[dropcap size=big]U[/dropcap]nforgotten Quest was the game project and personal baby of YouTuber, BruceWillakers, also known as Robert Moran. The campaign ran from November 18th, 2012 to December 18th, 2012. It closed out with over $118k raised, a feat I think it achieved purely on salesmanship alone, because game details felt slim for the planned scope of the project, and the actual gameplay footage looked like something from a flash game off of Newgrounds. Once the campaign was completed, one backer-only update was released April 3rd, 2013, then another public update May 14th, 2013. In the latter update, Moran urges backers to check out the latest posts to his (now defunct) blog.
Then there’s absolutely nothing. It isn’t until a backer posts this comment, helpfully pointing his fellow backers to Robert Moran’s Unforgotten Quest Tumblr blog. There we are able to see some news. The latest post? Grim.
It’s there that we learn Robert Moran separated from his wife in 2013. Why is this significant? Because apparently Moran’s wife was the lead artist for Unforgotten Quest. I can’t think of anything more devastating than that. It’s often said that you should avoid getting into relationships with co-workers just to avoid poisoning the work environment with ill feelings when the romance ends, but it’s a little less typical for a married couple to split while working together on something like this. And this didn’t just have emotional repercussions for Robert. This also had financial repercussions, because marital separations are expensive don’cha know?
But I think Moran was right to say that he probably should have canceled the project after his marriage ended. His decision not to resulted in backers being strung along for years, left (for the most part) with a deafening silence regarding the fate of Unforgotten Quest. In his latest post on March 12th of this year, Moran states that he has no idea when he’ll do the next update, explaining that the last time he even worked on the game was late January 2015. Moran also “reminds” backers (as if there’s some sort of previous update they can easily consult) that he is no longer lead programmer, but just project manager and designer. He goes on to (essentially) say that due to a sloppy amateurish game design document from five years ago (that they were still using for some reason) he has to rebuild his team.
What really astounds me about all of this is that there isn’t any talk about offering refunds. Not only is this game not in any way close to even releasing an alpha demo, Moran has basically promised in his Tumblr update to resume his poor communication on the project. He justifies this by stating he’s focusing on his YouTube channel to raise funds for it, and while he does have 130k subscribers at the time of this post, I just can’t see why Moran can’t assign someone else to take over the responsibility of updates. This entire campaign was such a mess that t-shirt rewards haven’t even been sent out yet, and as Robert mentions on Tumblr, all the money raised from Kickstarter is already gone.
Aside from having yet to offer a refund, Moran’s conceited expectation that his backers will just magically be able to follow along with his choppy game updates across his various social media sites is ludicrous. If a backer has to post the right website for up-to-date information in the comments, something is seriously wrong.
Update 5/16/15: Robert Moran released a video update on his YouTube channel that included him talking for a few minutes on what went wrong with Unforgotten Quest, and why he decided to keep silent about his divorce. That reason? He wanted to keep his private matters private. Understandable, but still an insufficient reason. Not because I think he needed to air his dirty laundry, but because I don’t see why he had to. As many people know, there are many reasons a game project can fall through, and all he had to do was state any one of those reasons as to why the project could no longer continue. Moran has misled everyone already just trying to keep his personal life secret, I don’t see why this would have been so hard.
It is still my opinion that, as hard and as sad as his marital circumstances were, there still needed to be some better attention paid to solving the issues that arose, and until now, backers didn’t even get a fraction of that. Whether or not people get their money is sort of moot, because as already stated, all those funds from Kickstarter are gone. The point is accountability, and the idea that Robert Moran is somehow beyond that just because he had a hard time is a sorely misguided notion.
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Read more Kickstarter MIA articles right here for more sad crowdfunding tales.