Brathwaite and Hall kill Kickstarter RPG project

Design vets say "pitch wasn't strong enough"

Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall have canned their Kickstarter project with two weeks to go, having raised less than $250,000 of the $1 million goal.

Shaker: An Old School RPG was being pitched as a return to classic role-playing gameplay from two veteran designers who worked on titles such as Wizardry, Dungeons & Dragons, Commander keen and Doom.

But the duo have said the "pitch just wasn't strong enough to get the traction it needed to thrive" and have closed the project before deadline.

"Sure, it may have made it," reads the latest update. "We could have fought our way to a possibly successful end. In reading your feedback and talking it over internally, however, we decided that it made more sense to kill it and come back with something stronger."

It's not the only Kickstarter project to run into trouble recently. Haunts: The Manse Macabre has been put on hold after the two main programmers at Mob Rules Games left the company. That project had passed targets and raised more than $28,000.

Last week, Chris Avellone of Obsidian Entertainment told GamesIndustry International that he feared "Kickstarter exhaustion" might see too many crowd-funding projects launched with not enough consumers to back them.

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Latest comments (7)

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief5 years ago
Smart move by Hall and Brathwaite:
They thought nostalgia was enough. It worked for Tim Schafer, right? But that was six months ago.
So they behaved like a lean startup: they pitched an idea, cheaply, to see if it had traction. It didn't so they can, in the jargon, pivot (which probably just means coming back with a better pitch in this case).
How much cheaper is that than building a product which didn't resonate?
The secret of adapting is to experiment, to survive the failure of the experiments that fail and to learn from the success or failure. This is a good start.
I'm looking forward to the next Kickstarter pitch.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
Sensible move all round. To be honest I don't think we'll see kickstarter fatigue. There's always going to be ideas that people can get behind and, if you look at patronage of the arts over hundreds of years, it goes in ebbs and flows but never truly stops. I expect the same to be true of Kickstarter-esque endeavours...
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
They probably weren't helped that their pitch overlapped with Obsidian's Project Eternity, which was from a group of better known RPG developers with a more solidly conceived game.
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Show all comments (7)
Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
@David. I was thinking along similar lines. I also hadn't heard about this one until this story, as allowed to the amount Obsidian or inXile managed to get the word out.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 5 years ago
I think they failed their "gut check".

Okay, but seriously, when yiou do project-based funding, you can't put all your chickens in one basket. You need to raise money from a variety of sources. Everything from regional tax credits to boutique investors to distributor pre-sales (by territory).

(Oh wait.. Project-based funding doesn't happen in the game industry... Outside of Kickstarter. Ah, that's just too bad.)
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Simon Lepine Studio Creative Director, Gameloft Montreal5 years ago
Maybe they should come up with a better concept than repeating 'Old School' over and over, there wasn't much meat to their pitch.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Just had a look, if backing an old school PC RPG, mobile support as a stretch goal would but me right off. In fact, the main reason I didn't back Shadowrun was that it was pitched for iOS and PC, so I thought it may be borked for touchscreen.
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