and a window to transition to the next project). If your average wage is $50,000 a year and you're operating a ten person team that's your entire budget blown just paying people to come to work for the two year period (although I doubt they have ten people). Throw on the cost of buying/maintaining work stations for everyone, renting an office that can house the full team, bills, any specialist tools/licenses, publishing costs, promotional costs, legal costs, accounting, tax and a bunch of other general operating expenses. Not to mention Kickstarter taking their cut. $1,000,000 doesn't go very far. =P

    That looks like a lot of money just to re-skin Minish Cap...

      Yeah, that's what I thought the first time I saw this project - before it had the newer, supposedly more honest price tag.

    Maybe Kickstarter should institute a rule stating that any project asking for more than a certain amount is required to submit a business case for review and demonstrate that they have a realistic chance of fulfilling their promises with the money they're requesting.

      Kickstarter won't get involved like that. If they start verifying that sort of stuff they have to do it properly, which is expensive and puts them at risk of being held partially responsible. Kickstarter only works (from Kickstarter's perspective) because they keep themselves distanced from the individual projects. When things like this happen Kickstarter just say 'this is between you and the campaigner', but if they had given it the ok in some form or another they'd be required to explain what happened, get dragged into any legal action related to the project and potentially have to offer refunds.

        Plus, fewer backed projects = less cut for Kickstarter corporate.

    The developers of FTL did it the best way - they already had a game developed and needed money for publishing and marketing.

      Yeah, publishers have a real useful purpose in the industry... developers are not distributors and marketers. It's a completely different skillset and an entirely different set of contacts.

      The problem is when publishers decide to ask for ownership of the IP in exchange for performing their services in part but mostly for bankrolling the game in the first place, fronting the initial capital and keeping the devs housed and fed for all those years that they work without having anything to show for it yet.

      It'd be great if we could get to a paradigm of publishers as just another cog in the machine, the next step on a game's journey instead of investment houses holding dev pursestrings, forcing creative decisions to try and get the best return on their investment.

    Kickstarter needs a better way of forcing the creators of projects to show they have planned the business side of things and budgeted their scope properly.

    Maybe this will only happen if backers start demanding they do so. Otherwise this type of thing is going to keep happening which hurts everyone.

    I've backed a dozen or more games on kickstarter. Yet to be burned. Well... I backed this thing, so time will tell if it was a good decision or not.

      It'll come out eventually, regardless I reckon. The dev will find funding for a half finished product, one way or another - it'll just take much longer to be released. Thankfully the good thing about retro/sprite games is that the graphics don't exactly go out of style!

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