Dark Matter Developer Blames Lack of Money For Lack of Ending

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Dark Matter Developer Blames Lack of Money For Lack of Ending

Dark Matter developer InterWave Studios says the game's abrupt "wall of text" ending, which has attracted a lot of attention on YouTube, is the fault of a failed Kickstarter and a blown budget.

About four hours into Dark Matter, a "2.5D side-scrolling survival horror game" that launched on Steam a few days ago, something surprising happens: it stops. Utterly without warning, it just comes to a halt; the character steps through a nondescript door and suddenly several lines of text appear on the screen, literally telling the player that they have reached the end of the game. It is bizarre, to say the least.

It turns out that there's a pretty good - or perhaps more accurately, simple - explanation for the sudden stop. "No, the full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldnt finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing)," developer "Viper" explained on the Steam forums. "So, we choose to go with a 6-8 hour game instead to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter."

InterWave ran a Dark Matter Kickstarter over the summer but only managed to raise 6,227 ($8523) of a 50,000 ($68,433) goal. So apparently, with no money remaining, the team decided to just throw up a stop sign and throw the game out on Steam - which, good intentions notwithstanding, turns out to be probably not the best move it could've made.

"Viper" clarified in a later post that a successful Kickstarter would have meant a longer game and expanded story, although it probably would have ended up costing more than $14.99. "The current Dark Matter on Steam is a complete game in itself though," he wrote. "There are many things to explore and many ways to go through and many things to discover. If people just run through it then yes it will be less then those 6 hours."

He added that the team plans to change the "to be continued" part of the closing message "to make sure this will be the end of the game as is in a clear msg to everyone."

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Nah, fuck those guys.

Fuck everything about them.

People often claim companies like EA and Activision sell incomplete games 'cause of the DLC.

THIS is selling an incomplete game.

Fuck them. Fuck their game. Fuck them blaming it on a failed Kickstarter.

Looked like it could be a good game, too. Such a shame.

... "Complete game" my ass...

"The current Dark Matter on Steam is a complete game in itself though"

How pretentious can these guys be?, don't just cover the fucking sun with a finger!, tell the truth!, say you fucked up!, as it is, what little interest I had in this game completely vanished, *poof*.

I think it's worse to have a bad rep for a fuck up you sugar coat than to completely tell the truth.

Also, we're not in the freaking 80's anymore, shit like this is just unacceptable. It doesn't even have groovy music, for crying out loud!.

They could easily have called it 'Ep 1' and charged $5-10 and gotten enough money to finish the game. Instead they pulled this scam. Screw 'em.

I get the feeling there will be some refunds requested in the near future. I saw the game the other day and considered buying it, but luckily I didn't (figured it would just be like Dead Space with a lower budget). This was a pretty dumb move by the developers, especially since they are claiming it is a complete game when it so obviously isn't with an ending like that. I hate the ending slide-shows from the Fallout games but at least you have a final battle/event before getting there, a wall of text seems like it would be a lot more frustrating.

Did it say anything along the lines of...
image
If so, fuck em and fuck their DLC. If not fuck em. It is obviously an incomplete game and instead of charging for an incomplete game and telling people it was incomplete they want to dress this shit up as complete! Fuck em.

People already complain that a game is "incomplete" if the devs sell pink armour as DLC. How on EARTH did they think they could get away with THIS?

Oh wow... and I thought EA and Capcom were the scumbags. This is isn't even vanilla Fallout 3 ending bad, this is just awful.
The worst part is there's probably people out there... defending this. How sad.

So why make the game if the Kickstarter failed? I thought the idea of Kickstarter was to gain the necessary funds and simultaneously gauge the demand for your product. Looks like these guys were too arrogant to consider that much.

Seriously now, you got the spot light to remedy this situation and you fucking lie to customers again... rest assured from now on everyone will be warned of your shitty conduct.

I don't quite get all the hate this now gets. sometimes a project is too ambitious, and while they could have worded it better, they still tried to sell their game anyways, in a desperate attempt to not have wasted all that time for nothing.
I agree on quite some points that were made as well, though, like how they should REALLY named it EP1 or something.
still, just screaming "fuck the game!!!" is pretty...I don't know, that's quite the poisonous reaction for a game that isn't that bad in itself and most haven't even played. And clearly all of us can sell our product and development decisions with utter perfection unlike them. I'm not even defending the guys here, I see how this is a last straw for the dev, so why oh why do they deserve all this utterly mindnumbing hate?
But then again, this is the internet, where any opinion that isn't written in allcaps is invalid anyways.

Rainforce:
I don't quite get all the hate this now gets. sometimes a project is too ambitious, and while they could have worded it better, they still tried to sell their game anyways, in a desperate attempt to not have wasted all that time for nothing.
I agree on quite some points that were made as well, though, like how they should REALLY named it EP1 or something.
still, just screaming "fuck the game!!!" is pretty...I don't know, that's quite the poisonous reaction for a game that isn't that bad in itself and most haven't even played. And clearly all of us can sell our product and development decisions with utter perfection unlike them. I'm not even defending the guys here, I see how this is a last straw for the dev, so why oh why do they deserve all this utterly mindnumbing hate?
But then again, this is the internet, where any opinion that isn't written in allcaps is invalid anyways.

Eh people who get shafted with a bait and switch tend to be angry, the developer took a gamble and lost and passed the buck to the consumer in a deceitful scam and only came clean when people called them out.

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have seen this level of hate if they had come clean while selling the game, screwing people makes them angry (and makes then talk in caps).

Thats messed up! To sit there telling people that they shouldnt be made becuase they got the full game is bullshit. I hope they enjoy whatever money they made, becuase the people they ripped off are lost customers.

I don't quite get all the hate this now gets.

Its simple really the people who spent their money where not informed that they where in fact buying an unfinished game!

Seriously, the dev fucked up bad here. That ending text is incredibly reminiscent of the text at the end of every episode of Doom, its just begging for the game to have been released as "episode 1" to hopefully raise enough money to continue the story. But instead the Dev had to go and say something that he really should have known would piss people off, and now any chance of seen more of what looks like a fairly well made game is going to burn away in a firestorm of forum warrior rage.

Rainforce:
I don't quite get all the hate this now gets. sometimes a project is too ambitious, and while they could have worded it better, they still tried to sell their game anyways, in a desperate attempt to not have wasted all that time for nothing.
I agree on quite some points that were made as well, though, like how they should REALLY named it EP1 or something.
still, just screaming "fuck the game!!!" is pretty...I don't know, that's quite the poisonous reaction for a game that isn't that bad in itself and most haven't even played. And clearly all of us can sell our product and development decisions with utter perfection unlike them. I'm not even defending the guys here, I see how this is a last straw for the dev, so why oh why do they deserve all this utterly mindnumbing hate?
But then again, this is the internet, where any opinion that isn't written in allcaps is invalid anyways.

This. Sometimes things don't go well. Sometimes you can't make games on a shoestring budget. Sometimes you need to make some sacrifices.

text endings? Lots of old games had those. Even worse when they made no fucking sense at all. text endings are valid as long as you aren't focusing on story. Many games in the 90s did it, and that was the age that people called the golden age of gaming.

In fact, in the 1990s XCOM it had a rushed ending that made no sense. A huge wall of text that had nothing to do with the "story" you followed. From a character JUST introduced. It was the 1990s version of the starchild. Yet the gameplay saved it. because endings aren't the game.

I remember Penumbra doing that shit, and that's from frictional games. 2 "episodes" before an ending.

I remember state of decay that had an ending come out of nowhere, and that's new. No closure there. Just some guy you never actually met or interacted with "sacrificing" himself. With badly written and monotone dialogue. An ending that just pops up after a minute long mission.

Yet in 2013, the ending is somehow 99% of the game. Honestly is the story that important? Must be since we stripped 99% of modern games of gameplay for "press B to progress."

Shitty ending? yes?

Does it have at least decent gameplay? yes?

then why are you complaining? games aren't the endings. If it was a bad game, complain for that. Complaining about endings is just childish if its not a story driven franchise.

If you buy a game, and had a good time with its gameplay. An ending shouldn't matter.

Ultratwinkie:

text endings? Lots of old games had those. Even worse when they made no fucking sense at all. text endings are valid as long as you aren't focusing on story. Many games in the 90s did it, and that was the age that people called the golden age of gaming.

In fact, in the 1990s XCOM it had a rushed ending that made no sense. A huge wall of text that had nothing to do with the "story" you followed. From a character JUST introduced. It was the 1990s version of the starchild. Yet the gameplay saved it. because endings aren't the game.

There is nothing wrong with text endings, but in this case the ending seems very abrupt. It's been a while since I completed X-Com, but I seem to remember...

That was not the most impressive ending ever, but it was a wrapup. It didn't end in the middle of a mission. Even by 1980s-1990s standards I would be disappointed by an ending like the one shown in the video.

Bostur:

Ultratwinkie:

text endings? Lots of old games had those. Even worse when they made no fucking sense at all. text endings are valid as long as you aren't focusing on story. Many games in the 90s did it, and that was the age that people called the golden age of gaming.

In fact, in the 1990s XCOM it had a rushed ending that made no sense. A huge wall of text that had nothing to do with the "story" you followed. From a character JUST introduced. It was the 1990s version of the starchild. Yet the gameplay saved it. because endings aren't the game.

There is nothing wrong with text endings, but in this case the ending seems very abrupt. It's been a while since I completed X-Com, but I seem to remember...

That was not the most impressive ending ever, but it was a wrapup. It didn't end in the middle of a mission. Even by 1980s-1990s standards I would be disappointed by an ending like the one shown in the video.

Actually it was:

Go to mars.

Get to "commander room" which is not an issue at this point.

shoot alien brain. Just because. Even though there is literally nothing saying we have to, because we didn't even know it exists.

Get abrupt wall of text that explains absolutely nothing and conflicts with all logic. Turns out it was a huge misunderstanding and they wanted to be our friends by blowing up our cities as a sign of friendship. To rebuild mars back to a green world. To support a bunch of non reproductive races that don't even need an environment to survive because they are more machine than organic. Just because "environment is cool yo." Even though the bad "you lose" ending shows that we get our world nuked and left to die, not used to rebuild mars. Just because.

Penumbra was even worse. You walk into a hallway after about 5-7 hours of gameplay and bam. Wall of text ending that leaves more questions than answers. A game cut into 3 parts. No actual label of episodic. Just BAM, ending.

Open door to the main base. See a figure down the hall. BAM! you are dead.

Until the next game came out. Because the pacing and story is a complete clusterfuck.

text endings has been around for a while. Bad endings to games even longer. If the gameplay is good, why complain? If people wanted story, they should read a book or watch a movie. Gaming isn't known for its great story in every single game.

Proverbial Jon:
So why make the game if the Kickstarter failed? I thought the idea of Kickstarter was to gain the necessary funds and simultaneously gauge the demand for your product. Looks like these guys were too arrogant to consider that much.

because they thought we sell the game and make enough money to finish it later on.

quite reasonable, but perhaps it would had been a better idea to point out that its a incomplete game by naming it episode 1 or the like.

some games are made beforehand and need a kickstarter to be able to afford all the licenses of the programms they used to make their work legal.

best example would be crytek and the first far cry.
the game was almost finished and they then brought the licenses of the pirated programms in order to sell their game legally.

That seems pretty half assed, i i don't really care about game endings, but there should atleast be some kind of peak in gameplay before it ends, a boss battle or something like that. Plenty of games have poor endings, but i've rarely seen a game that just ends out of nowhere like this, it even looks glitchy when the text pops up.

Ultratwinkie:
Actually it was:

Go to mars.

[snip] ending to UFO/XCOM

You are right about Mars, I just saw it again on youtube. It was twenty years ago, memory can play tricks on you in that timespan. ;-)

I didn't claim the ending was good, I remember I felt it was a little underwhelming. And a lot of old game had bad endings. But it was an ending, and when playing the last mission it's pretty clear that the end will follow soon. If I remember correctly (and I may not for obvious reasons) the last mission was a 3-stage affair, and the only predesigned mission in the first game. It is all set up for an ending so there is more to it than the text and the still pictures. The player don't know what to expect except for a mastermind responsible for atrocities on earth. I imagine the orders would be to kill it on sight, we don't even know if it is telling the truth or if it is an attempt at psychic indoctrination. How can you trust that thing? XCOM adds a little bit of doubt to an otherwise very simple plot. The plots were mostly simple back then because games were about gameplay, but many games did include an ending. At the very least they usually had a final level or an end boss. Something that the game in this thread doesn't seem to have.

It really is quite jarring when a story or a game doesn't wrap it up. A bad ending is better than none.

I agree that gameplay is more important than story. Civilization doesn't have much of an ending except "Hurrah, you won", or "Oh no, you lost", and yet it is my favorite game. But if a save game corrupts 10 turns before the end I would be frustrated no matter how fun it was until that point. I like to see a game to it's natural conclusion, even if I know what will happen.

When you fail to achieve your goal, putting a pink dress on it. Is not going to fix the problem. Thanks for pointing this out. I was considering this game, but in its current state. Or a DLC state in the future. I am unwilling to support.

When will people learn they should never, ever spend more than $5 on a Steam game?

I really don't see why this is worse than many, many, many games with an abrupt ending (MOH:AA being the worst offender).

They run out of money so they wrapped the game up, which actually makes it a better case than 'OK we have to push this out by the end of the quarter'. I mean sheesh, what are they supposed to do when they don't have money for the development?

Maybe the game is expensive, but again it's not like many $60 games aren't just as long. And apparently it would be more expensive if it would be longer.

Seriously, 'fuck them' can be the proper reaction if a corporation pulls something like this off or if it's an obvious scam, but indies just don't work like that.

Ah forget it, everyone on the internet is an expert on everything anyway.

Sgt. Sykes:
When will people learn they should never, ever spend more than $5 on a Steam game?

I really don't see why this is worse than many, many, many games with an abrupt ending (MOH:AA being the worst offender).

They run out of money so they wrapped the game up, which actually makes it a better case than 'OK we have to push this out by the end of the quarter'. I mean sheesh, what are they supposed to do when they don't have money for the development?

Maybe the game is expensive, but again it's not like many $60 games aren't just as long. And apparently it would be more expensive if it would be longer.

Seriously, 'fuck them' can be the proper reaction if a corporation pulls something like this off or if it's an obvious scam, but indies just don't work like that.

Ah forget it, everyone on the internet is an expert on everything anyway.

Ah, you do know that when someone fails to gain funding on Kickstarter.... they usually don't have funding? But these assholes then go and make it anyway, cut the ending and release it, for sale. Unless they said explicitly on the page "GAME NOT FULLY FUNDED, ENDING NOT COMPLETE" then they have delivered an incomplete game. People paid money for it. It's kind of like someone serving you a meal and then keeping the last course. You can't just do that, the customer paid for the ending, unless he was specially told the last course was not included.

And what do you mean, indies just don't work like that? You think these guys, who have released an incomplete game and therefore, taken money from people who would have otherwise not paid it, are totally ok, but if EA does this, then is hunting season?

Please explain.

oldtaku:
They could easily have called it 'Ep 1' and charged $5-10 and gotten enough money to finish the game. Instead they pulled this scam. Screw 'em.

Excellent point. After all, that's what both Double Fine and Valve have done.

Lil_Rimmy:
You can't just do that, the customer paid for the ending, unless he was specially told the last course was not included.

No. The customer paid for a game called 'The Dark Matter'. The game is what it is including the ending as it is.

Again, my 2 points:
1) Don't buy games on Steam unless they're really cheap and/or you're sure about their quality
2) Large corporations pull this kind of stuff off all the time. My 'favorite' example of this is friggin' MOH:AA which simply ended as if the videotape was cut, but so many games have shitty ending it's more like a rule rather than exception.

You think these guys, who have released an incomplete game and therefore, taken money from people who would have otherwise not paid it, are totally ok, but if EA does this, then is hunting season?

From what I see, they have not released an incomplete game. It's not like the game (such as it is) cannot be completed due to some game-breaking bugs. They have completed what they could accomplish with their own money and released it. What were they supposed to do, release it for free and lose all that money they pumped into the development? Or not release it at all and again lose all the money?

Maybe they could have handled it better (calling it Ep.1 or whatever) but I don't see how would that make so much difference to change the general reaction from 'Fuck them' to 'Oh cool nice guys'.

The difference between indies and corporation is this - indies can simply run out of money. When a corporation releases a crappy game, it's because they don't give a shit and are very much willing to put out a shitty 4-hour game with no ending for $60.

But my biggest argument against this shitstorm is simply 'DOn't like it? Don't buy it'. Of course that implies that people shouldn't be stupid and buy games on day 1 without any research.

Just to make it clear - complaining is totally fine and valid, but this shitstorm is just retarded.

They should have planned their development, end of story.

Well, it's unfortunately not the worst ending to a game I've ever seen.

Couldn't they have sold this as an early access game in that case? Buy now, get the 6-8 (or 4) hours, and with your funding we'll make the real game. They could've gotten more money and the customers might have felt happy they contributed to a game development, instead of feeling cheated.

The worst part is, I still have plans for an indie game of my own someday, a space combat sim, and I wanted to call it Dark Matter. But now the name is both copyrighted AND tainted. Oh, woe is me. Please play the world's tiniest violin in light of my tragedy.

Sgt. Sykes:
Snip

It doesn't change the fact that the devs were just flat out dishonest with the customer. When I saw this on steam and learned that they got a publisher, I thought "Oh good, they were able to get the money somewhere else and finish the game, that's cool, I thought this game looked interesting". But then when I went onto the steam discussions to get some feedback, I saw a thread of someone complaining about the ending, and that made me worried and wanted to wait a couple of days to get more news about it. If a dev is keeping quiet about an aspect of their game that would make me actively not want to buy it and not being upfront about the reduced length of their game compared to what they were planning in their kickstarter if I is doing something very slimy. It's a pity because I thought this game looked very interesting, but I don't want to buy a half finished product that'll never get finished.

And no, this shitstorm (If you can count a thread only one page long a shitstorm) is not retarded.

Andy Chalk:
"No, the full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldnt finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing)," developer "Viper" explained on the Steam forums. "So, we choose to go with a 6-8 hour game instead to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter."

...

"Viper" clarified in a later post that a successful Kickstarter would have meant a longer game and expanded story, although it probably would have ended up costing more than $14.99.

Let's stop beating around the bush and address the problem in steps here:

1) The devs couldn't afford a "12-16 hour" game.
2) They create a shorter game that runs for less than 6 hours.
3) They then price it the same as other full-fledged indie games that have a hell of a lot more content and replay value.
4) They're called out on this, and complain it's because of a failed Kickstarter that they couldn't finish their game.
5) They admit that if they HAD finished the game, they would have charged even more for it.

Logical Verdict: Nope, fuck 'em.

These guys are the sorts of developers who shouldn't be involved in this industry. Worse yet, these guys are concrete proof that even if the AAA industry flops and dies as people suspect they may do in the foreseeable future, that the indie market which emerges to replace them will by no means be any better than their predecessors. That they, too, will rip off their customers by releasing unfinished games with chunks of the game split off into DLC, and will blame their customers for their own mistakes.

This deeply bothers me, mainly because the developer is blaming the people for not making the kickstarter a success when in all reality- the developer would not even of been able to make this game without the people contributing. It would be like if you were poor and needed money to get a house thus random people donated and you only ended up with a small apartment.

You still have a home now and it's a start. But he's blaming people for not giving him more $ for a game he could of still tried making a decent ending to. That's really considered low... i've seen people make some amazing stuff without needing that much money, let alone able to pull off decent endings anyway.

As much as I feel bad for the Kickstarter not going through, I'm sorry but there is no excuse for that.

You don't put an unfinished game up on Steam for sale. You just don't.

You either restructure the game to have 6 hours of gameplay and an ending, or you don't put the game up at all.

No excuse. At all.

I hope this wasn't a paid games as opposed to a free 2 play one.

Sgt. Sykes:
When will people learn they should never, ever spend more than $5 on a Steam game?

Oh darn I just spent 6.24 for Chivalry, I did steam wrong!! Anyways this just seems slimy on the devs part. It a shame that they ran out of money, but you do not just end the game halfway through and blame consumers. Their advertising was not honest and then they blame us for their problems. I'm sure they could of found a way to rework the story to have an end at whatever was the last boss, or just tell us that this is part 1 or something.

From the video it sounds like the player just gets a new weapon and doesn't even have an opportunity to use it. This would be like half life 2 giving you the gravity gun and then the game brings up a wall of text saying "Gordon freeman walks into the town, he starts to get attacked by zombies, this is not the end of the story".

This is what Steam early access was built to prevent...

Andy of Comix Inc:
This is what Steam early access was built to prevent...

Actually, I think it's more accurate to say that this is what reviews are meant to prevent. Dark Matter isn't broken, and it does have an ending - maybe not a good one, but an ending nonetheless. Is it bad, is it wrong? It may be disappointing, but if you get four or five solid hours of gameplay for 15 bucks, is it really such a betrayal?

I don't think there's any question that the developer made a bad choice, but I don't think it deserves quite the level of vitriol that's been thrown at it, either. In a "letter of the law" sense, the game is complete, which puts it in far better stead than, say, something like Fray, which was almost unplayable when it launched on Steam and then became literally unplayable shortly thereafter. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/reviews/9777-Fray-Review) That doesn't mean that InterWave should get a pass, but it does put things in perspective.

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