There Was Something Wicked About Umdlalo
By Ahmad Khan
A premature Kickstarter launch by an apparently fractured game studio filled with industry veterans, that is what appears to have happened with the Umdlalo Kickstarter.
Something Wicked’s Inc’s Umdlalo might be yet another tragic case of what not to do while trying to run a video game Kickstarter. Touted by its creators as a “A stunning indie RPG set in prehistoric Africa” it did things so spectacularly wrong since launch it launched that that I became mildly dizzy from shaking my head nonstop . While I was still counting the number of broken links at the project’s front-page that I saw Greg Micek’s article going live; the sketchy details cited in there were hanging in front of the reader like a giant Red Flag.
So, why should readers be interested in this story? Because the team behind Umdlalo includes individuals with vast experience in video game industry, that includes working on PS1, PS2, and Atari games, as well as IGN according to their Linkedin profiles. Oh, and they are asking for a princely sum of $575,000 for their Kickstarter project.
It gets even more interesting; when pressed by concerned backers the game creators announced that “A certain overzealous individual (whom is now in trouble) pressed the launch button without warning the rest of the team, and you can see the result.” After some heated back and forth with backers the project creators finally agreed to provide a “…preview of the meta-level in-game interface with a demonstration of the animated game map.” in their first update, which according to them would go live on August 08 at 3:30 (PST). The first update came a full twenty four hours late on August 09, and unfortunately contained much of the same old artwork and renderings that have been public elsewhere. Shortly after the update came a mea culpa message that among other things contained this “…with regard to the speed of my response, please note that I’m am now reduced to effectively being the only person associated with the project…”
One has to wonder why the project creators insisted on keeping the project active for as long as they did when, by their own admission, they are in no position to continue on. The first 48 hours passed by without any significant pledge increase, which according to past trends indicate that the project will not be successfully funded. That, combined with the nearly instant negative reaction among backers should have been a sign. Still, we have seen stranger things on Kickstarter, so it’s hardly surprising.
On August 10th, less than a week after launching and after having raised $353, Something Wicked cancelled the Umdlalo Kickstarter campaign. Let us hope this was a learning process for them that they can use if they decide to re-launch.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ahmadkhan.jpg” ]Ahmad Khan grew up playing video games. A fan of RPGs and Post-Apocalypse games, Khan instantly fell in love with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo that made games like Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity a reality. He also ended up being sort of a whistle blower for suspicious crowd funding project, believing that the venue of crowdfunding should be reserved for the honest and the passionate, not for the dishonest and dubious. [/author]