Fallen Falling: Pantheon Development On Hold

By Alice O'Connor on April 16th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

A castle we might never explore

By now we surely all understand that Kickstarting a game is a bit of a gamble: we rarely have a clear idea of how it’ll turn out, and sometimes if it’ll even be finished. At least Kickstarters have a clear goal to work towards, though, and will only take your money if they hit the sum devs figure will let them finish it. Open-ended crowdfunding is even riskier, as they’ll take your money but may never get enough to finish the game. Which is what has happened to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.

The MMORPG headed by former EverQuest lead designer Brad McQuaid has been shaking its own crowdfunding bucket after a Kickstarter campaign fell short, and has now run out of money. It’s hoping it’ll land an investor but the game’s not really going anywhere until hypothetical saviours come along.

Pantheon was shooting for $800,000 (£476,000-ish in real money) on Kickstarter in January but ended short at £274,000, which meant it got nothing. Still, 1,576 people believed in the game enough to pledge money directly when developers Visionary Realms started their own open-ended crowdfunding, tossing in about £95,000. McQuaid told ‘boogie2988′ this week that they had hoped more people would carry their pledges over.

Looking on the bright side, Visionary Realms said in a statement on Sunday that the money people did re-pledge has carried them to a point where they can start wooing investors.

That is, we’ve shown there is interest in a game like Pantheon, we’ve built the term sheets and business plan, and now have a prototype we can show to potential investors.

The downside now is that our initial resources have depleted, which regrettably means that development is going to slow down until finances can be secured. It’s not something we want to do by any means, but as we cannot guarantee paychecks to the team, they each need to be able to spend time on other things to pay the bills.

Once we’re able to get that level of funding we can then secure much-needed studio space and be able to pick up the pace of production dramatically.

I can’t imagine investors are falling over themselves to pay for a subscription-based MMORPG at this point, though, especially one which played heavily on nostalgia for The Good Old Days. The niche market it’s targeting, grizzled MMO veterans, have demonstrated they aren’t especially interested by not backing it. Publishers are still pretty interested in F2P MMORPGs, but the model seems a little antithetical to Pantheon’s goals.

Any money given at this point will simply go to keeping the website online, rather than development. Probably don’t, unless you have money to burn or are really, really, really into the idea of Pantheon and just happy to feel like you’re helping.

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19 Comments »

  1. mxmissile says:

    There is a huge lingering reason why this project (and any project of his for that matter) was doomed to fail. It’s called “Vanguard: Saga of Heroes”. Something more and more articles about his game fail to mention, yet it explains it all perfectly.

    • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

      you mean the founder of Fallen Falling was also the the CEO of Vanguard and lost his creditibilty with things like this:

      “In April 2007 Brad McQuaid, CEO of Sigil Games Online, addressed these issues and provided some explanations:

      “Had I had the financial resources, ability to place the product later, etc. I would have given us about 3 more months to get more polish in, more high level content in, and to distance ourselves from the WoW expansion.” Full quote

      McQuaid also alluded to the game’s performance issues:[31]

      “For a variety of reasons and mistakes on our part that I won’t get into right now, Vanguard was released with system spec requirements that were too high for January 2007. ” Full quote

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard:_Saga_of_Heroes#Reception

      • Utnac says:

        I think MX is probably talking about things like spending his days as project lead snorting coke and sacking his entire staff in a carpack only to run off and claim a well paid post at SOE.

        The man is an unpleasent blemish on the games industry.

        • Jenks says:

          uhhh, no

          • frightlever says:

            uhhh, no, what? Leaving aside the drug allegations – he couldn’t turn out a viable subscription MMO back in the heyday of subscription MMOs and when his name still meant something, so uhhh, why would now be any different?

            I do disagree with the article though. If anything a niche MMO aimed at old school players who hate free to play and modern game mechanics, is just the sort of thing that could be viable with a subscription. Except most of those old school player probably look on Kickstarter as some new-fangled devil designed to part children from their pocket-money.

            I’d be aiming for around $20-$30 dollars a month to keep the riff-raff out. With the extra profit per customer you’d only need a fraction of the players to remain open and pay backend costs (which will also be reduced, somewhat, because fewer players.) A bespoke MMO for gentlefolk of a certain age.

            Might work. No less crazy than what was proposed.

  2. jellydonut says:

    The problem I can see is that there’s nothing in the description that entices me. It’s just another extremely boring themepark fantasy MMO. There’s a reason all those games are dead. The people that liked them got tired of them, and the people that didn’t like them still don’t.

  3. witzkawumme (wkw) says:

    referring to mxmissile comment, I guess he means this information: (please correct me)

    “Many fans of the original EverQuest followed the development of Vanguard closely.”

    Gamespy awarded Vanguard the “Biggest Disappointment” award for 2007.[29] Vanguard also won the awards in the categories for “Least Fun”, “Most Desolate” and “Lamest Launch” in the MMORPG.com MMOWTF Awards for the worst games of 2007.[30]

    There have been numerous criticisms of the game by the game press and the fanbase.


    The game was released before it was ready, leading to:

    Content was low for high-level players, and spotty even in some lower-level areas. Much planned high level content was not included at launch.
    Large numbers of bugs and performance issues, which make gameplay difficult, and on some systems rendering the game virtually unplayable.
    At release, performance was poor on many systems, including some high-end configurations. For example there was no anti-aliasing, and anisotropic filtering support was buggy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard:_Saga_of_Heroes

  4. Utnac says:

    Sad, but inevitable.

    They just threw up a Kickstarter with literally nothing to show, they didn’t even have a design document, just a fairly lose set of ideals they’d like their game to adhere to, you probably could have made any genre of game and still met each criteria.

    It honestly looked to me like they put it together in an afternoon and then they ask us to give them $800k of our money. Wasn’t ever going to happen and by persevering with the Kickstarter they lost any initial momentum they had, their website hasn’t garnered anything like what they had pledged to the Kickstarter before it failed.

    Brad McQuaid simply demonstrating again that whilst he may be a decent game designer (although I wouldn’t really blame anyone for questioning that) he simply cannot be trusted to oversee anything, at all.\

    For what it is worth I thought their idea of subscribing to the development was a great one, set the sub fee low, $4.99 and give a realistic timeframe to meet targets like delivering an Alpha and Beta, promise that you won’t charge above X amount before each milestone and chuck in plenty of communication and interaction, have loyalty rewards for people who stay subscribed for long periods of time e.t.c. I think there is potential in that idea. Unfortunately with the small number of people they had interested in their very niche product it wasn’t ever going to be realistic for them especially with the game easily being several years away from a release and they didn’t offer any incentives to subscribe really.

    Bottom line is they should have all taken a month out, spent what money they had getting the best foundation down possible including a good website, as much art and lore as possible and then launch in an organised fashion, but the whole thing reeked of amateurism from the start and that isn’t going to get you a massive funding amount on Kickstarter, where people generally fall over themselves to throw money at the best presented projects, even if they’re not the best games.

    • Shuck says:

      Besides those vague plans, they also suffered from seemingly presenting a type of MMO that’s not so different from existing games, they asked for a huge amount of money (for a Kickstarter) but an amount that also wasn’t nearly enough to make an MMO. They only glancingly acknowledge (in the most incoherent way possible) that there was no way they were going to make an MMO with the funds they were raising, but didn’t actually explain how they actually were going to do so. That should raise a giant red flag. I’m not surprised they didn’t get backing – I’m just surprised they got as much as they did. Anyone backing them with the expectation they’d produce an MMO must not have been paying attention.

      • malkav11 says:

        Frankly, I’m a little amazed anyone backs any MMO on Kickstarter. They’re astonishingly expensive endeavours with a limited shelf life and an ongoing hunger for cash. There’s really no realistic way to raise enough money through Kickstarter alone and even if you somehow manage to fund the launch of an MMO that way you need a substantial (much more substantial than your KS crowd) uptake among MMO players to be able to keep things operating and adding new content. It doesn’t help at all that the market is already crowded with MMOs and it’s a genre that demonstrably does not need end-user funding to exist since publishers are apparently only too happy to shovel money into the fire to try and catch a piece of that WoW money train.

        (Yes, the genre is crowded with essentially variations on a theme, so if you have a genuinely way-off-the-beaten-path idea then, yeah, maybe you might need backers and there might be some reason to support your efforts. I am not seeing that with any of the MMO ideas that have hit KS except maybe Star Citizen.)

  5. SillyWizard says:

    I’m trying to think of a subtitle more mind-numbingly boring than “Rise of the Fallen.”

    No luck, so far.

  6. Furiant says:

    Here’s how it works: you make an awesome game, and I pay you to play it. I don’t want to pay you to maybe finish a game to a point that I could then pay you to play.

    It’s not the payment model, it’s not that people aren’t interested in the genre, and it’s not that McQuaid has an unsettling track record. It’s that there’s no game to play. Make a game, somehow, and I will somehow find the funds to pay a subscription long enough to give it a shot.

  7. Yglorba says:

    Why would any sane person crowdfund a MMoRPG? The world does not need another MMoRPG.

  8. Caiman says:

    Kickstarter should be for projects that won’t see the light of day through traditional publishers. So when you put a generic-looking MMO on there which doesn’t seem to be doing anything we aren’t getting anyway, it’s really hard to get excited about it.

  9. romeurosa says:

    “Hey, won’t you please give us some money… we’re going to invest it in this awesome game. Okay, let me just take your pledge then … aaaaaand it’s gone.”