It is the classic case of an inexperienced but starry-eyed gaming enthusiast biting off more than they can chew, potentially learning a lesson at the price of thousands of dollars, and leaving many excited game lovers infuriated and with thinner wallets. Rainfall: The Sojourn went downhill from a combination of poor project management, pointing the finger at everyone, and a lack of funds. It seems that looking back now, all the red flags were there. The truth behind what really went down is a bit uncertain considering both sides (curious and investigative backers versus Karim and the staff) are saying different things that are a bit convincing.
Back in January, Greg actually wrote about everything that went down with the Rainfall: The Sojourn campaign and included their most recent update at the time, which was backers only, courtesy of Reddit. His article includes a lot of important information concerning the campaign but I’ll briefly go over it.
In early December 2012, Rainfall: The Sojourn was completely funded and then some on Kickstarter, raking in at about $19K as compared to the original goal of $6. Karim Hussein, inexperienced project manager, launched this Kickstarter aiming to create an amazing action RPG inspired by the great SNES era of gaming.
Now, Karim did not specify the use of the funds but the game plan was about eleven months of development. Many speculate the funding goal to be a red flag from the beginning. But we know for certain that it was a four person team, as explained on the Kickstarter page, and Rainfall would be released on Windows, Macs, and Linux platforms.
So, where did things go downhill?
Signs of management issues surfaced on the ninth update in January, 2013, where Karim announced a change in concept artists, switching from Jasmin to Yuko Rabbit due to Jasmin’s health concerns. With this new artist came some big changes in Talyssa’s character design and the creation of many more to come.
From that point on, things seemed to be moving pretty nicely with plenty of new characters getting developed. Everything was going swimmingly in the art department. Aside from that, there were even gameplay alterations, switching from a Mana-based system to implementing cool downs, as explained in the March 6th, 2013 update. Communication was frequent, development was progressing well, the funds seemed put to good use.
In the April update, things were looking great with the Game Engine considered completed and significant progress with character designs. The next step: tackling the gameplay itself of Rainfall.
And when they came around, the news was interesting but off putting in some respects. According to Karim at that point, “the delay was mostly due to how slow assets were coming in.” By this point, the team had fallen a bit behind schedule and in some cases came to a standstill. But many of the problems had “mostly been remedied.”
Following that update Karim made a few backer only updates. After the September 17th update, Karim fell off the face of the Earth until late December where he posted the backer’s only update breaking down what went wrong with development, why it’s taking so long, and what they were planning to do now; things I mentioned at the beginning of the article. Following this post, the comments on the Kickstarter page and the Reddit page were all over the place with people demanding refunds and trying to wrap their minds around what went wrong. The suspicion was arising, it seems.
A few weeks later, programmer Aaron King/Psy_wombats made a post on his blog concerning the end of Rainfall’s development and officially calling it quits. In his post, he mentions the main downfalls of Rainfall were the “inexperienced project lead” (Karim) and “overambitious scope.” Not much of Rainfall’s development up until that point really had anything to show other than the engine and very basic fight and death mechanics (paragraph four). Using that same engine, Aaron was able to create two games in the meantime.
Since then, Karim hasn’t logged onto Kickstarter since June 17th of last year. Nothing new has been added to the Rainfall tumblr page since September 18th, 2013 and the same goes for the Rainfall twitter account. Since then, Aaron’s been working on independent projects and there’s no sign of Karim anywhere.
Backers did some digging recently into Karim’s identity and his whereabouts, including chats with various team members hinting that Rainfall: The Sojourn may have been a scam, especially since Karim’s been M.I.A. and refused to reveal what the funds were. The only financial aspect he went public about in the comments concerned paying the Sound Designer and him refusing payments, and ensuring Yuko receives payments in January 2014 for her services.
Since then, people who have paid the $10 tier and below have received their refunds, but in some cases after determined harassment and bugging.
Overall, Rainfall: The Sojourn has completely fallen apart and completely cancelled. As for the backers receiving their refunds overall, the likelihood is small but still possible. Backers are still communicating with one another about the matter to figure things out.
Have any news or updates regarding Rainfall: The Sojourn you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line!
Know of other Kickstarter projects that have just dropped off the map? Want us to do some digging and see what’s going on? Comment below, or shoot us an email and we’ll start nosing around.
Read more Kickstarter MIA articles right here for more sad crowdfunding tales.