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