Let me tell you the story of two Kickstarter campaigns that are taking their sweet time to deliver on their promises.
Since we last spoke, I’ve been throwing a little more money at Kickstarter campaigns. Despite the fact that the projects I’m pledging to fail left and right, I just don’t learn, do I? My most recent backing was €10 to Superego, a pixel art adventure game calling itself “la primera aventura gráfica documental”.
Yes, that’s Spanish, a language in which my proficiency is limited to ordering a beer. All together now: “un særvesa, pårr favår”! According to Yandex, “la primera aventura gráfica documental” translates into “the first documentary graphic adventure”. As it turns out, Superego is a game based on the life of its creator, Héctor Bometón. And based on the header image of the campaign, he lives a very interesting life. So interesting, in fact, I used the image in this post to grab people’s attention. Sorry about that Héctor.
But this post isn’t about a Kickstarter campaign that may result in me playing a Spanish documentary graphic adventure. This post is about some of the Kickstarter campaigns I’ve pledged to that are long overdue on delivering on their promises.
AI War II
You might be familiar with the AI War franchise already. The first game in the series, AI War: Fleet Command, was released in 2009. It was developer Arcen Games’ first and their most successful title to date. The game’s commercial success made it possible for the company to spend money on developing several other titles. Unfortunately, none of them has fared as well as AI War: Fleet Command.
In what I suspect was an attempt to fill the company coffers again, Arcen Games launched an AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign in November 2016. But that campaign fell flat on its ass. It was cancelled when it became obvious the ambitious funding goal of nearly $300,000 would not be reached in time. After having regrouped, Arcen Games launched another, more sober AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign with a funding goal of $50,000. AI War 2 was successfully funded in December 2016.
Fast forward to October 2017, the date of the estimated version 1.0 release of AI War 2. To no-one’s surprise, the schedule slipped. In an attempt to keep everyone happy, Arcen provided Steam keys for all the backers. The same was done in May the same year when the Early Access scheduled slipped as well.
Today, one and a half year after the planned release of AI Wars 2, it’s still in Early Access.But that doesn’t mean it’s abandoned. Far from it. AI War 2 is in very active development, and has received three updates in June alone. It’s also enjoying a “very positive” review score on Steam.
Unfortunately, Arcen Games is doing a terrible job at posting updates to the Kickstarter campaign. If you want to know what’s happening, you have to follow the announcements on Steam.
During their 30 days campaign back in 2015, Jumpdrive Studios managed to raise $55,314 for XO, a retro sci-fi strategy game. Inspired by sci-fi works such as Battlestar Galactica, The Lost Fleet series, and games like FTL, XO was described as a “strategy game [that] will test your skills as a leader in times of great need.”
The elaborate campaign showed off a lot of animations, the game’s Tron-like visual style, XO’s backstory and many of the game mechanics. The development team also seemed like an experienced bunch of people. All this was good enough for 2,219 backers to trust Jumpdrive Studios with their money.
And so the all too familiar waiting started. The estimated release date of March 2016 came and went. It’s now well over three years since the game should have been release, and none of the Kickstarter backers have played the game. Not even the backers who pledged $75 or more for alpha access - because the game has not yet reached its alpha phase.
Even though the release of XO is long overdue, it seems very likely the game will eventually see the light of day. Unlike other campaigns that have missed their deadline, Jumpdrive Studios has posted regular, monthly updates to the campaign ever since it was successfully funded. And now alpha access is coming finally coming as well. In the May development recap, the alpha release is set to July 31. This means that some backers will finally be able to play they game they pledged for 4 years ago.