Free Game Given to Backers of Failed Yogscast Game Kickstarter Instead of Refunds

Winterkewl Games was developing the project from popular YouTube channel Yogscast and has been shut down following the cancellation.

In one of the most high-profile Kickstarter failures, Yogventures, the game from the minds of popular YouTube channel Yogscast, has been canceled today because of a lack of funds. Although the Kickstarter campaign made its goal, developer Winterkewl Games did not have enough money to keep the project alive. Winterkewl will shut down following the cancelation.

Yogscast is one of YouTube's top channels with over 7 million subscribers, and it produces Minecraft and multiplayer game videos. Yogventures was an open-world sandbox crafting and building game for the PC inspired by Minecraft and designed to be "the ultimate modder's game where even the rules of winning and losing can be tweaked." It featured characters designed by Yogscast members. In May 2012, the Yogventures Kickstarter ended with a total of $567,000 pledged, more than double the goal of $250,000. Winterkewl released a closed beta in August 2013.

Yogventures was fully funded in May 2012.

In an email to its Kickstarter backers, Yogscast explained that the collapse of the project resulted from the team's lack of experience and limited funds. Lewis Brindley, co-founder of Yogscast, also said that the backers would be better off now because the game wasn't nearly up to the level of quality expected: "As you may have heard, Winterkewl Games have stopped work on Yogventures--but this is actually a good thing as the project was proving too ambitious and difficult for them to complete with their six-man team."

Brindley continues, saying that Yogscast is working hard to reimburse the backers with other rewards and a code for a different game, TUG. "While this was Winterkewl's project," he said, "we put a lot of time, energy and effort into trying to help them realize their dream. Since we heard the news, we've been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that you still get awesome stuff and cool experiences."

"In many ways TUG is the game we were hoping Winterkewl would create. It has huge potential for the future. We've been playing the Early Access version on Steam and you'll soon be able to see us playing the game on Yogscast channels."

Although backers were frustrated because Yogscast wasn't offering refunds, the group is well within the rules set in place by Kickstarter. "Although we're under no obligation to do anything," Brindley explained, "instead we're going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad you backed the project!"

In fact, in a statement to Eurogamer, Yogscast announced that it's going even further and will attempt to, in a sense, merge TUG with Yogventures by giving TUG developer Nerd Kingdom all of the canceled game's assets. "In addition, we have organized for Nerd Kingdom to have the source code, assets and designs of Yogventures to ensure we're making best use of Winterkewl's work," the group stated.

"Although we're under no obligation to do anything, instead we're going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad you backed the project!"

Winterkewl Games was composed of six people, and it was unable to keep up with development benchmarks. In a post last month on the developer's private forums, lead developer Kris Vale said, "Working on Yogventures was an amazing experience and everyone at Winterkewl Games really wanted to achieve the very lofty goals the game set out to do, but lack of experience in planning and managing a project of this scope proved too much for our little team."

It's an unfortunate situation for Yogscast, the Winterkewl team, and the backers. The developers were forced to spend thousands of dollars from their own personal accounts to keep the game alive. Thankfully, it seems that Yogscast is working to make good on some of their promises.

Alex Newhouse is an editorial intern at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @alexbnewhouse
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Want the latest news about Yogventures?

Yogventures

Yogventures

Follow

Discussion

126 comments
saturatedbutter
saturatedbutter

Danny's video on this is great and raises a good point (no pun intended). Where did all that money go? Very few devs, the game wasn't of any high production. Did Yogscast take a chunk of it off the top for sponsoring the project?

therealzorvan
therealzorvan

"Hey, we're not going to make the game you gave us money for, but here! Have this game that you'd probably already own if you actually wanted it and forget that we basically stole your money and had a good time."



I will applaud when Kickstarter no longer allows any sort of gaming projects. Too many scammers and failed has-been developers trying to take everybodys money.

Magallanes2005
Magallanes2005

Yogcast : or are they involved in not quite ethical business (YogDiscovery) and now they are involved with a shady partner.

Since the beta exists then i don't know why they are dropping the project. May be it is time do reveal those NSA and expenses involved in this project.


Sleepyz
Sleepyz

That's games today. People with too much cash are paying to get games started or buying games that are years from being done. Lack of patience and too much money = Scammers a plenty.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

That's what you get funding people with NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER in game development.

Jebril
Jebril

These guys had more than double the amount they originally wanted and still failed. You would think when a developer has 200+% more money than it originally wanted for a game it surely wouldn't fail at it or run out of money right? 


Kickstarter simply put is a scam, Early Access can be a scam and both should be given money very cautiously. I'm pretty sure this Yogcast guy lost a lot of fans and subs on Youtube for this bull.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

And so the KickStarter scams begin! It was simply bound to happen.

death4us2
death4us2

I see 6 people excited about all the money they got and started spending it on stuff other than on the project then finding they spent to much to be able to complete the game. Then saying it was to ambitious and not enough money to do the game. For those who donated money I hope they are happy that they helped those 6 people by themselves new PCs,TVs, and other stuff. Yogscast has a lot to blame for this because they threw there name behind the project without even knowing the skill level or the ability of Winterkewl to be able to finish the game. So without them I doubt much money would have been raised for this game. Before someone tries to counter my comment this is what a lot of people are thinking and there is no proof of this but its the most logical way of looking at it. As for me thank goodness I didn't invest in this game lol.

jeremyc99999
jeremyc99999

Yogscast may not be under obligation to do anything, but WinterKewl is. Here is the last line from a similar article on PC Gamer. 


"For fans now looking for a refund Yogscast suggest contacting Winterkewl Games."

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

So instead of a YOG they get a TUG for their $?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

At least they are spending sh*t out of their pockets and the assets which had been made would not be binned - otherwise this would have been a hell lot more scandalous.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

That's the risk of KS. You aren't buying a game, you are backing its development. This is the first I've heard of this project, but it seems to me that an ambitious project, relatively modest budget and inexperienced team is a recipe for failure.


I don't see how 250,000  was ever going to be enough to develop that game, not even 500,000. Maybe 1 million.



deadpen
deadpen

Ha Ha Ha that was a huge middle finger wasn't it. I  say over half of those who gave will not do that again.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Never heard of it, or the YouTube channel.

80sgamerftw
80sgamerftw

This is why I'll never invest my hard earned money on Kickstater and Early-access. Sucker born every minute. (They pay for the equivalent of an angus cheeseburger, but let's just give them a slice of bread and walk away.)

Snowx1
Snowx1

This article explains exactly why I have yet to put any money towards a kick-starter. You hear about ones like this where they meet the funding goal and still fail to produce the product that was guaranteed. You instead end up with greedy slime-balls that wanted to make a quick dollar. I will say that in a way, yes it is the backers fault for putting money towards something blindly and probably not doing any research on the company or people behind the kick-starter.


I still believe that this type of stuff should not be allowed with kick-starter. There should be a clear definition on the rules and obligations of the person starting the kick-starter and the people buying into it. The person that starts the kick-starter should be obligated to fulfill their contract and if not they should have to offer a money refund, not a oh lets give them a $30 or so game that nobody that backed the project wanted to begin with and call it even. Pretty much a cheap cop out.


I mean even this guy's comment with the:"Although we're under no obligation to do anything," stinks of the ha ha you got screwed while I laugh my way to the bank attitude. I just think people need to smarten up with their money before blindly tossing it away.


On that end, there have been some great kick-starters I have witnessed like: Divinity Original Sin, The Pillar of Eternity seems to be headed by decent folks as well. There are a few others too that come to mind. The problem is these good kick-starters headed up by people that generally want to make good games and have passion for their art get a bad name due to starters like mentioned in the article and just want to use it as a get rich quick scheme.

madjack1812
madjack1812

There are a lot of comments around how there's a legal obligation for Kickstarter projects, but the actual conditions leave a lot of wiggle room.  First off, it's only the creator of the campaign which is required to give refunds and seeing as Winterkewl games ceased to exist, there isn't anyone to give the refunds in the first place.  Even if it was, the terms says "refund", which many would take to mean "full cash refund", but that's not what it actually says.  Yogcast put out a statement (it's on Eurogamer) saying that all physical rewards should've already been sent and that they're working with TUG to give in-game rewards of equivalent value to what was promised.


Golden rule with crowdfunding - if you're not comfortable with never seeing anything in return for your money, don't put it in.  Got to think of it as a donation towards a project you like the look of, rather than some sort of pre-purchase.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

No surprise that they're not doing refunds.  First off, the money is probably already gone.  Second, it's pretty clear when you're pledging on Kickstarter that you're taking a risk.  I believe the "Risks and Challenges" section is a required field on every campaign page.


It certainly sucks for the backers (possibly more-so for the developers), but the ones who think they can sue or solicit Kickstarter for a refund don't really understand how crowdfunding works.

Pewbert
Pewbert

"Although we're under no obligation to do anything," - wow saying that was a bit of a slap in the face. It's basically telling all the backers not to make a fuss because they don't have a leg to stand on, and Yogscast know it. Putting the smackdown on people who are already out of pocket because of this farce. 

Nasty people.

fede018
fede018

they are gonna pocket 400k and spend the rest in a cheap "compensation"
That anyone can get away with a "oh, well, sh.t happens" is ridiculous

FamilySize
FamilySize

@saturatedbutter They shared it with eachother and ran with it. This much is the most obvious...

Too ambitious? Too big of scale? It was a Minecraft clone for fucks sakes. I highly doubt Notch used even 10K to make the original Minecraft -_-

saturatedbutter
saturatedbutter

I wouldn't be surprised if some of that cash went to the developers of TUG, who are giving copies of their game to the Yogventures backers.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Jebril You call them a developer but they weren't.  They were just people who wanted to make a game, with no skills or experience at it.

Pandajuicy
Pandajuicy

@Jebril Kickstarter isn't a scam, but you have to be careful with your money and who you entrust it to. Kickstarter itself is just a platform for normal people to invest in certain projects. Sometimes those projects fall through and investors lose their money. That's not Kickstarter's fault.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Ripper_TV A scam means they intentionally took the money with no intention of producing a result.  Looks like they simply failed instead.  That's not a scam.  Incompetence is not a scam.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@AyatollaofRnR I don't see how it took even 100k... It uses Unity which means if they were half way competent developers the Engine would have been set up in no time... Obviously they weren't, there experienced art team was clearly over priced and again incompetent.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@AyatollaofRnR 

At least they realized that they had underestimated the costs.

Only the inexperienced would not know that development costs are incredibly circumstantial things.

zeek_fox
zeek_fox

@Snowx1 Here's the problem with forcing a refund policy- if a company just has $567,000 just laying around to spend on a game, why would they ask for $250K in funding to begin with?  When you're investing in a project, the recipients aren't just going to hold your money in a nice little stack and do nothing with it while they wait to see if their game actually goes somewhere or whether they need to send it back to you.  The whole purpose of investing is that someone who needs money for their potentially profitable plan will spend it.


So you can't really ask for a refund for your money, because they don't (or shouldn't) have it anymore.  That's just how investing goes, really.

hystavito
hystavito

@Snowx1 Of course it sucks when a KS can't complete and backers get screwed, but having a legal obligation for refunds wouldn't work for many, perhaps most KS projects.  If they did that, then it would eliminate lots of potential projects because they would have to have the resources in place to cover a possible failure, insurance, their own money, whatever.  If someone really needs the money to work on their project, then it's not likely they would have the means to guarantee refunds.  Basically it would kill the much of the point of Kickstarter.

death4us2
death4us2

@madjack1812 Reading what you said is that the people of WInterkewl games took the money and ran leaving Yogcast stuck with the mess. Also all these problems could've been avoided if Yogcast paid for the development instead using their reputation to get people to help the kickstarter but they didn't meaning they weren't sure they could pull it off.  I personally think the whole kickstarter thing should be deemed illegal and developers pay with their own money to make games.

dwarfjuggler
dwarfjuggler

@madjack1812 Amazingly people don't understand this mentality at all... Rather they're quick to call it a deceitful scam to steal your money instead of realizing that not every project is able to be produced. Even more so if the development team is not up to par. It's a gamble and a show of support for the development. If it doesn't go through then you're out money, if it does then you helped. That's it. If you're investing thousands and feeling robbed, hire a financial investor because you're not using your money wisely.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@chibi-acer 

Kickstarting is not crowdfunding. That's probably why most devs on Kickstarter think it's okay to ask for more and more money after the project has been successfully "funded." People like Roberts and Schafer. Don't get me wrong, their games might be good, but you're not buying the game (no, that's a bonus), you are supporting a project with your money, helping the developers kickstart a game. Risky? Yeah, that's still a thing.

dwarfjuggler
dwarfjuggler

@Pewbert Quote mine more... They're under no obligations to do anything, but are still trying to make amends. Yogscast itself weren't the developers. But rather the core idea and mentality with the game was around the Yogscast folks. It simply didn't pan through as they planned. As with any business venture there will be hundreds of others that fail around you. If you suspect everything on kickstarter is going to succeed simply if you throw money at it, you're not living in reality.


Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@fede018 How are they pocketing anything when the project failed because they ran out of money?

CoolCamel616
CoolCamel616

@Gelugon_baat @AyatollaofRnR "At least they realized that they had underestimated the costs."

They didn't realize it all, they asked for money while hilariously overselling their own ability to deliver. People who don't even know how to code and know nothing about making or developing any sort of product for end users tried to make an extremely over ambitious game and predictably wound up way over their heads. 

It took them two years and 500 thousand dollars to realize none of their ideas were even remotely realistic for their team's experience or budget, something which should have been obvious before they even started. After two years, they tell people that they have no game for them despite having been given twice the amount they asked for, but "this is actually a good thing", as the game was too ambitious for their team to begin with (wow, too bad the didn't consider whether they could actually implement any of their features before slapping them on to that wishlist they called a game).

As a counter point though, no one who is old enough to have their own credit or debit card can complain about losing their money when the game's kickstarter looks like something a group of 13 year olds put together after having an "imagine your dream game" conversation. Not once in the entire thing does it address whether they can actually do any of the things they are promising, and the "dream team" consists of a small indie dev group with exactly 0 games under their belt. Their FAQ perfectly shows how inexperienced they are, with comically inept priorities on full display. These guys were talking about prices points, Youtube rights, and game modes for something before they even planned out the most basic aspects of the gameplay, not to mention making a proof of concept or something actually playable. How they came up with a release schedule for a game before anything resembling an legitimate project outline is a mystery as well. I can only assume it was either some form of witchcraft, or a willful ignorance of any of the work or planning that making a video game of that scope would require.

Cleave83
Cleave83

@hystavito @Snowx1 From the Kickstarter FAQ:


Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) This information can serve as a basis for legal recourse if a creator doesn't fulfill their promises. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@xsonicchaos @chibi-acer Kickstarting is definitely crowdfunding.   Look up the definition.  Kickstarter is even mentioned directly as a sub-section on wikipedia.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@dwarfjuggler @Pewbert Yea guy *sniff*, we're trying to make amends!  We're totally not to *sniff* blame here guy *sniiffffffff*!  If *sniiiiffff* we only had more *sniffffff* time and money *SNIFFFF SNIFFFF* we could buy more coke and hooke... err development!

death4us2
death4us2

@Thanatos2k @fede018  Is there accounting of what they spent the money on? The work they did and the money they got don't add up.

FamilySize
FamilySize

@dwarfjuggler That's really no excuse, there's no need for over-complication to give  an allure of mystification when it comes to game design. This isn't Art, this is a very simple, rudimentary sandbox game... 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Magallanes2005 @Thanatos2k If they ran out of money it means they were working on something until now.  Or are you seriously suggesting they lied about the entire thing?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoolCamel616 

I meant that they had realized it -now-. :/

I get the impression that you just took an opportunity to go on one long rant about Yogscast's failure.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Cleave83 @hystavito @Snowx1 The last line is extremely important.  If the creator made a good faith effort to complete the project and failed you have no recourse.  That's the nature of crowdfunding, and backers just have to accept that.

dwarfjuggler
dwarfjuggler

@FamilySize @dwarfjuggler And yet we see simple game designs attempted and failed time and time again every year. The only reason why this one is getting headlines is because it was branded by the yogscast.

The two games would be significantly different in engine, programming, and design methods to hinder a direct comparison as you were doing. If they were using Java and working on pretty much the same look and design with some added flair to make it their own, then sure you could make the comparison.

Snowx1
Snowx1

@Thanatos2k @Magallanes2005  My guess is they did not have an accountant keeping track of the funds. My guess is they also took a lot of the money that was supposed to go towards the project and blew it on whatever they desired.


I mean common sense tells me that even me, being a fairly honest mellow guy would do somewhat the same thing if I didn't hire an accountant to keep track of the funding. The world works on greed. There are a very few rare people who would not try and take advantage of the situation that was handed to them.


There is no proof that this is what happened but that would be my guess. The only proof would be to have the project brought up in court and shown how much progress has been made along with bills and money placement for everything.

hystavito
hystavito

@Thanatos2k @Cleave83 @hystavito @Snowx1 Well technically it says they "hope" so maybe they are obligated to refund.  The general advice in practice has always been that when you back something you have no legal recourse if you don't receive the promised reward.  Actually Danny very briefly mentioned the possible refund obligation
in The Point but it flashed on screen very quickly and he only said something like maybe they are required to refund.


Is this the first project to completely fail and actually announce officially they are not going to complete and also that they will not refund?  Or maybe it's the first of the larger projects?

I have seen some situations with small projects, someone who asked for maybe a few thousand dollars and the backers were saying they are way late and never going to follow through.  However in those cases the project person/people never came out and said sorry we're not gonna deliver.

I don't know of any legal action taken against any KS project, but I've always expected it would happen eventually, even though I didn't know mandatory refunds were part of the terms.