Sherlock Holmes Kickstarter Fails, But Games Will Appear

This could have been yours, you FOOLS.

Everyone let me down. I can’t even bring myself to look at you. Not only did the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Adventure Mysteries Kickstarter fail to reach its goal, but it failed to reach less than a third of its measly $55,000 target. It’s like you actively didn’t want to pay so I could replay some games that I remember thinking I enjoyed about twenty years ago. You gits.

Fortunately, developer David Marsh says they’ll get made anyway. SO THERE.

It’ll just take a bit longer.

I can’t tell where irony ends and genuine desire to play these games begins, but either way, I’m pleased it’ll likely still happen. Marsh claims that he never needed the KS money to get the games made, and was partly using the project to raise awareness about them. Well, er, okay. I’m not sure it’s great politics to say, “I didn’t need your money” to the 559 people who pledged $17,430 between them. But it’s still good news to me that they’re happening.

Marsh insists that the $55k wouldn’t have been enough to cover the taxes on the pledges. I’m not sure how that works. But anyhow, you can keep up with the progress of the FMV-laden silliness here.

Here’s what you went out of your way to miss out on:


  1. djbriandamage says:

    “Marsh claims that he never needed the KS money to get the games made, and was partly using the project to raise awareness about them.”

    Am I reading this wrong or is this a repulsive abuse of the spirit of Kickstarter? I guess the honeymoon’s over – I must now exercise greater scrutiny before considering funding a project.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Er, no, that’s always been the point. Kickstarter is usually used primarily for marketing.

      Really, check out how other communities have been using it for years, not just videogame developers.

      • Walter Heisenberg says:

        But that doesn’t feed the raging cynic boner that people in the gaming community and press have had since the Double Fine Kickstarter. A couple days after Double Fine’s KS launched there was a immediate shift in certain kinds of people towards wanting gaming Kickstarters as a whole go down in flames like the Hindenburg. Hell of a lot of confirmation bias going on here.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          The cynics don’t matter.

          They wouldn’t have bothered to back any projects in the first place. Only backers matter, and I was a backer of this project. So: is this news a problem for me? NO.

          1) If the Kickstarter had been successful, they would have been obligated to fulfil the preorders, and I would have been happy.

          2) As a backer of the game, my entire “stake” in it was that I wanted the game to be made. (and also I want the reward tier I paid for, of course) It’s still going to be made in spite of not making it’s fundraising goal, which is more than can be said for several others I’ve backed.

          3) Of course this project wasn’t aiming for raising all the funds needed to actually produce it. You just had to look at the reward tiers to figure that out.

          4) If I send a project money, am I insulted if it turns out they use money other than the Kickstarter funds to develop the game? Of course not. Many projects set their numbers unrealistically low in terms of development costs, but a lot of them don’t get funded anyway.

        • Shuck says:

          I confess to being a Kickstarter cynic. After Double Fine, people started talking about how this changed game development funding, and my knee-jerk response has been: only for these anomalous, low-budget nostalgia products, and only in the short term – in a year, Kickstarter will be back to where it was before the hype (unless a big project fails and everyone flees Kickstarter). The thing is, I really hope I’m wrong. I want Kickstarter to be the beginning of a new, viable means of funding games where developers aren’t beholden to publishers. Unfortunately, on the balance however, I think my misgivings have more basis in reality than not.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I don’t know, $55k would “kickstart” a project either way. No doubt it’s quicker with more funding?

      Sadly the type of marketing Valve use might be a problem for Kickstarter projects (see Valve Time)!

    • BDH says:

      For what it is worth I agree with you 100%. In my mind a Kickstarter is a way to accept donations to get a project off the ground that otherwise wouldn’t have been given a shot.

      Ethically, if you don’t need the money don’t start the kickstarter. You are potentially taking money away from worthwhile projects that otherwise need the money.

      I’m also a bit concerned that after their post about the ethics of Kickstarter coverage RPS don’t seem to think that there is a problem with Kickstarters lying to the community.

      He says himself : “As you know, I never had the intention of using kickstarter to fund my company…” – No, we didn’t know that. David March is being patently dishonest. The word “Kickstarter” implies that the donations are there the kickstart the project. In this case it looks like it was just an attempty to get free money off the caboose of the Kickstarter gravy train.

      Anyway, apologies if I am sounding a little shrill here but this is something I feel very strongly about.

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    >$55k wouldn’t have been enough to cover the taxes on the pledges

    I don’t know in what universe that statement makes sense. 100%+ taxing? whatwhatwhat

    • Sorth_31 says:


      I would unfurl a St Georges cross, but I’d probably be arrested for racism.

      (In seriousness, yeah, this guy seems to have some of his tax ideas bass ackwards.)

    • Telos says:

      I think he could possibly mean, by the time the game is finished and they have used all the resources they already have for the game, the kick starter fund would have covered the tax.

      As in, they could finish the game with essentially the backers paying all the tax, while the studio payed the development costs.

      • BDH says:

        Nah, he specifically mentioned that 55k would not cover the tax on the pledges themselves. This guy sounds like a classic bullshit artist. I hate to disappoint everyone but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing this game.

        Anyway, like my mother says “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” and I appear to have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

  3. MegaAndy says:

    Does that not just show that poeple will not buy the full game either?

  4. clockwerkgoblin says:

    The gaming community showed no interest in our Sherlock game, but we will make it anyway and try to sell it to these people. Flawless plan.

  5. Nice Save says:

    Fine! I don’t need your stinkin’ money anyway!

  6. menderslan says:

    I would have backed this if I’d known about it.

  7. Scrofa says:

    Seriously, developers, I can’t generously fund 10 projects a month!

    • sinister agent says:

      It does seem that saturation point is kind of reached at the moment. People love to give money, sure, but they only have so much.

      Part of me can’t help but feeling absurdly sad for the people who start up a kickstarter now and don’t get anywhere. There’s something a wee bit tragic about it.

      • RandomGameR says:

        Seriously. I had to cut myself off. I’ve been eyeing a couple of them and hoping that they get themselves fully funded (Jane Jensen, I’m looking at you) so that I don’t feel so crippled with guilt about it all.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        I’m not so sad. There’s always next month, after all. :)

  8. Fierce says:

    I imagine I will feel just as upset if Starlight Inception doesn’t get funded, and yet looking at the timeline and their distance to target, I have to start preparing for the worst.

    Unlike Sherlock Holmes, I’m not sure the Space Superiority Shooter genre will survive the loss of projects like these.

    • Smokey_Samson says:

      Amen to that. I’m starting to feel that I should be running through the streets grabbing people and yelling at them that they should be funding Starlight Inception. With a week left and $90k to go I’m hoping that some big news site gives them some great exposure.

  9. avp77 says:

    This is the sad side of Kickstarter. Not so much the game not being made (FMV seems to only have nostalgia value) but the “eh, screw you lot, we never needed you in the first place!” attitude when something meets with a tepid response.

  10. gschmidl says:

    I’d rather have this than Crowdsourced Shooter Shit Game 2000 any day.

  11. Maldomel says:

    So basically the money required to make it was not needed, but in fact was? Wait a minute while I call Baker street to sort this out.

    Also, are people basically giving their money for nothing then? Sure you don’t really need to know how it’s used as long as the games are made, and not all developers are doing this (or saying it honestly like that), but that still looks like an “easy” way to get some cash stored.

    I’m not saying it’s a scam, but if I give my money, I want to know where it goes, and I want to know it’s used to actually make a game.

    • Gasmask Hero says:

      The money is pledged. It’s only taken if the project reaches it’s goal.

      On a seperate note, i’m so reminded of the Hound of Shadow. Don’t know why.

      • Maldomel says:

        I know that it is only pledged, but what if the goal is reached? No one knows that the money was not required to make the product, and while the developing will go on, people will at some point give their money for real. For real, but for what use exactly?

  12. Navagon says:

    I’m all Kickstarted out, I’m afraid. These guys need to pace themselves. The bandwagon will be back around. If they jumped on it the next time around maybe the wheels wouldn’t have fallen off?

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I’d say the same. But the latest Humble Bundle is about to break my break! :O

  13. Porkolt says:

    I just thought of something.

    How possible would it be to use Kickstarter to pull a scam akin to that pulled by The Producers in the eponymous Broadway musical?

    • Skabooga says:

      Hmm, if you could launder a little money and fake your own death, you might be able to live out your days on a small tropical island.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yes. Promise a game so bad that you don’t have to work hard making it. But somehow find something you know will sell anyway.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      See my post further down. :)

    • phlebas says:

      Presumably this is why profit sharing isn’t allowed to be part of the reward scheme.

  14. Freud says:

    I think it is healthy that not every single project get funded. It suggests the consumers/sponsors aren’t blindly throwing money at everyone who wants it but are trying to make informed sponsoring/purchasing decisions.

    What speaks against this is of course that Leisure Suit Larry got funded.

  15. malkav11 says:

    I didn’t back it because there were a ton of other things I was more interested in and I have only so much money. Besides, I never played the originals.

  16. Big Murray says:

    I … vaguely remember playing those games. Ah, the days of FMV-laden silliness.

    EDIT: I remember why I remember this game now. The game came with paper newspaper cutouts in the box related to each case which you could examine for clues within the game. That was a lovely touch. Didn’t think anyone was particularly interested in this type of game coming back though. Seems I was right.

  17. terry says:

    By jove, I think he’s cracked it!

  18. HoosTrax says:

    Uh…I just the watched the 22 second video, and it completely turned me off the prospect of this project (was that the intent?). I didn’t see anything in there that suggested it’d be even remotely true to the original portrayal/personality of the character.

    I’m going to go back to counting the days until Sherlock season 2 comes to the U.S. so we can find out how Sherlock and John manage to escape the booby trapped swimming pool…

  19. eks says:

    The traditional “FMV games” should just remain dead. The only people I have ever seen/heard discuss them in a positive light is when they are being ironic and stating that those games were “so good”. If there was ever a video game genre equivalent of a hipster, FMV’s would be it.

  20. equatorian says:

    The problem is, it’s kind of like Consulting Detective and the Frogware Holmes series.

    Now if they said they’d build something in line of Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, I’d be right up there in the front row with my wallet open.

  21. rustybroomhandle says:

    Ooooh, first fake Kickstarter game project was found and killed:
    link to
    link to

    Also, for people crying that the Sherlock Holmes game will still be made, regardless of funding. It’s a silly thing to whinge about. I’m making a game, and I would love to do it full time. $80000 would accomplish that, but since I don’t have $80000, I am working on it in my spare time. The game gets made regardless.

    The makers of Consulting Detective is not ripping anyone off.

  22. Juxtapox says:

    Haven’t even heard of this Kickstarter project.

  23. theblazeuk says:

    I’ll be honest, you did a TERRIBLE job of selling the Sherlock Holmes games John. Reading through that last post on it, I thought you were slagging them off.

    • adonf says:

      Agreed. I had to read John’s post a couple of times and do several Google searches to understand why he seemed to be speaking such ill of a game before suggesting we gave money to fund it

  24. psyk says:

    Gamers once again prove they are riding the special bus.
    Investing flying over gamers heads since birth.

    Where does it say they can’t get REAL investors to put cash up?

    Where does it say they have to be broke to start a kickstarter?

  25. zarfius says:

    I see 2 possible problems here:
    1. Either the market has spoken and they really don’t want these games and I think it would be unwise to listen to the market and go ahead and make them anyway.
    2. There is genuinely a good market for the game and they simply didn’t know about the Kickstarter.

    Either way, I think going ahead and making the game anyway might be doomed to fail. Then again, coming out and saying “I don’t need your stinkin’ money anyway” might generate enough press to market the game that way.. lol

  26. Aether says:

    I think this marks the first time I’ve been called a Git. On the internet of all places, I’m not sure what to think.