Ever since Exploding Rabbit announced earlier this week that their Kickstarter funded 2D platformer Super Action Squad, originally funded under the name Super Retro Squad, was being put on hold it’s been a bit of a mess. Gaming sites publishing snide articles asking how a project that raised over $50,000 could possibly have any troubles, backers demanding money back, Twitter users express shock that someone could mess up so royally. Jay Pavlina, the man in charge of Exploding Rabbit, didn’t help his case when he posted a 4200 word message explaining what happened in great detail; to the point where dirty laundry was aired. Jay’s message ended by announcing plans to run a Google Hangout Chat on March 20th so people could ask he and the team questions and express concern.
So, how’d the chat go? Surprisingly enough, it was smooth.
With the full four person team in attendance Jay started things off by making an introductory statement regarding his initial post. “I see stuff in my head, and as I was writing it I didn’t realize how it would sound,” Jay stated. He went on to say that he was upset about the project and took it out on the team. At this point the rest of the team joined in and gave their own perspective, the most interesting of which related to a lack of a cohesive vision. While everyone agreed on the overall idea of the game as “a platformer with a bunch of characters,” some felt it was going to be a pure retro style game with the appropriate limitations, others said they thought it would be a retro game that included the benefits of new technology. Jay ended his statement by diverting fault his way, stating “It’s my job to take care of the team, as the manager. I was in over my head, and did it to the best of my ability.”
From there the Q&A session started. It was completely devoid of threats, criticism, or even complaining. The session went on for well over an hour, with engagement from all members of the team, and a very active group of participants that seemed more interested in expressing support for, and getting to know, Jay and his team. In case you don’t feel like watching the entire Q&A session here are the question highlights that related to the Super Action Squad Kickstarter.
Q : When will Super Action Squad be playable?
A : The team emphasized that the game is not cancelled, but that they’re not sure when it will be playable. Jessy Catterwaul, SAS’s graphics and sound programmer stated that putting the game on hold allows the team to “focus on making pieces of the game, technology and such that will go into the smaller games. This will help make SAS better.” The short answer though is they’re not entirely sure. Hang in there.
Q : In response to the team stating that they’re focused on generating income to help the SAS development, someone asked how they plan on doing that.
A : Team members working day jobs to help support one another, and the aforementioned smaller games. No details were given on the smaller games, as the team said they would rather the product speak for itself.
Q : Has your rep taken a hit? How you plan to rebuild trust?
A : The team stated they didn’t feel their rep took a huge hit, and that they care about people liking Exploding Rabbit. Their plan going forward is to not over promise, and deliver the best product they can, stating “”Everyone on the team wants the project to succeed, and everyone did their best. We would rather put it on hold and do it right.”
Q : Someone asked about the Unity engine, and the problems they had with it.
A : Jay mentioned that he’s been looking at several other options that people have suggested to him, and implied that Unity will not be used going forward.
Q : A backer bonuses and stretch goals intact?
A : The team said they are going to honor all of the bonuses, backer rewards, and stretch goals as much as they can, and may have to work out compromises in certain situations. They’ll be offering refunds to those not satisfied with the proposed compromises.
The rest of the questions related to Super Mario Crossover (no updates planned), Unity limitations (not great for 2D games), favorite games when they were kids (not a lot of mention of Mario surprisingly), the game development documentary (trying to copy Tim Schaffer is expensive), and a lot of expressions of support and sympathy from those in attendance.
The session ended with the Exploding Rabbit team committing to doing more Hangouts in the future, and Jay giving another apology wherein he emphasized that the game is not cancelled, he intends to deliver on everything that was promised, and that he and the team will be focusing on rebuilding trust.
Overall the entire session was extremely positive, with parties on both sides of the screens carrying themselves in a mature and friendly manner. Imagine that.