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.
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.