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When Kickstarter goes wrong for indie games: Drift Stage

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A lot of the time Kickstarter (and other crowdfunding services) for indie games goes well, in fact the vast majority of the time all is fine. Sometimes though, everything breaks down as is the case with Drift Stage.

Drift Stage was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in February of 2015, with a reasonable sum (compared with other projects) of $57,720 to make their modern take on retro racing a reality. Over the years, they released multiple demo versions and showed it off at Minecon (the Minecraft convention) in 2016 which you can still find a demo of here on itch.io and all seemed well on the surface.

Time went on, backers noticed a lack of new details and progress on it with many trying to find out what was actually going on. In December of 2018, the Artist on the project Charles "DelkoDuck" Blanchard posted on Steam to finally clear it up and it wasn't good. The programmer and co-creator, Chase Pettit, apparently did a bit of a disappearing act, becoming hard to get in contact with and claimed they were just too busy for it.

A lot more time went on, more began to question what was happening and Blanchard posted a new update in December last year on Steam. They said that Drift Stage has not been abandoned by them, although Pettit is still nowhere to be seen to work on the code and that "the companies bank account was tapped out and the project no longer appealed to Chase Pettit". Additionally, they've been dealing with legal issues "after a Chilean studio decompiled the Kickstarter demo an attempted to pass themselves off as the games developer".

They've been trying to get a publisher to pick it up and carry it on, as they can't do any of the code and they're the only one left on the project. Right now, it seems New Blood Interactive have showed a little interest in picking it up, will let you know if anything happens from that.

A real shame, but as with any crowdfunding you don't really know what's going to happen. You're not necessarily funding the game but the people behind it to live and attempt to create their vision. It doesn't always go to plan, as seen here. Going by our own list though, you can see the majority turn out quite well.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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8 comments

Ehvis 16 Jan
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QuoteDrift Stage was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in February of 2015, with a reasonable sum of $57,720 to make their modern take on retro racing a reality.

I think the problem is that this is not a reasonable sum. That amount of money funds at most a single person for one year. While it is not impossible for an experienced dev to make something good in such a time span, it is not an easy task either. Especially when you want code+art+sound+music, which generally requires multiple people.

When I see such numbers, I immediately wonder what other types of funding they have.
Liam Dawe 16 Jan
Quoting: Ehvis
QuoteDrift Stage was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in February of 2015, with a reasonable sum of $57,720 to make their modern take on retro racing a reality.

I think the problem is that this is not a reasonable sum. That amount of money funds at most a single person for one year. While it is not impossible for an experienced dev to make something good in such a time span, it is not an easy task either. Especially when you want code+art+sound+music, which generally requires multiple people.

When I see such numbers, I immediately wonder what other types of funding they have.
Reasonable in comparison to other projects I meant, not in in regards to how much a game costs to make for multiple people full time. Have adjusted to be clearer.
TheSHEEEP 16 Jan
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Quoting: Ehvis
QuoteDrift Stage was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in February of 2015, with a reasonable sum of $57,720 to make their modern take on retro racing a reality.

I think the problem is that this is not a reasonable sum. That amount of money funds at most a single person for one year.
I live in one of the more expensive countries in the world (about 10-20% cheaper to live here than in the US, I think) and could easily live two years off that. With some buffer.

And if you get people on board from countries that have a cheaper costs all around (some eastern European countries, or Asian ones, etc.) you can definitely pull off a small indie team for a year or more.

In addition to that, usually the developers put funds of their own into the project and find other sources over the course of development.

If 57k really is the start and end of all the funding, then yes, I could see problems arising from that.

But here I think it was really more a lack of planning and experience.
And then at some point a failure to communicate - and possibly to admit defeat to yourself.
orochi_kyo 16 Jan
They should beg for Epic dirty money, made from labor exploitation. Feel sad for Blanchard.
Corben 16 Jan
Something similar happened to Power Drive 2000.
Successfully funded... no updates after this message "BRB. Chit-chatting with lawyers." in feb 2017...
Kimyrielle 16 Jan
Quoting: EhvisI think the problem is that this is not a reasonable sum. That amount of money funds at most a single person for one year.

It completely depends on the life situation, really. If these people have to pay rent and support a family, it won't last them long, at least not if they live in any developed country. If they are not primary bread earners and can actually invest the entire sum in the game, 50k is a LOT, particularly considering that they had coding and art covered. Their art doesn't look overly complex, so one should think even commissioning some parts wouldn't break the bank.

I have seen people starting Indie projects blowing a lot of money on expensive software licenses when decent OSS alternatives are available, though. Particularly when the project head is an artist (they often seem to be conditioned to the idea that software cannot be good unless it's expensive.) So who knows, really.
This is why it is my personal policy to never buy a game unless I'm willing to accept it "as is" without any expectation that it will be fixed or improved in the future.
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