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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for Linux has been officially cancelled

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Sad news for fans of action platformers, as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for Linux has been officially cancelled.

Bloodstained was crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in June of 2015, with that they managed to gain $5.5 million dollars. During the campaign, they confirmed Linux was going to be a supported platform, they even told us they were aiming for a simultaneous release.

However, that's all changed now. Sharing the news in a Kickstarter update posted today, they said this:

In this update, we have a very important announcement to make.  Bloodstained will no longer be supported on Mac and Linux. We have made this tough decision due to challenges of supporting middleware and online feature support and making sure we deliver on the rest of the scope for the game. We will be offering backers who planned to play the game on Mac and Linux the option to change the platform of their order. If you would like to change your platform, please send an email with your new platform request from the email address associated with your Kickstarter pledge. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and we hope for your understanding.

So not only are they cancelling the Linux version, they're seemingly not offering a refund and only allowing you the option to change your platform. I had to wipe my glasses and read it again to be sure! A refund simply isn't mentioned, only the chance to change your platform.

I didn't personally fund this one, so I don't have any personal grudges or anything like that. Even so, I find this extremely poor, to put it rather lightly. I just can't believe my eyes, given they had over eleven times their original funding goal!

I've added it to our dedicated page tracking individual crowdfunding projects, with 150 projects that puts individual projects that promise Linux support at around 89% that deliver.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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76 comments
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elmapul 30 December 2018 at 8:42 pm UTC
ageres
elmapulsitch is fucking profitable and with its short life time it already surpassed the instal base of linux and its only going to grow in the next few years.
If the devs were so slow so WiiU and Vita died during the development and Switch appeared, that doesn't mean they can break their promises. Linux and Mac bases were profitable enough to raise money on Kickstarter, but not enough for making a port?

i'm not saying we arent right for complaning.
i'm just explaining why it make sense for the middleware developer to support switch and not support linux and mac.

but i still believe that they should deliver what was promissed no matter what, if they cant make an day 1 support for all the platforms, they should give an key for the game day 1 for another platform chosen by the player + ANOTHER key for their desired platform after they finished porting the game with the profit that the game has made after the launch event.
RanceJustice 2 January 2019 at 8:52 pm UTC
I know it is easy for some to simply be jaded, harden their "no tux no bux" policies, and consider this yet another unfortunate loss for Linux users and crowdfunding alike, but I urge everyone to put forth a little effort to express your displeasure and respectfully request the return of Linux and Mac support.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is one of the most successful gaming crowdfunded projects to date, especially for non-MMO style games. It is developed by a multifaceted team of industry veterans, so we are not dealing with a small indie dev house lacking in experience or funding. Bloodstained started its crowdfunding campaign around 4 years ago and advertised Linux and Mac OS support as core features from day one. These stated core features helped propel the campaign to over 5.5 million USD, accomplishing a whole host of stretch goals and leading to the aforementioned success. Now, 4 years later there is an unceremonious email update informing backers that Mac and Linux support has been removed, ostensibly for reasons of "middleware and online features"! To add insult to injury, there is no refund option offered at present simply an opportunity to change to another platform!

Some will call attention to the fact that some console platforms - notably PS Vita and Wii U - were cut in the past, but the Mac/Linux situation is completely different. PS Vita and Wii U are both consoles where physical and digital distribution depends on the acceptance and blessing of the console platform owners every step of the way and those two consoles were EOL'ed, no longer shipping new titles by the end of Bloodstained' projected development. This is disappointing, but totally different from the other PC OSes such as Mac and Linux where there is no third party that has to bless the release on their platform; the fate of the promised OSes were totally in the hand of the developers and thus culpable the same way. This is not to say WiiU / Vita backers should not be compensated beyond simply picking another platform - an extra key would certainly help. However, when it comes to Mac/Linux the only acceptable course of action is to deliver on those platforms.

Mac and Linux support being cut 4 years into development for reasons of "middleware or online features" is certainly troublesome. First, given these OSes were part of the original campaign for the past years, any middleware should have been designed with cross-platform in mind from day one. This suggests either they were incredibly derelict in selection of middleware originally and/or recent changes - likely designed to hurry up and finish the game - act as a poorly stapled on solution. Online features have been included in the game since the end of the campaign with its many stretch goals and frankly I can't see how Mac/Linux could mess that up, really. For all Win/Mac/Linux OSes on PC, the game was advertised offering both GOG and Steam support. Now the latter is absolutely not a problem at all, as Steam(works) provide ready made online features/play with ease, compatible for all supported OSes with cross-play. In fact, there is a large history of Steam's ready-to-go online features being the only way that an indie developer and/or Japanese devs used to console online services, can have an easier near ready made solution as opposed to having to build one from scratch. Thus, hypothetically the issue I could see is perhaps GOG : lack of cross play between the two, GOG Galaxy absent support for Linux etc... but if this is the case it could have been solved easily with better communication. The devs could have informed and polled the players that GOG either wouldn't have online support, wouldn't be able to play with Steam etc... and ask what players want to do. At absolute worst, it could mean removal of GOG support instead favoring Humble Bundle style direct download for those who want them PLUS Steam keys for those who want to use the online features/like Steam. None of this requires the complete abolition of promised Linux and Mac support!

This also brings me to the side issue of communication. Even if there are other issues involved, I very much doubt that they could not be solved with better communication. Crowdfunded games are known for a more open spectrum of communication styles between backers and developers. Prior to this announcement, I knew that the devs behind Bloodstained were not the kind of radically day to day transparent that is seen with some titles, but they were progressing and generally showing promise through the various alpha builds, the development of Curse of the Moon etc. I was willing to give them the time to build the game right, as I'd rather wait longer for a great title than see one rushed out the door, so long as there is evidence of progress. However, this announcement about dropping Mac/Linux was extremely abrupt. Mentioning "middleware and online features" was it - no specifics, no idea why they had to drop it entirely as opposed to simply delay the game, adding to the distasteful nature of the announcement. There are risks to crowdfunding games and delays are a part of it, so I think I and many others would have - with good communication - understood if Mac/Linux support was still coming but not released in parity with Windows. However, simply cutting major core features or stretch goals, especially OS support, at the eleventh hour is NOT and should not be just par for the course when it comes to crowdfunding!

It really becomes about the principle of the thing - they promised certain features and soared to heights of financial success, taking our money, on the backs of those promises. While Linux users should indeed be the vanguard as we are all affected directly, this should be an issue of solidarity for ALL users to put their foot down and demand the return of the promised features. Failure to do means that a major, veteran studio can collect millions of funds and then simply turn their back, knowing that a meager outcry will be quickly forgotten. This will damn crowdfunding even further, allowing exploiters big and small to figure they can simply toss out the bare minimum and still profit, while legit devs who will work their hardest and do what's right will have to deal with the user cynicism meaning their projects don't get funded. The long term viability of crowdfunding not withstanding, this is a single issue of principle where people paid over 5.5 Million on the expectation of certain features, core and stretch goal alike, would be delivered. To accept anything but the restoration of Mac and Linux support is to capitulate, validating their behavior.

A polite though forceful campaign can help accomplish this, guided by the behavior of the developers. The first stage is simply to create an outcry of objection, letting them know that this will not pass quietly in the night. Bring attention to the issue both on a technical level and as one of principle, and implore them to reverse this course of action. There are more vehement options (ie negative PR in an accusatory fashion, getting the games media involved etc..), but we should make our disappointment known and give them a chance to respond, first of all.

I know so many Linux users are tired of being treated like this and prefer to focus on the good - and there is a lot of good - for our platform and those who support it, but this is a big opportunity. Lots of other games - small indies, Linux ports after the fact being dropped and the like will have the average, non-Linux or Mac user saying all the memes about "Small platform, not worth it, can't afford, game tanked entirely etc.". However, this case is a perfect storm so to speak , where everyone should be our "our" side out of principle - Linux/Mac support was a core feature of the campaign and partially because of that it became insanely successful to the tune of 5.5+ million, all helmed by veteran developers for over 4 years of development thus far before being swatted away. That is unacceptable no matter how you slice it and the entire gaming world needs to agree with that, or just admit that anyone can throw up a crowdfunding campaign and has no responsibly to deliver even on core features and no repercussions for failing to do so.


Last edited by RanceJustice at 2 January 2019 at 11:50 pm UTC
ssokolow 9 January 2019 at 7:18 am UTC
Status update:

The official response from 505 is that they can't refund Linux and Mac backers because the money from the Kickstarter has been spent.

For those who want to read the official text, they've posted it both as a comment reply on the Linux/Mac cancellation announcement and in the official forums.

The first major comment in reply over on Kickstarter boils down to "Nice try, but that kind of creative accounting won't hold up in court. Kickstarter terms specify that backer rewards are legal contracts and, if you can't satisfy them, you refund from whatever you're using to pay employees now, from post-release sales, or by declaring the project failed and liquidating the assets produced."

A previous comment also linked to three examples of Kickstarter campaigns being successfully taken to court over failed promises. ([1], [2], [3])


Last edited by ssokolow at 9 January 2019 at 7:38 am UTC
ragsu 9 January 2019 at 11:57 am UTC
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GuestCan you chargeback after so long? the kickstarter was over 3 years ago

Apparently not. At least with my credit card company the limit was half a year sadly.
dpanter 9 January 2019 at 3:19 pm UTC
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ssokolowThe official response from 505 is that they can't refund Linux and Mac backers because the money from the Kickstarter has been spent.

...creative accounting...
What a bunch of dickbags. Lawsuit incoming?
ssokolow 9 January 2019 at 9:54 pm UTC
dpanter
ssokolowThe official response from 505 is that they can't refund Linux and Mac backers because the money from the Kickstarter has been spent.

...creative accounting...
What a bunch of dickbags. Lawsuit incoming?

Hopefully. I don't know what my options are when I'm in Canada and none of the parties I checked have a direct presence in Canada, but 505 Games does have a division in Los Angeles, California and U.S. backers have successfully taken Kickstarter projects to court in Oregon and Arizona. (The Arizona one being "justice court", which, as I understand it, is basically a more precedent-setting cousin to small claims court.)

They're headquartered in Italy, with divisions in California, the U.K, France, Germany, and Spain, in case it encourages anyone in one of those jurisdictions to go after them. It's not as if small claims court expects both sides to lawyer up like superior court does.

If nothing else, it'd be nice to have a court records link for a citation, so this mess could be added to 505 Games's Wikipedia page to counterbalance their 2015 "Best Indie Games Label" award and help drive home that there are consequences.

(As jph pointed out in the Kickstarter comments, this is basically an old Hollywood trick that courts are not amused by: Trying to escape your legal responsibilities by putting your assets and liabilities in separate legal entities and letting the one with the liabilities go bankrupt.)


Last edited by ssokolow at 9 January 2019 at 10:09 pm UTC
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