Down And (Fall) Out: Grimlands Kickstarter Canceled

I walk a lonely road / The only one that I have ever not gotten radiation poisoning on

I quite like the sound of Grimlands. By its creator’s own admission, it’s basically a grit-and-oil-thick smoothie of Fallout, Borderlands, and Ultima Online, and the only way that could sound more appealing to me is if it included a kitten on a unicycle who could also assuage my fears about an increasingly superficial, transient modern society. So with its rise, so too came my hopes. And then it fell, and I was sad. But then it resurfaced on Kickstarter, and my intestinal butterflies were all aflutter once more. And now? Now I’m not entirely sure what to think.

As ever, Grimlands’ current predicament came as a result of developer Drago’s eyes being much, much bigger than Kickstarter’s stomach for non-nostalgia-rooted licenses or successors. Also, the game itself maybe could’ve looked a little spiffier. But even now, there’s still some hope left. Crowdfunding means exposure, and that tickles hungry investor sharks’ noses right into a good old-fashioned blood frenzy. Drago explained in a Kickstarter update:

“Today we have to announce the early end of our KS campaign. However, while we were not able to get close to our funding goal, the campaign was a partial success: We have been contacted by several investors and are in active discussions to finish the game with them. This would not have been possible without this campaign and without your support! Of course we will keep you up to date on any development!”

So that’s something, at least. It is, however, far from a guarantee, especially as I can’t think of too terribly many crowdfunding drives that have pulled the plug on promises of “Oh, but we’ll be back stronger than ever before you know it” and actually followed through. Then again, behind-the-curtain dealings often take time, and publishers aren’t exactly big on making official announcements before they’re good and ready. It’s still the Wild West for this kind of thing, I suppose, is the long-and-short of it. Precedent comes later.

For now, though, another one bites the dust. I think I’m going to Kickstart a series of special tear-absorbing tissues tailored to the needs of overly ambitious indie devs. Guaranteed to soak up hot rage, cold disappointment, and the harsh realities of a system that’s not quite the safe haven for unbridled creativity you thought it was better than any leading competitor. Urgh, that was more depressing than I meant it to be. I’m gonna go test my tissues now.


  1. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Kickstarter’s stomach for non-nostalgia-rooted licenses or successors

    Again, it’s not about “nostalgia”, it’s about the people.

    Who the heck are Drago? Where’s the slightest shred of evidence that they’d be able to deliver on their promises in such an ambitious project? That’s the issue.

    • Asurmen says:

      Where’s the evidence that Star Citizen and Elite will produce the goods in their ambitious projects? Because as far as I am aware, neither of the producers have produced anything in a long time. They’re simply trading on their names and nostalgia of the games they used to produce.

      • Volcris says:

        Elite was not doing well until it cleaned itself up. I couldn’t have given a rat’s ass about the name behind star citizen until I was shown sexy space ships spacing in space with space guns.

        Both those kickstarters had a professional looking page with evidence of progress and a strong model for the game they would deliver. In fact, most of the big name success stories of kickstarter had as much content as pedigree. They also featured both genres and mechanics that the market could use more of, and so people voted with their dollars.

        On the other hand, Grimlands reminds me of Fallen earth, a product already on the market, and doesn’t do much to separate itself.

        Right now, I feel like many people are over-saturated with MMOs as it is, and I can name 3 FPS MMOs (plantside 2, firefall and defiance) that are either recent or coming out. What does Grimlands offer me that I cannot get elsewhere right now? I think that question is why they are having problems.

    • BTAxis says:

      It’s about both nostalgia AND people. I’ve seen unknowns successfully pitch remakes of a popular game (MORE for example) and I’ve seen big names successfully pitch new IPs (Double Fine Adventure). Combine fame and nostalgia, and you get Torment.

    • Bhazor says:

      The problem wasn’t nostalgia. The problem was that this was a F2P MMO that they expected people to pay to play by an unknown team with little experience. That never goes down well on Kickstarter.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        This. I was very interested in the initial concept, but the F2P MMO nature of the game turned me away. I’d be very surprised if any indie project that wants to be F2P does very well on Kinckstarter.

      • StranaMente says:

        I agree with Bhazor, I’m not interested in mmo’s, neither in f2p mmo’s. It’s not the nostalgia factor, just like the other mmo’s that tried to go on kickstarter. Also the other comment by Bhazor below is really interesting.

  2. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Fallen Earth!

    Okay I’m glad I got that off my chest.

  3. Lobotomist says:

    Oh common. Stop shedding tears for every half assed project put on kickstarter.

    Especially stuff like this :
    Game that was in development , than cancelled by the company because it was simply bad. And than whoever was working on the game tries to resell it trough kickstarter using false promises (same ones that failed to work for whoever originally commissioned the game)

    It seems that every project that wants to be financed is either quoting Ultima Online or Old-School.
    Why is someone simply not making Ultima Online reboot, and be done with it.

    As for this game.
    Do you know there is a totally similar MMO already. Its called Fallen Earth.

    • bstard says:

      The problem with Fallen Earth though is its crap. I’m sorry I’m trying tobe as subtle as I can here.

    • PostieDoc says:

      I want an Ultima Online remake but it has to be based on vanilla UO.
      No carebearland.

  4. Bhazor says:

    Something people didn’t mention about the game.

    It isn’t a shooter. It’s an MMO. It’s an MMO with invisible dice walls dictating when you hit.
    So it’s a F2P MMO that encourages grinding to improve skills
    Its a F2P MMO with uninteresting dice based combat.
    It’s a F2P MMO that they expect you to pay to play.
    This is exactly why the Victory Kickstarter failed.

    Look at how much they lost on the day they announced the leveling system (April 15th)
    link to

    Speaking of updates, their one about female characters is worth reading. link to

  5. kibble-n-bullets says:

    I thought the game was going to do nothing particularly well, and that there was no particular focus from the leadership relative to their resources on hand. It was like the developmental equivalent of Calvinball.

  6. HisDivineOrder says:

    Kickstarter is quickly petering out as a fad. It’s no surprise. Too many failures, too many people trying to cash in for a quick buck (ie., Peter Molyneux, you should be ashamed).

    • kibble-n-bullets says:

      If a poorly planned game can’t get funding, that’s a good thing. Kickstarter’s success as a platform doesn’t hinge on people throwing money without thinking.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Exactly. After the success of early indie game Kickstarters like FTL, there was a huge explosion of me-too projects, some fantastic, many pure shlock. If the “fad” of putting shlock on Kickstarter dies away, that’ll only be a good thing, and hopefully people will still seek funding for good projects (like FTL).

  7. abrokenchinadoll says:

    I beta tested for this game, and honestly it wasn’t all that entertaining. It was poorly worked on. Everything from the bad guys to the clothing was wonky and like Bhazor said it’s exactly like they stated. It was such a poor decision making team.

  8. Michael Fogg says:

    Grim and Frostbitten Lands