Unforgotten Quest Devs Remember They’re Making a Game

Entirely too often, Kickstarter campaigns are funded only to have their creators vanish into thin air. While this might make some backers claim “scam”, most of the time, it’s just unprepared developers being hit with the reality of game development. Making a game is crazy hard, and very few Kickstarter campaigns take that into account.

Unforgotten Quest is a side-scrolling co-op RPG with… Wait, let me get this just right… “Loot, Levels, Skills, Classes, Quests, Bosses, Humor, Multiplayer, and most importantly, Time eater!” While those keywords in that particular order might not actually make sense, the project they’re attached to looked promising when it was successfully funded in December of 2012. Robert Moran and team managed to raise $118,824 for their dream project despite having no artists on-board, bringing in the backers with interesting gameplay mechanics and a solid roadmap of the game’s development.

The first backer-only update came in April 4th, followed by a May 5th update directing fans and backers to the developers’ other websites. After that, over two solid years of silence. Two years. Not a single post to Kickstarter.

Now, without going into how unprofessional and shameful it is to leave backers in the dark for two years, this would usually be enough to make any reasonable backer pack up their interest and leave. Luckily, this story has a happy ending. Defying every expectation in the world, the developers of Unforgotten Quest have started updating again, for better or worse. Before we go into the actual content of the update, I want to take a second to give the devs kudos for coming back to the project.

New artist, new races.
New artist, new races.

When it comes to the actual update, I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly where the last two years went. The first paragraph introduces Kay, a new artist that’s been working on the project since the beginning of 2016. Kay was responsible for the artwork in URealms Live, which seems to be a fairly extensive, tangentially-related YouTube series where the game’s devs play a “URealms” flavored version of Dungeons & Dragons via Tabletop Simulator.

Whether or not they’re playing an original creation looks pretty irrelevant, because the game backers paid for isn’t a D&D clone – it’s a side-scrolling co-op RPG, and that game does not exist. A couple paragraphs down, we see the developers more or less admit that they have made very little progress over the last two years. It looks like they decided on an engine (Unity) and they’ve got a few in-game assets (which aren’t final, because this update was posted before the team’s artists started work on the project).

I highly encourage you to go take a look at the update page yourself and draw your own conclusions, because while this is the first time I’ve seen this project, I am floored by how little the developers have managed to accomplish. I think that Unforgotten Quest could be a great game, and I’m very interested in playing a well-made co-op side scrolling action RPG with Time eater. Unfortunately, it looks like the devs are more interested in making cartoons and Let’s Plays than finishing the game they were paid over $100,000 to complete.

The latest, greatest gameplay screenshot.
The latest, greatest gameplay screenshot.

Keep an eye on this project! If the devs manage to get their tish together and start actually making this game, it could be something really worthwhile. Unfortunately, after two full years and $118,824, the developers have three gifs, a screenshot, a page of concept art, and a terrible cartoon spin-off to show us. (As well as dozens of hours of the devs playing Tabletop Simulator on YouTube instead of working on the game). The final paragraph of this update, posted on December 23rd, promises an imminent video update which has, so far, not been posted to Kickstarter.

 

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Nathaniel Liles
Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/.
Nathaniel Liles
  • More than almost any other Kickstarter failure this one bothers me the most. At least Marksym Pashanin (Confederate Express) keeps his head down, this developer ignores his backers in plain sight while collecting $2,500 a month via Patreon.

  • Octavia

    It is stories like these that make me highly selective on what projects i back on Kickstarter.

    Whether a project collects one-hundred or one-hundred-thousand dollars, there is absolutely zero accountability on the projects end, no checks or balances on the donators end.

    Kickstarters interest in any project is limited to assuring they get their cut of any money raised. From there on everyone involved is basically operating on trust and the honor system.

    Which perhaps works well in lending a friend 20$, but when proposed projects get into dealing with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, people should not just be able to vanish without a trace taking all raised funds with them.

    This was always one of my largest pet peeves with Kickstarter. They create a system that is easily exploitable by anyone with a good presentation (Confederate Express, as Greg mentioned, is a great example), proceed to profit exceptionally well from it, and at the same time say “well, we are just a mediator”. If problems arise.

  • The Kickstarter was a kind of paycheck as well, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that’s happened with that.

  • I’m a Dragon!

    I already posted this first paragraph on Reddit but I really think that both the author and the readers get to hear my 2 cents on this article.

    This is such a mediocre article. It’s really nothing, I mean it’s structured well but it just isn’t worth it. The article near the end just whines about how Rob finally have “gotten his tish together” about making this game. It fails to give any new information and is just a “then and now” sort of thing. It also fails to mention how Rob’s then wife was the main artist and then left the project due to the separation. The article looks like it was cobbled together because the author couldn’t find anything else to talk about. I really don’t think this author really looked at other sources besides glancing at Rob’s channel and the actual Kickstarter page. Really just passable journalism.

    There are a couple pretty glaring mistakes that really damage this piece. The “terrible cartoon spin-off” was made BEFORE and was the whole reason the game got created. Also Rob is the only confirmed dev on the YouTube show, the only exception is nisovin whom was on the show as a guest as a one time thing.

    I’m not trying to slander you in anyway dude but when you make a poorly researched article that insults the creator and just gives more misinformation out there it really just shows that this is the first time you’ve seen this project.

    However it is fascinating how an outsider looking in is seeing the situation. Granted an outsider that doesn’t look too deeply into things but an interesting perspective nonetheless.

  • Aiden McMinimy

    Come on guys, do a bit more research than that. Robert did have a lead artist on his team, his wife, that he ended up getting divorced with, costing a lot of money and sending progress screeching to a halt. Taken from the urealms.tumblr.com page (literally the fifth option down if you google “unforgotten quest”):

    “Last year I talked about how something big came up with the project that caused these delays and that was the separations of me and my wife in 2013. For those who don’t know, she was the lead artist and a massive part of the project. For all intensive purposes, the project should have been cancelled at that point because splitting up is a massive financial burden and losing your partner in a project this big is a killer. I don’t share this now for your pity, but your understanding.”

    Obviously that isn’t to say Robert didn’t fuck up a bit, he definitely did, but you guys clearly didn’t research this topic at all past the kickstarter page.

    • I’d suggest rereading the article, and also remember that it was published almost a year ago.