Dizzy Returns won't meet funding target

"In order to meet that we'd need over 40,000 pledged every day"

Philip and Andrew Oliver have publicly admitted that their Dizzy Returns Kickstarter is almost certainly going to fall short of its ambitious £350,000 goal.

"As of today the total amount pledged stands at just over £23,000 of our £350,000 goal - in order to meet that we'd need over £40,000 pledged every day, and realistically that's not going to happen," they stated on the Kickstarter page.

"There's certainly no shame in admitting that though, and we believe that rather than posting updates under the pretence that we might hit our target, it's much better to be honest and upfront with you, our backers."

The brothers had previously been forced to defend the £350,000 target they had set, which many argued seem high.

“At its very simplest the cost of making any game is a combination of content, people and time; the more content there is in a game, the more people working on it and the more time spent adding and polishing features will always mean a higher cost. We believe that £350,000 is a realistic amount that reflects the number of people, the amount of time, and the amount of content we want to dedicate to Dizzy Returns.”

Now the pair recognise that a lack of gameplay footage could have been a factor when it came to tempting backers, part of a bigger issue of the game being in the pre-development stage. And while they're grateful to the 774 funders they did manage to attract, the game is unlikely to ever see the light of day.

"Dizzy Returns at least will not be made if the campaign is not funded successfully, as is looking likely. We may revisit the possibility of another Dizzy game at a later date, but the vision of that game would need to be considerably different," the twins added.

"We'll be using time left of the campaign to share the rest of the concept work and designs we have with you, as well as asking for your thoughts about the future of Dizzy. As per Kickstarter's policy on unsuccessful projects, not meeting our target means that you will not be charged a penny."

Philip and Andrew Oliver are the founders of Blitz Games Studios, which has worked on titles like Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Kumo Lumo and Puss In Boots.

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Latest comments (28)

Paul Smith Dev 9 years ago
As much as I'd like to play a new dizzy 350,000 is an insanly high amount for a 2d ios/pc game. It might of been better for them if they broke the number down and explained why they needed so much.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 14th December 2012 10:58am

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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
Did they do this to get the money?
Or maybe to get the publicity.
Certainly the Dizzy brand is now being talked about for the first time since the Amiga.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 9 years ago
Looked like a straight money grab to me and possibly everyone else who saw that number. I think they thought it would be an easy pay off for minimum effort.
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Show all comments (28)
Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 9 years ago
I don't think people's nostalgia for Dizzy is as strong as the developers thought. We might all speak about it fondly, but do any of us really want a new Dizzy game? Other mistakes with the Kickstarter were obviously made, but I think that's the biggest.
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James Wells Gaming Contributor - 9 years ago
I tried to get into Dizzy on the NES, but the one on Quattro Adventure, I think it was Treasure Island Dizzy, was waaaaay too difficult (one life, with one-hit kills, really??). I did get some good enjoyment out of Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy later on (largely due to its slightly more forgiving nature), but the franchise just never really caught on in the states.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Wells on 14th December 2012 4:46pm

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Tim Browne Game Studio Design Director, King.com9 years ago
I disagree with Bruce. The Dizzy brand was being talked about more in my opinion when the Oliver twins and Codemasters released 'Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk' on iOS and Android late last year. From what I've seen and can gather social media has been much quieter about the Kickstarter Dizzy than last years offering.
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You spin me right round baby right a record...
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports9 years ago
@Paul - "As much as I'd like to play a new dizzy 350,000 is an insanly high amount for a 2d ios/pc game. It might of been better for them if they broke the number down and explained why they needed so much."

This is exactly why this kickstarter failed and it's sad because in many ways it's oversimplifying things and a bit misguided. The first point being that 2D is automatically cheaper to develop than a 3D one. That's pretty much nonsense and still depends very much on the amount on content going in the game so that measure alone is a bit meaningless. The second is that 350k to a studio with overheads for premises etc plus taxes and NI contributions means you can rattle through that kind of money pretty quickly even with a small team. The final one is a question of value of the final product and something that Rayman Origins bore the brunt of not that long ago. The 2D platformer was well received by critics and boasted a fair share of content but was deemed in the public's eyes as of less value than it's 3D contemporaries, which is a shame really.

I still wish the best for the Olivers. I know them, this isn't a money grab. They're nice people who want to make their game. They gave me my start in this business and I'll always be thankful for that.
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It has taken longer than I thought to see the dark side of KS Project aspirations. I also note the headlines along at EDGE about "Code Hero KS backers demand refund following delays, creator Alex Peake responds ".

Fundamentally, the gravy train seems to be coming to the buffers for those that tried to ride it for self publicity and money grab projects - though there are two high profile KS projects that are now receiving more scrutiny than is healthy as more questions are raised towards why well funded individuals look towards cloud source funding.

Am very uncomfortable with this Dizzy KS - the 350k(GBP) amount was much higher than would be perceived to be needed. There are also concerns that some of these game KS project from known names are also being used as 'land-grab' projects, retaining ownership of IP usage, even if the KS fails.

Update: interesting article KS needs for change:

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 14th December 2012 8:44pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
Could a factor be that the Kickstarter crowd has shown little interest in iOS games. There was the recent baseball project where the guy asking for money concluded the same thing.
It doesn't matter if it is PC too, if people think it is going to be adapted to be playable on a touchscreen.
I could be wrong, influenced by my own inclinations, but it seems they could have asked for just the money they needed to make a PC game, then if successful used profits to make an iOS port (or semi port designed to the platform strengths). Also, iOS is not a selling point to anyone with Android or Windows devices.
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Steve Nicholls Programmer 9 years ago
I think the 350,000 they were asking that caused the problem... what a complete joke. 350k to create a platformer? what the heck were they going to do? just lounge around on holidays for most of the dev time... seriously this is the stupidest kickstarter I have seen yet.

350k is complete BS and a money grab. Shameful. Kickstarter should add a requirement of breaking down the cost and showing us exactly what you are paying for and importantly how much you are paying yourselves. Not just xx gets you this xy gets you that.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Steve Nicholls on 14th December 2012 9:58pm

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Peter Ohlmann Technical Director 9 years ago
It's interesting to see that all the current Kickstarter campaigns of so called Veteran Developer seem to faild. Elite Dangerous and GODUS don't seem to make their goals either.
Maybe the Kickstarter fatigue is more than an urban legend...
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd9 years ago
It's impossible to tell how the public will react to even the most carefully planned crowd-funding pitch, of course, but the Dizzy Returns one seemed like it was based on a slightly simplistic view of how Kickstarter functions. (Basically, nostalgia = $$$.)

I don't think that a lack of gameplay footage was the only thing holding it back - many other campaigns have succeeded (or are well on their way) with only concept art and 'target renders' to show.

I think a more significant issue was that it left so many questions unanswered. Elite Dangerous, Godus, Star Citizen, DFA, Broken Sword, etc. can all point to modern games that exist in the same genre template as their inspirations. The Dizzy games belonged to a long-defunct genre of "arcade adventures" that didn't survive into the 16-bit console era and beyond. So Blitz needed to explain in detail what kind of game they were going to make instead, and why they had the chops to do it.

The next question was who was the game aimed at? Cartoon-loving kids like the various mascot platformers? Everyone, like Mario? Retro heads and adventure gamers? From a quick scan through the backers a large proportion seemed to be middle aged males of a technical bent. How closely do their desires match up to the PC downloadable audience, or the mobile/tablet audience (both of which have very different expectations)?

Then there was the question of why the planned game seemed to run counter to established successful practices (and what consumers have shown they'll support) on those platforms. I can't think of many iOS games with huge, uniquely illustrated worlds and lengthy console-like stories requiring vast amounts of assets (which were apparently to be created in-house - what would a budget conscious publisher have made of that?).

Why would an IP virtually unknown outside of the UK (and barely known among the under-30s here) justify a development budget that would put it in the top 5% of iOS and PC downloadable games? I don't think every game should necessarily launch with a minimum viable product but promising a game 'ten times longer than the old Dizzy games' felt like something you'd read on the back of a boxed PC game, back when those were still flourishing.

Considering the relatively weak commercial performance of Deus Ex (in spite of universal critical acclaim) managed to kill cyberpunk-themed games in the eyes of publishers for over a decade, I somehow expect all that the "heat around the Dizzy brand" generated by a failed iOS remake followed by an imploding Kickstarter is going to do is consign this egg to the bin.
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@Peter, you raise an interesting point - so I went away to check on the KS status on those projects:
- GODUS - 67% raised with 2-days-to-go
- ELITE - 58% raised with 20-days-to-go
Not looking good!

(NOTE - There are three partnered projects to ELITE that also seem to be suffering - tarred by the same brush!)

Reading some of the comments, there seems to have been a backlash against AAA titles looking for KS funding, especially from executives with means and do not offer full project disclosure.

I can understand why the 22Cans team members were so hard on those commenting about their boss, seems he has saddled them with some big problems linked to a personality clash!

Begs the question - with KS excluded to the AAA-developers, how will they raise funding for projects now the investors are baling?
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Sam Spain Studying computer Science (Games Development), The University of Hull9 years ago
They were asking for way too much money with this. If people want to be indie through Kickstarter they should know they have to start small and show what they can do.
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Its like a crack addict asking for money, they think they can handle it and still produce good work, but their dependency on large sums of money, linked to publicity, means its a spiral of failure working outside of their comfort zone.

A lot will be made on the failure of these two KS games - along with the news of the failure to raise donations for the other 22Cans app game project!

All we really wanted was transparency on where the money was to go and why the need for so much - also I wanted to know the reason why certain publishers that had been approached turned down these games and they had had to go to KS? (was it true the ex-Telecomsoft team were to have been paid a royalty?)

The proposed new KS rules will force all this kind of thing to the surface on future projects, and will be another reason why certain celebrity-executives will have to avoid KS.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
The projects mentioned that are failing are also all UK KS projects. Kickstarter UK is very new, we haven't had a Double Fije Adventure moment yet, and it may be worth investigating if US backers are reluctant to fund projects in pounds, or if the fact you have to register your card direct because UK projects don't allow Amazon payments, makes any difference.
It can't help that Elite followed Star Citizen's more complete pitch (just like Loot Drop following Project Eternity with a project that started without even a name beyond "Old School RPG"), or that PM isn't the most believed guy in the industry.

How many backers are in the UK, how many non UK backers fund UK projects? What is the maximum amount of UK backing given to a US project? These are questions that may be worth asking before setting targets, along with "has any high budget mobile Kickstarter met its goal?"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 15th December 2012 5:37am

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Transparent KS would be the best way forward.

A structural breakdown of costs:
- Wages (exact allocation for staff only working on the KS project)
- Animation cost
- Voice acting?
- Art assets

Whereas ongoing costs such as corporation tax, taxation, other staff, rent, electricity bills, heating ,water - these should not be covered by KS (eg. established developers may defray their existing costs via KS)
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development9 years ago
I think no developers, large or small, should factor in the cost of wages. This is whole gig is not about just funding dev teams, it's about giving small devs with big ideas a leg up to get a project done. In return for their donations, backers are not expecting the guy recieving the money to spend it on his mortgage payments, even though we all know he has to live somehow.

You have to be seen to be giving something up in return for help from members of the public. That means that if you're a millionaire industry name, you have zero credibility - use your own bloody money if the project is viable and important to you.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
If someone is working full time on a project, and therefore not working on something else, I would expect wages to be counted as part of the funding, and when I back a project from a studio, I understand that is a part, I would assume most backers see that. Anyone who thinks it should just be a leg up to tiny developers has the option not to back established studios. But certainly I don't want my cash diverted to other projects, or tax from other projects or throwing a party for the press for a launch of their other game. So a breakdown of costs (rough certainly, but which they expect to try and stick closely to) is a good start.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Hmmm. I guess Dizzy wasn't tickling the same parts as the recently ended (and funded) Pier Solar Kickstarter. There's the case of a not even licensed all-new Mega Drive game (an anime style JRPG in multiple languages) put out (in multiple editions at that) on a cartridge for a long dead console, selling out each time. They just funded an HD remake for Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Linux & Sega Dreamcast (whaaaat!) and got further into their goal to fund a Wii U version. Not bad at all for such a niche game...
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And that us the secret perhaps. Ticking the boxes that the consumer wants
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Shane Sweeney Academic 9 years ago
I grew up idolizing the Oliver Twins, they inspired me to get into programming. I was happy to see Dizzy have an (attempted) rebirth, they have been trying for many years to get this project funded via lots of different avenues.

I am quite sad to see this not happen.
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It can be funded. internally
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@Shane, thank you for that observation - I am interested to know how many years and how they had attempted to fund this project? Some sources questioned the way they presented their proposal, and the amount they wanted - also there was a question about the true ownership of the Dizzy property following the last attempt at a IOS version of the game?

@Chee, the whole question of internal funding was shot down by a number of these new KS projects - even those executives with the capital claim they want to only go down a cloud sourced funding route to ensure player support! In other words its taken them so long to make their money they will not spend it on a risk no matter how much they hype it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 16th December 2012 2:14pm

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@ Kevin - thats a interesting comment. Sure, we want to all risk proof, bomb proof our lines of work and maybe, its is just a bit contrary to the spirit of KS
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@Chee, agree, if we over do the proof'ing then its sterile - but there is that need to consider the bigger issue that we need to defend against the gold mining that some will try on.

All this said, we have an issue where four respected industry veterans have been seen to float a project built on bad planning and sketchy proposals. Makes me wonder the people that our media are holding up for veneration?
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Shane Sweeney Academic 9 years ago
I remember back in 2005 when I was quite active on Wikipedia I remember doing research for the Dizzy section and created a section titled Dizzy 9;

Some text from it.
"This is an old revision of this page, as edited by UnlimitedAccess (talk | contribs) at 22:37, 25 August 2005"
===Dizzy 9===
"The Oliver twins and Codemasters who both own 50% of the intellectual property have expressed interest in resurrecting the series, however the twins concede;
... if he were ever to make another appearance it would have to be something special ... he would have to compete with the likes of Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank - and those types of games require big budgets and many months of development. If there's a publisher willing to commit to that kind of investment, though, then they can definitely count us in.

The Oliver twins's software company, Blitz Games (with the permission of Codemasters) have experimented with their artists what the Dizzy series would look and feel like if revisisted and produced a one minute video clip with an online petition to see if their was consumer interest. As of 2005, the online petition has gone down.

The creators have also expressed interst in re-releasing the existing titles to handheld platforms such as Mobile phones."
The source I had at the time was;
GAMES, No. 27, pp. 104-109

I can only assume they had been shopping around the 1 minute clip and petition to investors to highlight the consumer interest. This was from 2003-2005 at least.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 19th December 2012 7:20am

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