Barkley 2 is approximately 85% dead after developer schism
The true fell power of the Chaos Dunk
The good news is that extremely silly and successfully Kickstarted action-RPG Barkley 2 is still in development, despite rumours of its absolute demise. The bad news is that according to developers Tales Of Game's latest Kickstarter update, development has been slowed to a crawl by most of the staff leaving. Offering a ballpark estimate, remaining developer and voice of the team's Twitter account "Bhroom" estimates that production is a mere 85% dead. 87.5% if you factor in that he's dead inside. Below, what we know so far.
The shit publicly hit the fan over the weekend, after one-time developer "GZ", posting under the username "Hiratio" made several posts on the Something Awful games forum. The studio had been radio-silent on the project for a long time, and GZ confirmed many people's fears. He claimed that most of the developers had gone their separate ways years back. There had been the occasional development stream over the past year or two, but the video uploaded to the game's official YouTube channel is the trailer below from 2015.
You can see some posts, helpfully screencapped by "Josh Bossie" on Twitter here. Not long after, the studio's Twitter account confirmed most of the allegations, although denies that the project is dead. At present, the only core team member working on the game still is Bhroom, along with a part-time coder called "paperjack", and progress is still happening, albeit slowly.
Bhroom says that the game's Kickstarter funds were spent solely on development, but given that the crowdfunding drive happened nearly seven years ago, it's unsurprising that funds have dried up. It's a rough situation for everyone involved, and over the next few days, Bhroom hopes to answer as many questions as he can from Kickstarter backers. Unfortunately, Bhroom appears to be primarily a PR person, rather than a coder, so it's probably going to be a long while yet until we see anything playable released to the public. It's always a shame to see a studio fall apart, especially when they were carrying the hopes of so many with them.
Still, fingers crossed. The game might just be on track for the (at-the-time joking) November 11th 2023 launch teased in the live-action trailer above. And if nothing else, we still have the original Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa (to give its full, glorious name), which is always good for a giggle. It's free.