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Thursday, January 22, 2015

When Kickstarters Get Kicked In The Ass (Part 2)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Raise your hand if you're NOT surprised. *raises*

Gotta put my hand down so I can write the rest of this article.

...'kay, all set. So, Moneyhorse LLC's Kickstarter for Glorious Leader!, which we wrote about right after it started, has been CANCELED! For those who aren't aware, this is a Contra-like 16-bit game featuring a playable Kim Jong Un, North Korean dictator.

Glorious Leader Kickstarter canceled
This is the face of their Kickstarter page.

Yet, the entire history of us covering Glorious Leader! has been with a ton of doubt on whether or not the game would ever be done. The game idea got revived after its initial media glory, bolstered by the North Korea hacks on Sony.

So, why did they end the Kickstarter campaign, and what went wrong with it? Find out.

According to the Moneyhorse's mouth in a publicly available Kickstarter update on January 7 [sorry about being two weeks late over at KoopaTV but we had more important stuff that day],
"As many of you know, over the holidays we were victims of a hack inspired by the attack on Sony. The hackers destroyed data pertaining to Glorious Leader! and other projects we had in development and locked us out of our own computers and wesbite. The timing couldn't have been worse as it hampered our ability to attend to the Kickstarter project. We realize that we also made mistakes in our pledge levels and rewards. It is now evident that our funding goals will not be met, so we are cancelling our Kickstarter campaign.
This is not the first time we have been targeted because of Glorious Leader! Between the hacking and other threats, we think it is time to reevaluate our commitment to Glorious Leader! We thank our fans and supporters, and we are sorry to let you down."
This smells like a load of crap for two reasons. One, they already had their website hacked two weeks before that update. This is the "over the holidays" part. However, in the Christmas update where they talk about their site being hacked, they (apparently, falsely) stated they will continue forward and upgrade their security. And, of course, they clearly could attend to their Kickstarter project since they made more updates afterwards, such as new Kickstarter rewards.

The second reason is that, in their general comments section, on January 7, THE DAY THEY ENDED THE CAMPAIGN, Moneyhorse said,
"It's been about 2 weeks since we were hacked. We were able to recover all of our data and get our systems back under our control. But the delay prevented us from rolling out updates we wanted to do, and now there are only 8 days left in the campaign. We really need to reach some new potential backers now, so spread the word!"
While it is absolutely true that, in the last 8 days, it would have been extremely unlikely to obtain the last 69.5% of funding needed, Moneyhorse claimed it was still possible if people "spread the word!" More importantly, their systems went back under their control, but their website still is unavailable as of publishing.

Speaking of total lack of transparency, their Facebook and Twitter accounts, as of publishing, have not wrote anything concerning about the Kickstarter ending. This is... very expected given their past history, but if they bothered to update them with news that the Kickstarter opened, the least you could do is update that it's no longer a thing. On Facebook, you can see people posting to the company wall about the game not being available, but there aren't any replies from the page admin...

(Perhaps they got banned from Facebook just like we did and can't update?)

Their Steam page also hasn't been updated with the news, although the Steam users are more savvy as to what's going on. And they better be, since they went ahead and Greenlit the project!

Moneyhorse LLC Trojan Horse Steam comment Kickstarter scam Glorious Leader
I feel ashamed I never wrote that Trojan Horse bit on KoopaTV in all my opportunities to do so.
It's really obvious why this project went wrong. I think we can all safely assume that Moneyhorse LLC and their "veteran developers" never intended to complete Glorious Leader!, especially not with their Kickstarter that they put little effort into. Their best opportunity to make this game was back in May with all of the surrounding mainstream media hype, but as we are seeing time and time again, game development schedules are independent of what marketing wants. If you are going to be an opportunist with current events, you'll want something to show for it at the time of opportunism.

Or at least use Indiegogo so you can still get something when your campaign fails its goal with Flexible Funding! (Ripe for nice, delicious scams.)

I was secretly hoping this would become a real thing since Choice: Texas (another game with crowdfunding troubles and bad management) defied the odds (and got a review for its troubles), but guess not.

Ludwig still doesn't contribute to any Kickstarter campaigns. Or Patreon, or Indiegogo, or whatever. Maybe he should. If he ever does, he'll... disclose it!

For "Part 1" of this series on Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution, click here. They got scammed, too.
Part 3 of this series is on Mighty No. 9, which is a game you've all heard of. Boy, they screwed that up.
Part 4 of the series is on Yooka-Laylee, which you've also heard of.

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