American McGee Defends Akaneiro Kickstarter

American McGee Defends Akaneiro Kickstarter

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American McGee says Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is 100 percent complete, but he needs money from Kickstarter to finish it.

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, the free-to-play action-RPG from Spicy Horse, is just about ready to go. Alas, the studio ran out of money, at least according to its original Kickstarter pitch, and it needs $200,000 "to finish what we've started."

But it turns out that McGee wasn't very happy with the coverage, or with the idea of the world thinking that Spicy Horse was broke. "The game is 100% finished," he said in an email to Kotaku. "The company is not out of money. The project was completed on time, on budget and will be shipped this month."

So if the game is 100 percent finished, why the need for Kickstarter money? "When the Akaneiro team says they are 'out of money/time' it just means they came to the natural end of their development cycle on that project," he explained. "The KS campaign would allow them to extend that-something we'd ask a publisher to consider were we funded that way. We're not, so we ask the audience instead."

"What's been achieved both artistically and mechanically is fantastic... but it's just not enough to call the game complete, to satisfy our fans or ourselves. THIS is the main idea. We're not satisfied. We'd like to take the game further and make it better," he continued. "As we are not publisher funded, and because we can't afford to continue development indefinitely, we're asking the audience - we're giving them a chance to decide whether or not these additional features sound worthwhile. Whatever the response, the game will launch this month (January 2013) in a state that is 'final' per our existing internal schedule and budget."

The Akaneiro Kickstarter page has since been modified to remove the line about being out of time and money, but it still states that "we feel some key features are missing." So is it 100 percent done or not? I'm leaning toward "maybe," with a slight bias toward "yes." Unless it's "no." In other words, I have no idea.

Source: Kotaku

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Free-to-play? ARPG? How come I never heard of this?

I never played ARPGs until recently when I picked up Torchlight 1 & 2, and I loved it. So yeah, free-to-play or not, count me in.

Oh yeah, I should probably comment on the news too. Um, it makes me pretty confused too, is the core game ready, but they want to add more features? Isn't this too late in it's development cycle to implement new features? Need I remind you what happenned last time developers wanted to shove a ton of features in their game late on the development cycle?

Perhaps the money is needed for distribution? Having a complete game is one thing, but it still costs money to ship, either digital or physical.

If it's finished and shipping out by the end of the month with or without the kickstarter...then what's the kickstarter for?

What am I missing here?

Sounds like they want some time to polish the game to me. It's a not widely enough known fact that those big numbers you see touted as game budgets are essentially the combined salaries of everybody who worked on the game. They've gone through the money they had for the time period they planned on making the game in, but now they want to polish it a bit, and they need money to put food on the table if they're going to do that instead of just pushing it out the door and hoping they make money from it in its current state. It's basically "let us hold it back and polish it" vs. "let's shove it out the door and patch it later."

Well it had better not be on Disk DLC, that's all I'm saying.

It sounds to me like they reached the state they wanted it to be in when they started the project, but they've changed their plan/thought of some new stuff, and they want the ability to extend things out to meet their new goal. It could launch now and be fine, but they want to make it into something just a bit more.

Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

Bostur:
Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

That's basically what I was thinking.

Free to Play games tend to rather benefit from having large features added later they can use to show off how busy and caring the design team is. I would think if you have a finished product already, you release so you can start building an audience while you continue adding new bits and polishing old ones.

Bostur:
Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

I suspect its more like the people that Spicy Horse owe money have to started to ask questions about them being out of money. If you were renting someone office space who publicly stated that they where out of money, I bet you would be on the phone in 30 seconds flat.

This KS smelled like a rat when it first raised it's head. Now we know for sure. Companies are starting to use KS like a customer funded commercial and lies about the project to rope in a customer base who think they are helping to create something.

Maybe the game is 100% complete, but they need extra money to license the DRM. Totally a worthy cause.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt it sounds like they have the base game finished and they want more money so they can keep paying the team to add more content, polish etc.

Falterfire:

Bostur:
Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

That's basically what I was thinking.

Free to Play games tend to rather benefit from having large features added later they can use to show off how busy and caring the design team is. I would think if you have a finished product already, you release so you can start building an audience while you continue adding new bits and polishing old ones.

This is what I was thinking too. What gets me is they say it's the end of their dev cycle for the game. The dev cycle for a f2p game is usually never really done. Either way, I feel kickstarter is to help projects that need a bit of a jump start or a bit of help finishing. This requires neither so I won't be participating.

Plus I can't say I have confidence in American MacGee and Spicy Horse. I remember one pretty alright game that he made (the original Alice) and that's about it. It's not like having Chris Avellone attached to a project, someone who regularly turns out some damn good work.

We just launched the game into Open Beta. Thought you all might like to take it for a spin and form opinions based on the actual product:

http://spicyworld.spicyhorse.com/world/game-akaneiro.html

As for some of the more interesting conspiracy theories floating around here and the rest of the Internet. Not sure what good it would do to tell you that we feel happy and fine here. To quote my favorite Monty Python movie, "I'm not dead yet."

Life as an indie developer does mean a lot of close brushes with death. And Spicy hasn't been spared. We've had some pretty terrifying moments. This isn't one of them. But feel free to check my pulse again towards the end of 2013. If we can't figure out this F2P thing, then you can bring the dead cart 'round again.

If you're interested in why we're asking the audience to support the Kickstarter, you could check out the page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spicyhorse/akaneiro-demon-hunters

Bottom line, we can use Kickstarter to accelerate development that would otherwise happen at a more organic pace. Being a small dev team, we need to move resources off Akaneiro to new projects - unless we can scrounge up some extra change to fund a longer timeline. If the campaign fails, it's not the end of the world - it just means things like a Linux port of the game take a backseat to creation of new titles.

Anyway, take a look. Hope you like what you see.

The end user shouldn't have to pay for McGee's fricken feature creep.

Release the damn game, if it makes money then develop things further. Kickstarter is there to allow developers the chance to develop a game that other people want to see made, it's not there to fund people making their game a little bit better.
There are already some great kicksarts that are struggling to meet their goal, things like this detrements the whole system, McGee should be ashamed of himself.

albino boo:

Bostur:
Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

I suspect its more like the people that Spicy Horse owe money have to started to ask questions about them being out of money. If you were renting someone office space who publicly stated that they where out of money, I bet you would be on the phone in 30 seconds flat.

True, but if they have a complete, read-to-ship product, why go through Kickstarter?
That kinda sounds like a business loan situation to me, not crowd-funding

Zombie_Moogle:

albino boo:

Bostur:
Feels fishy.

They are ready to launch. They have a monetization plan ready, consisting of selling in-game currency. And they still ask for money through kickstarter to polish the game. If they feel the game needs more polish they should fund that through the income they get from launching it. No matter how it's worded the kickstarter campaign will end up as more profit (or less loss) for the original investors.

I suspect its more like the people that Spicy Horse owe money have to started to ask questions about them being out of money. If you were renting someone office space who publicly stated that they where out of money, I bet you would be on the phone in 30 seconds flat.

True, but if they have a complete, read-to-ship product, why go through Kickstarter?
That kinda sounds like a business loan situation to me, not crowd-funding

If you take out a business loan you have to repay the money with interest, with a kickstarter you don't. Obfuscate the truth a bit and get free money.

albino boo:

Zombie_Moogle:

albino boo:

I suspect its more like the people that Spicy Horse owe money have to started to ask questions about them being out of money. If you were renting someone office space who publicly stated that they where out of money, I bet you would be on the phone in 30 seconds flat.

True, but if they have a complete, read-to-ship product, why go through Kickstarter?
That kinda sounds like a business loan situation to me, not crowd-funding

If you take out a business loan you have to repay the money with interest, with a kickstarter you don't. Obfuscate the truth a bit and get free money.

Point taken, which brings us back to the original statement of this thread: "Feels Fishy"

Even if it was a case of avoiding interest on a business loan (I don't think it is), what would be the problem with it? They're indie too, something that most seem to have overlooked here. Perhaps it's the "big" name tied to them?

Regardless of he above I'd not heard of this game before and it looks pretty fantastic, really digging the art direction. Is that actually McGee responding to the thread too or an interweb lackey? :P

Doddgy reasons for what the money is actually needed... ya I would stay away from this one.

Iunno, sounds to me like they budgeted hard and had to say no to a lot of things that otherwise would've gone into the game. Rather than being irresponsible and winding up *really* being out of time and money by trying to incorporate those things, they're going for option two: hoping others are as giddy about the cool ideas they couldn't implement. Shit gets canceled out of video games all the time because of a lack of tech, or man-hours, or money. Not surprising to me that some devs are going to try to make it happen anyways.

It's not a precedent I'd like to see set, however. It can become one of those things where some devs might put more time into glossing up the very core of the game because they're willing to cross their fingers that they'll then get people to donate for the cool things that should have been in there to start with. But I will hope that this'll be the exception rather than the rule, and most devs aren't willing to risk not being able to put in everything they want to.

Or, this was a calculated move from the get go. Whatevs.

GoaThief:
Even if it was a case of avoiding interest on a business loan (I don't think it is), what would be the problem with it? They're indie too, something that most seem to have overlooked here. Perhaps it's the "big" name tied to them?

Regardless of he above I'd not heard of this game before and it looks pretty fantastic, really digging the art direction. Is that actually McGee responding to the thread too or an interweb lackey? :P

Yes, it is actually me. I frequent this site, mainly to watch Fully Ramblotic, but also to defend myself again accusations of being "fishy" or a shill for the Chinese government. The Internet is filled with suspicious and creative theorists. If I took the time to fight them everywhere... well, I'd be dead. So I'll take a moment to respond here. For what it's worth... which based on the last time I tried on this site, isn't much.

In any case, some interesting theories put forward here. I realize that a lot of the suspicion was driven by our Kickstarter wording, which is my fault. For some reason I thought we could adopt a friendly, conversational tone when addressing our audience. Obviously not a good idea.

Like I said before, we're not out of money. And we don't have investors knocking down our doors looking for repayment. But it doesn't matter much does it? The problem with the sort of reporting that set off this whole firestorm (I'm looking at you Kotaku) is that it's nearly impossible to defend against. Once the accusations are made, the damage is done. Anything I say to defend myself, this studio or our projects will be interpreted as evidence that something's "fishy."

On the bright side, Kotaku (yeah, I'm blaming them) traffic is the #1 highest source of Kickstarter funding from an outside source. So, like they say, no press is bad press.

I'd be happy to answer any direct insults, accusations, etc.

Andy Chalk:

The Akaneiro Kickstarter page has since been modified to remove the line about being out of time and money, but it still states that "we feel some key features are missing." So is it 100 percent done or not? I'm leaning toward "maybe," with a slight bias toward "yes." Unless it's "no." In other words, I have no idea.

Mr Chalk, i am sorry to tell you that i have to push you hard towards the no side and perhaps choke you into unconsciousness so you stay on the no side.

there is a beta access available now
http://spicyworld.spicyhorse.com/world/game-akaneiro.html
and you can play the beta in your browser.

and i cant clarify why you should lay unconscious on the no side due a promise not to review it.
but i would be much ablidged if you could "look into it"

no need to worry, i will position you into the lateral recumbent position so you can wake up relatively safetly
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