Cop-Out: Precinct Crowd-Funding Cancelled

By Craig Pearson on August 27th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Gaze upon the magnificence of this image and weep. It's probably the final time we'll see that man's 'tache and crotch
There are plenty of pitfalls that come with crowd-funding. Hell, even successful campaigns suffer from cashflow problems. But I’d imagine Precinct, the spiritual successor to Police Quest, would rather be in that position than the one it’s currently in. After a collapsed Kickstarter, the game’s second attempt at bucket rattling hasn’t taken in the necessary funds, with only $11,961 pledged in three weeks. In a sad statement to the community, the developers have announced that it’s effectively cancelled.

While Precinct was another developer returning to a game series of yesteryear, it was at least a interpretation of that idea, turning the fiddly and hilarious adventure series of a cop on the beat into a first-person police procedural drama. But it appears that wasn’t what people wanted. Writing on the game’s site, Producer Robert Lindley announced:

We put every effort into making a crowdfunding campaign work but we have decided to end the Precinct campaign effective today. Your generous support not only made Precinct a possibility, it also gave us the fire to try and make this work when the going got hard.

But it wasn’t enough. Precinct’s attempted reroll after the original Kickstarter scored less than 14% of the Kickstarter pot in the same amount of time. That was too much for the producers to take, says Lindley:

We’re fighters and fought our best. Unfortunately, our best wasn’t good enough to overcome the challenges with crowdfunding Precinct. Our new approach attracted some terrific supporters and we are grateful. However, we simply don’t have the momentum needed to meet the requirements of this project.

Depending on the situation, we may decide to try again someday. The backing community are wonderfully supportive of Jim Walls making a new game. Likewise, our team remains passionate about Precinct and are hopeful there is a way to make Precinct a reality in the future.

I hate seeing someone’s passion failing to capture the interest of others, and a crowd-funding failure is a very public rebuttal. Not even the generous terms of the second funding attempt, where every pledge would receive a copy of the game, was enough to convince people to part with their money, and there’s no fallback position this time.

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41 Comments »

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  1. FriendlyNeighbourhoodMurderer says:

    The problem as I see it, is that it wasn’t really a spiritual successor to Police Quest. – Yes, you were a police officer, but they didn’t show anything at all of the stuff I found interesting in the Police Quest series, so that’s why they didn’t get backing from me. – Also the tiers were way too expensive in the first campaign, and I must admit that I didn’t even check out campaign number 2 (even though I really loved Police Quest (I loved all the Sierra Quest games for that matter).

    • DavidCasteel says:

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    • NickNerd says:

      I totally agree that the game didn’t seem like a successor. I played the first couple of police quests when I was little, so little that I didn’t really understand how to advance but had fun walking around the police station and interacting with objects. Still, a lot of nostalgia and I would have loved something that took a similar approach to Leisure Suit Larry, even if the result wasn’t overwhelming.

  2. Grayman says:

    I had not been following this kickstarter and was a little surprised to see a well liked and remembered franchise not make it. Then I was extremely surprised to see half a million dollars as the minimum. Now the message rolls that your officer is in another precinct.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Tex Murphy was $450k. I don’t think that’s out of line.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      I’m sure you’d rather they asked for 4 million and ended up not getting funded? Yeah, I’m glad no one is listening to you, because I wouldn’t be getting a sequel to both Wasteland and Torment if they listened to you. Let alone, all the other marvelous RPGs and graphic adventure games that would not exist otherwise. A pox on all who complain about Kickstarter. They would rather just have the current mainstream game industry made up of COD and Ass ass in’s Creed etc than allow those of us not amused by shit help fund an alternative. People like that can eat shit.

  3. djbriandamage says:

    They wanted too much money for too vague a project, and asking $30 for a game that wouldn’t be released for years was audacious. They ought to have spent another 2-3 months designing the game and enticing would-be backers with something more specific.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      Maybe if less people confused kickstarting a project with pre-ordering a game much grief (on the giving and the receiving end) could be avoided. You not only “buy” a game for 30$, you help make it happen, and you support people you believe in. I see the reward tiers as an additional incentive to back, not the main reason.

      • Alien426 says:

        But if you put yourself in the shoes of a publisher, then there’s points to both arguments:

        Being vague won’t get the game started, you have to give the financers something. They need to see your vision. And you have to have a clear vision!

        If the game gets delayed, that (probably) isn’t as bad for backers. Publishers would have to keep pumping money into the project. But backers don’t profit from the finished product either. So I think they can demand that schedules and budgets be kept. “You said you could do it, now get it done!”

      • InternetBatman says:

        These types of responses about kickstarter bug me for multiple reasons.

        1) It limits backing kickstarters to people who have enough disposable cash that game price and cash loss are not an issue.

        2) It creates an incredibly one-sided and exploitative model that disregards the concept of risk to the consumer.

        3) Kickstarter is more similar to preordering a game than charity. Otherwise there would not be a delivery date, pricing tiers, and delivered goods.

        4) The system relies on the preorder people. About a third of funding comes from base tier backers for very successful products. Less from ones that squeaked over the line, but that funding is even more critical in that case. Many games that have reached their funding would be significantly reduced in scope, or not made at all if we were supposed to treat it like a charity.

        • Kaira- says:

          As for 1), you are aware that in most cases you can pledge *less* than the game’s price?

      • mwoody says:

        I strongly disagree. These are not charities; these are people trying to make money, albeit doing something they (hopefully) love. Kickstarter is, for me, about preordering games early in development to follow and perhaps even have some input in to the process. In essence, I treat it (and evidence suggests I am far from alone) like a paid Alpha or Early Access.

        The idea of “donating” money to a for-profit business is disgusting.

    • KevinLew says:

      The way that the project was worded, no money would be taken unless they made $25K in funding. However, the $25K tier would only guarantee a technical demo, and everything else would be at the developer’s discretion. In other words, unless backers paid over the minimum to fund the full game, nobody was guaranteed one. Everybody would indeed get a “game”, but the game could only be five minutes long. In short, this project had a slim chance of ever getting funded.

  4. InternetBatman says:

    I would be loathe to launch an adventure game with all the competition. This is not 2005 where there was a dearth of adventure games. The market now is crowded: the Walking Dead is winning all kinds of awards; Wadjet Eye gets consistently good reviews; Daedalic has beautiful graphics; Broken Age, Project Fedora, and Mobius were already kickstarted; and there’s a metric ton of them directed at different audiences by companies we wouldn’t recognize.

    • Hahaha says:

      And none are like police quest

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        drewski says:

        Which, judging by the results of this project, is probably a very good thing as far as the success of those games is concerned…

  5. Jahnz says:

    This seems like the genius of crowd-funding in that developers can gauge whether their proposed idea has enough traction to actually make money. It’s too bad that they didn’t find their funding, but perhaps better to know now than to sink millions into developing a flop that will force their studio to close. (That’s a hypothetical, I know nothing about the people trying to do this game specifically.)

  6. DuncUK says:

    The principle problem with this campaign was the game idea itself, or rather the lack thereof. Launching a kickstarter without a broadly complete design outline for your game is the path to failure. What exactly were we expected to pledge towards? A few scribbled diagrams, a very basic tech demo and a list of keywords like “investigations”, “driving” and “gunplay” simply do not cut it. I want to feel that the devs know what it is they’re making before I’m gonna give them money to make it happen. Frankly, if they had pitched a point’n’click game I’d have been much happier… not because that’s the best way to make a police game, but at least we know what we’re getting for our $30 (which was originally the pledge limit needed for a copy of the game).

    The other big problem was the lack of well known, trustworthy faces. Jim Walls has not been a police officer for 25 years, the last PQ game was arguably the best and he din’t even work on it. Blue Force was not a very good game and he did. As for the other developers, who are they? Sure, they’ve worked on games I’ve heard of, but there’re no “rockstar” devs there. There’s very little by way of proven track record.

    There can be game ideas that I would contribute money to, no matter who is making them. Then there are developers that could pitch practically anything and I would consider pledging. This project was noway near being either. Pretty much all I knew for certain was that this game was about Police work and was being worked on by Jim Walls. Great, in that case I’ll wait until the game is finished and reviewed and then I’ll consider paying for it. Not before.

    • Hahaha says:

      “Jim saw his grandkids playing Call of Duty so he changed his mind”

      LOL

      Why do people on these sites never make games themselves, or if they do they keep them hidden away? Seeing some of the stuff RPS commentators have made would be hilarious.

  7. Premium User Badge

    tigerfort says:

    The problem is that making a prototype requires money – and it doesn’t actually guarantee that the final game will be anything like the prototype at all.

  8. randdy says:

    my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $83 hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $14577 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site http://www.jazz77.com

  9. valz says:

    1. Police Quest games don’t look very appealing to me. They were weird, clunky adventure games that the critics weren’t excited about either. Were they good?

    2. It’s stupid to ask for money for a game project without explaining what the game project is. It’s bizarre they were funded as much money as they were.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      In response to your first question, it’s worth sparing 27 minutes to watch Richard Cobbett’s Saturday Video Crapshoot looking at the first three games in the series. Or at the very least read the Saturday Crapshoot on the first one.
      Having only played the original in its EGA version myself, it was a police procedure-obsessed weird clunky adventure game in the traditional Sierra style (that is, you literally die of embarrassment should you remove your clothes anywhere but the pre-duty shower). Unless you’re some kind of masochist, I’d recommend just to read or watch about them.

      • Hahaha says:

        This is what I’m reading – It’s to hard and my memory sucks

  10. Nicolaus99 says:

    Or maybe playing AS the police leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. The reputation of modern police is such that people would much rather shoot cops in their entertainment than play as cops.

  11. Olydark says:

    ACAB….FTP

  12. bar10dr says:

    I’d love to play another police quest, the problem for me was their new concept, the media they had just didn’t look good (In a modern or classic sense) or sound fun.

  13. Richard Burton says:

    Not accusing anyone of anything here, this is merely a question… my question is, how do we know how much cash was pledged, other than the word of the person in charge of the account? Does the money go into some sort of escrow account, visible for all to see? I’m just saying that they could just SAY that a low amount was pledged, pocket the money for themselves, and say “sorry, we didn’t get enough money”. So, how are Kickstarter accounts “policed” to make sure no theft/fraud has taken place? Thanks for the info.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      ” – Someone Who Couldn’t Be Bothered To Read About How Kickstarter Actually Works On The Kickstarter Website

      • Richard Burton says:

        Yes, thank you for your insightful response, however the point I was making appears to have sailed over your head; you see, my question (obviously? obviously not for some it seems) included policing those operating Kickstarter, so any statements on a potentially criminal website aren’t going to be entirely relevant to my actual question…

    • Sheng-ji says:

      To answer your questions, you can see a live display of the total amount pledged and how many people pledged at each tier. You also know how much the dev asked for and if they are smart, they will have explained what they intend to do with the money.

      The pledge is not charged until the pledge period ends, the length of that period is chosen by the devs, but is typically a month or 3 months. You can cancel without penalty any pledge though often the dev will message you and ask why – some more respectfully than others. When the pledge period ends, the pledges are collected via amazon if and only if the amount requested by the dev has been reached. It is worth noting that not all collections will be successful so a dev almost certainly will not recieve the total pledge amount. Also a reasonable percentage is shared between kickstarter and amazon.

      Not all crowd funding websites are the same, most notably some collect the money whether the pledge amount has been reached or not.

      What the devs do with your pledge is neither policed or checked by anyone, though in theory if they don’t deliver, they are supposed to return the money – in practice, I can’t imagine this would be easy to extract from someone who has deliberately set out to scam you so it is very important to check the project carefully – are their screenshots and concept art theirs or stolen from someone else, do they have proof of the game they claim to be making – videos of their game, downloadable concepts, basically evidence that they are up to the task of making a game.

      It’s worth remembering that you can pledge to a well known dev with a great track record who is honest and completely above board and they can still fail to create the game. It’s always a risk.

      • Richard Burton says:

        Thank you, at least someone on here actually understood my question. And answered it beautifully! Yes, from my experience with it that’s what I gathered. I was just wondering if there were any further safeguards or protocols than already apparent when going through the pledge process. I suppose ultimately like any financial transactions it could be exploited at some key stage down the line, indeed.

  14. Richard Burton says:

    I thought it was suspicious that the amount they said was pledged was $11,961. $11,9 is of course, a backwards 911.

  15. mansemat says:

    They had little to no proof of concept, the reward tiers were weak at best and too highly priced, they had too little news during the whole kickstarter campaign (the videos they showed were as if they were shot on the same day) and no info about the game at all. They didn’t listen to feedback from the “community” and quite frankly made a terrible mess of it.
    Then when they started their own “kickstarter” it was dubious as hell with extreme requirements and rules (you needed to plegde in orde to view forums and it stated they could ban you at any time so you wouldn’t get your money back -> see kickstarter comments for more on that if you wish). Furthermore the site looks like crap and doesn’t instill confidence.
    It’s quite frankly… the weakest ive seen. And i’m very sorry for that cause i wanted to see it win. But it just seems to me they had something, were pressured (in the past Walls wasn’t that interested in a reboot) into making something they didn’t really want to do which ended up, i think, in a laisse faire way of handling things… Come on… 4 sketches and videos about the past to ask for 500.000?

    I would have loved to see a new PQ, I enjoyed them very much so bummer to that. But dam they did a bad job of it. :/

  16. Sapper Gopher says:

    Sad, but I think of this as Karmic payback for the Police Quest series being so god awful(note that the other Sierra revivals made their target). Oh, and for Walls being a former CHP. Jackoffs.

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    drewski says:

    Seems like the design for this was pretty lacking and there isn’t enough rabid community support for that to be overcome.

    I can see an spiritual successor working, but for a game without a huge base of nostalgia junkies, I suspect the pitch will have to be *tight*. This one wasn’t.