Nine More Successful Gaming Kickstarters That Didn’t Deliver

Nine More Successful Gaming Kickstarters That Didn’t Deliver

The most important thing to look for in a Kickstarter isn’t a cool pitch video or an impressive roster of talent. It’s someone who knows how to manage money.

Here, following our look earlier this year at 12 Kickstarter projects that were funded but never came to fruition, are nine more crowdfunded projects that took people’s money and didn’t deliver. From retro platformers to RPGs by respected authors, the following projects represent hundreds of thousands of dollars that simply fizzled.

Grapple Knight

Earned: $12,067

Funded: 24 December 2013

Estimated Delivery: February 2014

Pitched as a retro-inspired platformer with a Bionic Commando-like grappling mechanic, Grapple Knight looked pretty rad, but has yet to actually happen. The project’s creators stopped posting updates in July of 2014, leaving fans and backers scratching their heads and wondering just what was going on. When reached by Kotaku, designer Gonzalo Araya said he’s still working on the game and that he ran into a setback after a falling out with one of the lead artists.

“We haven’t been updating our backers about the situation out of shame more than anything,” Araya said. “I guess in a roundabout way of putting it, life happened, it kicked us down and it’s taken a while to pick ourselves back up, but we aren’t quitters or thieves and sooner or later we will deliver because we are all gamers, we love games and the community that has tried to help us with ours, and we want to find the perfect way to return the favour, it’s just taken longer than we hoped.”

Haunts: The Manse Macabre

Earned: $US28,739

Funded: 6 July 2012

Estimated Delivery: October 2012

“Things are not going well,” wrote author Rick Dakan in a Kickstarter update on 5 March 2013, outlining some of the problems he faced while trying to put together the turn-based horror game Haunts: The Manse Macabre. “I still hope for some kind of Haunts something, but there’s no longer an obvious path from here to there.”

Dakan, a veteran writer and designer who co-founded Cryptic Studios in 2000, offered to issue refunds to the best of his ability, but the game never happened and likely never will. Dakan did not respond to a request for comment.


Earned: $US15,165

Funded: 9 November 2012

Estimated Delivery: February 2013

It’s been a year and a half since the last (backer-only) update for iBeg, a game that was pitched as a simulator of homeless life in Vancouver. It’s been over a year since they updated their Twitter account. But you can still donate on their website! The creators of iBeg did not respond to a request for comment.

Quantum Roleplaying Game

Earned: $US42,747

Funded: 30 December 2011

Estimated Delivery: April, 2012

Although Quantum Role-Playing Game earned more than triple its initial goal of $US13,000, the tabletop game appears to be no more. Creator Joshua Frost and artist Hugo Solis engaged in a nasty public finger-pointing match, with Frost eventually declaring in May of 2014 that the game wouldn’t be happening. “The project is dead, no longer has a timeline, and has no plans to resume,” he wrote. The creators did not respond to a request for comment.

Auditorium 2: Duet

Earned: $US71,061

Funded: 30 March 2012

Estimated Delivery: October, 2012

Credit to the creators of Auditorium 2: Duet; the pitched Auditorium sequel is over three years late, but at least they haven’t gone MIA. They say they have given out all of their rewards — other than the game itself — and they have been posting semi-regular updates, even if there’s still no indication that this colourful puzzler will ever actually happen.

“At this point, we are absolutely planning to continue work on Duet,” creative director Will Stallwood said in an email. “But, giving updates to an increasingly angry audience has been making development considerably harder on us… We’re very much at a crossroads and trying to figure out what the hell we can do. We are in a terrible position, but I’d like to think how we handle ourselves when we are down is what defines us. The future is still not written.”

Echoes of Eternia

Earned: $US43,196

Funded: 6 May 2012

Estimated Delivery: May, 2013

Why is it always the cool-looking JRPGs that fail? Thanks to personnel changes and an inexperienced team that got in way over their heads, the once-promising role-playing game Echoes of Eternia is still MIA. At this point, designer Jeremy Hill appears to be going at it himself, posting the occasional lonely update on Reddit. Things seem grim for this one. The creators didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Official Otakon Super Beat Em’ Up Video Game

Earned: $US33,642

Funded: 22 September 2012

Estimated Delivery: April, 2013

After raising over $US33,000 for a beat’em up video game in partnership with the Maryland-based anime convention Otakon, creator Dave Lister went MIA (although he’s still active on Twitter). In July of 2014, Otakon announced that they had cut ties with Lister and his studio. Will backers ever see their money again? The creators did not respond to a request for comment.

Dr. McNinja’s Radical Adventures

Earned: $US15,391

Funded: 6 May 2012

Estimated Delivery: July, 2012

In 2012, webcomic artist Chris Hastings announced a Kickstarter for a game based on his cartoon, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. In September of 2013, the creators announced that the game would be on hiatus for four to six months. In December of 2015, it’s clear that this one ain’t happening. The creators didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Confederate Express

Earned: $US39,739

Funded: 20 November 2013

Estimated Delivery: June, 2014

This might be one of the biggest scams in Kickstarter’s history — although Confederate Express creators Maksym and Denys Pashanin only raised $US39,739 for what they described as an isometric survival game, news soon came out that the brothers were also notorious Airbnb squatters who have sued multiple landlords and taken over a Palm Springs condo without paying rent.

Less than a year after launching their Kickstarter for Confederate Express — which never happened — the Pashanin brothers put up another Kickstarter for a game called Knuckle Club. Kickstarter quickly suspended it. The brothers did not respond to a request for comment.


  • Wow, I just read a little about those Pashanin brothers, and they truly seem like the absolute worst kind of asshats. I hope that property owner gets her house back.

  • *puts on flame shield*

    You forgot Star Citizen. Very successful Kickstarter, didn’t deliver game as per original Terms of Service.

    Yes, I know that ‘things have changed’. Mainly CIG got a lot more money and still tries to get more through sales of promises and referral programmes despite Chris Roberts saying (when CIG had about half the money it has today), “We could finish the game if the funding stopped tomorrow”.

    If the game (or games or episodes or whatever the hell it ends up being) is ever finished then it will be a welcome miracle, but the fact remains that the Kickstarter project was not delivered as promised.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sceptical of the approach they’ve taken. I think Project Cars has been a better example of how to do things; they released the game and then continued to support it through updates and extra stuff (some of it free, some paid).

    • I’d look it up, it seems to be making decent progress. I’d say it’s so slow because the much larger scope has presumably introduced 10 million bugs they’ve had to deal with. As far as project management botches go, it’s pretty tame

  • Grapple Knight had a playable demo at least, and they did show up to one of the conventions a few years ago. Sad to see that the game didn’t come out in the end as the demo was somewhat fun.

  • Total lost here to swindlers and failed projects: $400,000, and $2.1 million in the previous article.
    Plenty of others either haven’t delivered or ended up a mess.
    Planetary Annihilation was botched
    Ultima Kickstarter is a year overdue and appears to have dropped the single player rpg in favor of being an MMO
    Megatokyo kickstarter is 2 years overdue and the creator is no longer working on it

  • There is an answer now by one of the original devs of Dr. McNinja’s game in the kickstarter page, btw. It was, as certainly many other cases here, not a case of malice but one of naive, idealistic and ultimately ignorant youthful incompetence.

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