Awww: Dreadline Hits Kickstarter Deadline, Falls Short

Sad to say, life's not fair. Not even for mummies.

Well, here’s a big, fat downer. You remember Dreadline, right? I mean, of course you do. Given that you’re an RPS reader of scholarly disposition and handsome taste, you probably donated all of your worldly possessions to the ex-Irrational/Harmonix debut’s cause. I mean, it’s about a team of time-traveling monsters mucking up major historical moments, and it’s got heaping chunks of Freedom Force nestled within  its pile of Frankensteinian limbs. So I guess the bright side here is that you get to keep all your things. But really, that’s pitiable consolation for the fact that Dreadline missed funding by a wide margin. It asked for a relatively tame $167,000, but only managed $23,408. Sigh. But there is, at least, some hope for the future.

In the wake of Dreadline’s poor performance on Kickstarter, developer Eerie Canal discussed the long road that lies ahead:

“Thank you so much for the support. After working so long in the dark it’s exciting to see the number of people that are excited about Dreadline. Unfortunately we fell far short of our fundraising goal. Rather than dwell on what went wrong, we’re working to find alternate ways to fund the Dreadline’s development. We’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy, and aren’t quite ready to let go.”

“Thank you again to all of our supporters. We’ll do our best to find a way to get this game out into the world.”

So unlike a good many crowdfunding hopefuls that have fallen short, Dreadline’s not flatlining just yet. It may have to take a more traditional route into history’s most precious moments, but hopefully, we’ll get to play it one day.

In the meantime, though, this whole situation really is quite a shame. I mean, we have another instance of developers with potential name power (Irrational! Harmonix!) breaking new ground instead of relying on old properties, but getting the cold shoulder from potential buyers nonetheless. Granted, it also wasn’t the best updated or publicized Kickstarter ever, so there’s that to consider as well.

Still though, 2013 seems to be the year in which Kickstarter fever is finally starting to cool – or at least mutate into a new, more demanding strain. Odds are, that’ll be better for future hopefuls in the long run – they’ll have to start really fleshing out their ideas and coming up with working prototypes, after all – but it’ll definitely raise the barrier to entry. For now, though, does anyone have a spare $167,000 lying around? Because I can think of some people who’d really appreciate it, and most of them aren’t even me (this time).


  1. Archipelagos says:

    That’s a real pity. Dreadline had a fantastic concept that really deserved exploration.

  2. slerbal says:

    I would have liked to help but as a game dev turned author I have to husband my resources carefully and so I had to make a rule that I’ll only buy a game when it is actually released. No Kickstarters for me. I get the sense that I am not alone. :(

    The flipside is that I ended up disappointed by all the Kickstarters I did support in a former life. The tendency to over-promise and under-deliver is a common one. I’m not saying this would have done that, more likely I just had poor taste in Kickstarters :D

  3. botonjim says:

    I’m not sure ex-Irrational people making what looks and sounds like a spiritual sequel to Freedom Force quite counts as ‘breaking new ground’.

    • frightlever says:

      Whereas Freedom Force 3 probably would have been funded. Not that that was ever a possibility.

      Why isn’t Freedom Force 3 a possibility?

  4. Calneon says:

    I hadn’t heard of this before, but I wouldn’t have put down money even if I had. Having a good premise is all well and good but I didn’t hear anything about the actual gameplay. All I heard was an ARPG and RTS mix, but they needed to actually explain that better. All I got from the footage was that you run around hitting stuff…

    • JFS says:

      This. Gorgeous art style, super-bland looking gameplay. Combine the rather boring video with some strange infos (such as there being only very few different catastrophes/levels in the game or one main dev already working elsewhere-but-not-quite), and you get yourself a failed Kickstarter. They also failed to drum up some Internet hype, I would say.

    • Bhazor says:

      The problem with the footage was that all the combat seemed completely one sided and with no noticeable special moves. It just looked like the grindiest ARPG I’ve seen in a while.

    • enobayram says:

      Should I feel bad for not enjoying the premise of the game? I think I’m a bit put off by the idea of spatio-temporal travelling to disaster sites and killing the survivors :/

  5. MeestaNob says:

    This was always a good chance to fail though, as a punter with cash to throw away it still felt like there wasn’t a lot to go on as far as convincing videos/media exposure were concerned.

    The concept sounds somewhat interesting, but it never felt like they were really selling it.

  6. derella says:

    I’ve backed a lot of projects in the last 6 months or so, but there comes a point where you realize that a hefty chunk of your money is floating around out there for games you won’t get to play for at least a few months. So I guess I have been becoming pickier.

    Dreadline’s concept, while certainly unique, just never called out to me. If it were a more literal successor to Freedom Force, I’d have donated in a second. Similar gameplay isn’t enough I guess — I want to make superheroes.

    • Buemba says:

      Same. Of the 25 game projects I backed in the past 2 years only 5 were released so far (Thankfully there were no duds there), so now unless the concept *really* grabs me and there’s an absolutely incredible exclusive reward for backers I just wait for its release.

  7. DickSocrates says:

    I read RPS every day, never heard of this. I can only assume there was a boring picture accompanied by the first paragraph being jokes about working for RPS or some other irrelevant topic.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Yeah, sometimes the baroque style of RPS editors gets in the way of the Dissemination of Vital Information.

    • Calneon says:

      Yeah I’ve found this to be the case recently. Most noticeably over Christmas, it’s getting a bit better though.

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      I didn’t want to be the first to say it, but yes, I’ve also felt this way about the site lately.

      Not enough for me to cancel my subscription, though.

    • 7Seas says:

      Missed this too and probably for the same reason as above. /signed.

  8. Surlywombat says:

    The scenario just seemed very bad taste to me frankly. While there is an argument that enough time has passed, personally I don’t see it. These are terrible disasters, where real people lost their lives.

    I am aware that any directly involved with the disasters have passed away, but taking the example of the Titanic – we are taking about living peoples grand parents.

    This just seems a little.. off.

    • lordcooper says:

      Yeah, it’s a good job people don’t make games about horrible events that actually occurred within the last hundred years like WW2, or even currently ongoing conflicts. This game would have set us on a slippery slope!

      • Lars Westergren says:

        The difference here is that in the games you mention, you are generally shooting enemy combatants (No Russians level a notable exception), not butchering innocent civilians. It didn’t really feel like a line I wanted to cross.

        > Rather than dwell on what went wrong,

        It is not good for your mental health to go over failures over and over, that is true. But at the same time, in a business, If you don’t want to repeat mistakes it is a very good thing to go through it once and see what you could have done better.

        For me, the plot was the big turnoff. I loved the turnbased combat from ex Freedom Force people parts, though as Bhazor said above, I had some concerns about were the challenge and variety was? Killing enough people while the clock ticked down to the disaster, or? I was ok with the art style, but not in love with it.

  9. ffordesoon says:

    The problem I have with the concept is that I don’t understand what the motivation of the monsters is. Everything else about the concept, I dig, but I just don’t see a motivation I can relate to.

    These monsters want to kill people who are about to die, right? Why? Because they’re monsters and that’s what monsters do? I – and, based on this total, most people – need more than that. That really was the only thing that kept my cash in my wallet – I didn’t understand what the monsters wanted.

  10. Michael Fogg says:

    Kickstarter is over, see?

  11. Emeraude says:

    I wonder how many people are actually in a situation similar to mine: waiting for backed up projects to be delivered before backing up any other, feeling the need to assess the model before going on with it.

  12. Nickel says:

    Personally I have in no way grown tired of Kickstarter, I backed 24 projects during the last ten months and I would back more – it’s just that there haven’t been a lot of games on Kickstarter that I’m actually interested in lately. I don’t want multiplayer-focussed titles, especially not of the competitive variety… I don’t need your mmos… I don’t play stuff on iOS… I don’t trust people who want to develop a massive sandbox-rpg for $4,999… I don’t think the pc actually needs even more fps games… quirky puzzle platformers aren’t really underrepresented in the current marketplace either… there’s just sooo much stuff on Kickstarter that I couldn’t care less about right now. I went through the whole list of current Kickstarter videogame projects a few days ago and there wasn’t a single game on there that made me thing “Wow, this sound cool! I want to play this right now!”

    I was close to backing Dreadline for a few days, but in the end my dislike for the game’s art style was stronger than my wish for another game like Freedom Force.

  13. Jackablade says:

    So why didn’t she help fund Dreadline then?

  14. Shadowcat says:

    I found this apt quotation on the Kickstarter page:

    “Dreadline is the kind of game you make when you don’t have to convince anybody other than yourself that it’s going to be awesome.”

  15. AlienMind says:

    Well, this proves that in the end, KS is just another outlet which has to conform to the taste standards of masses, which will give you another pile of software you can sell in a walmart store. hooray.

  16. sirdavies says:

    It’s a shame. I would have thrown them some money, but I didn’t see the kickstarter until now. Anyway, I hope they get to finish it, because the game seems fucking awesome.

  17. El_Emmental says:

    I knew about this Kickstarter, and was hoovering around it for more updates/footages, but it just didn’t make it, I stayed on the fence.

    The fact that the devteam didn’t seem so stable, the lack of real hype built up behind it (it kinda shows their motivation for a project, sad but true), the poorly-chosen background story, my personal Kickstarter burnout and need to see a KS project I backed turn into an actual game, weighted in.

    I liked Freedom Force (even though it became quite repetitive – to not say boring), so I was genuinely interested in how that new game would turn out.

    The “monsters” character design was an excellent choice (= original, very different characters, with very different attacks/special moves), but the whole “killing the victims of a disaster” was just wrong. Okay, it allowed you to have very varied, original and culturally-relevant levels, but man, there’s evil and there’s Evil.

    They should have made something like “Alternate History”, with the Titanic missing the iceberg because of (spoiler!) superheroes traveling back in time, and your evil minions have to retake control of the boat by scaring off/knocking unconcious/killing (only for the real baddies) the people preventing you from getting to the control room.

    Failing to restore History will result in a complete disaster in the future, so the evil and good characters aren’t what they think they are (the “heroes” end up being mercenaries and/or genuine heroes manipulated by a business mogul from the future). Sure it would be confusing, but the good kind of confusion

    Example (for the Titanic): a person dying during the disaster ends up building an empire, leading to a worldwide war lasting more than 100 years and killing most of the world population.

    It would let the monsters wonder what are they doing, if they’re being good or evil, and they should and are supposed to do.

    – some of them will enjoy what they’re doing (throwing people into the water, steering the boat into an iceberg, spreading fire and distress everywhere).

    – some will prefer their own small-evil activities (scaring people off, haunting and killing in their manor/pyramid/cavern).

    – some will find what they’re doing (like sabotaging lifeboats) “wrong” (= not their kind of evil, or too evil for them), and only a “necessary” evil to restore History as it is.

    It would allow many dialogues/scripted sceneries showing their questionings, debates and disputes, while they’re busy smashing people on their heads (doing their “job”). The monsters would be able to talk, to each others and to us (indirectly). It would be a goldmine for the characters’ voices (lines) too, giving a unique tone to each one of them.

    It would also let the developers talk about what’s evil (and what’s good), real evil, necessary evil and all that sort of things, within a comic-like environment. It would sweeten the pill of being responsible of real-life disasters (in the game).