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Kickstopped: The Strange Case of Mythic: Gods & Men

While this last month or so has littered the digital ground with the beautiful blossom of Kickstarter triumphs (and not just in games; dunno about you, but I am in MAXIMUM NERDJOY mode about a Pebble watch winging its way to me later this year) this week has shown the potentially seedy underbelly of rampant crowdsourcing. The strange, faintly disturbing tale of Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men was uncovered by Something Awful, picked up by our very own forum and from there sent on to Reddit, which in turn led to the project in question's shutting down.

Now that's what I call crowd-sourcing. Well done, forum. We promise to find a way to deal with the spam in thanks.

You might already have heard that Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men mysteriously shut its Kickstarter page down late last week, but what we didn't know was why. Now we may do. Specifically, that much of what had gone up on the Gods & Men Kickstarter page appeared to have derived from other sources. This included game assets, but it also included photographs of what was claimed to be developer Little Monster Productions' offices.

Which is a bloody funny business for sure. Little Monster claimed the motivation in closing the project was because they actually had enough funding after all. Which makes it rather odd that the majority of information about Little Monster as a company either never existed or has been methodically removed from the internet subsequently.

I quote shamelessly from Xeophyte on the RPS forum, who picked this up from Something Awful:

  • God character art is from here, just with a sepia filter applied.
  • Backgrounds are from here and here.
  • Poster consists of this icon on top of this texture.
  • Their sword reward pictures are from here.
  • The reward tier text and values are copied wholesale from The Banner Saga's kickstarter, with just a game name search & replace.
  • Their office photos are just crops from the Burton Design Group.

Meanwhile, claims such their being "the same team that left Activision / Blizzard in search of something better" after working on Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft ('2009-2011') and that "Animations will be done via motion capture thanks to some friends at Disney/Pixar" perhaps seemed a little too good to be true. Right now, it does seem as though they were.

The last that was heard from Little Monsters themselves was "As for the concept art, it seems we have been subjected to false claims of ownership right to our concepts. The game itself is well in progress and is NOT a scam of any kind. Thank you for understanding. If you have any furthure questions please feel free to ask." That was three days ago. Then there was project closure. Then there was silence. And discomfort. Great, great discomfort.

There may be far more yet to come out in the wash, or perhaps Little Monster have been horribly misrepresented and will soon tell their side of the story. In either case, until it's cleared it seems a mercy that the project 'only' drew $4,739 of its $80k goal before being shut down.

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