Robotic real-time strategy game Dysis was funded back in November 2012. The trailer and promise of a working prototype in time for Christmas must have made it seem like a safe bet for the 1,167 backers who funded the project. So much so that the developer, One Dimension Games, was able to raise $27, 522 on a $5,000 campaign. The pieces were in place, stretch goals were met, and a prototype was released (only one month late). Not bad for a one man team. Then, after the Dysis prototype was released on Desura in January 2013, the man behind One Dimension Games, Christopher Farrell, stopped all updates to the Kickstarter community.
The updates that did continue were sparse and spread out over several poorly managed social media accounts. Dysis did make it to Steam Greenlight, and there was the Desura prototype, but after that things get fuzzy, especially if backers were relying on the Kickstarter page to keep them informed. In his last backer update, Farrell mentioned that the new Dysis forums would be the best place to check for further updates. When questioned, he assured backers that they would still receive updates via the Kickstarter page, but that never happened outside of a few replies in the comments section.
Now, the Dysis website and forums are gone, replaced with generic holding pages that promise they are ‘under development.’ Farrell isn’t new to technology, he used to build bipedal battle robots with his dad as part of Farrell Robotics, so his almost Luddite usage of social media channels is confusing. All communication just tapers off one outlet at a time until there are no more updates.
Interestingly, Farrell may have made off with even more money then the Kickstarter page shows, since he had set up a Paypal account for fans who missed the campaign to continue to donate money. All told, it’s safe to assume that Dysis took at least $30,000 since that was the required stretch goal to add underwater levels, which were previewed on the Tumblr Dev Blog.
The last hope for Dysis came from a Tumblr update back in January of 2014. Even then there was still no apparent acknowledgment from Farrell that Dysis was in any danger. Rather, the update implied the opposite, that despite spotty communication, Dysis was on track to have a Steam release by the end of the month. While the delay isn’t actually addressed, the blog does explain that the Dysis engine was completely rewritten over the past year. Whether this was to curtail any angry questions about the massive delay and lack of communication is moot since it’s debatable if backers even know the Tumblr blog exists.
Usually when I do these types of stories I get the impression that the projects were abandoned reluctantly, or as a result of some behind the scenes drama. I like to think that anyone who takes money from Kickstater does so with the earnest intention of delivering a product at some point. It might not always happen, but I like to think the intention exists. The utter lack of information or communication from One Dimension Games forces me to rethink this assumption. Perhaps the most damming evidence is that Farrell, or at least someone behind the One Dimension Games Kickstarter account, has logged in as recently as January 10, 2016. I am forced to assume they did so just to twirl an evil mustache while reading the helpless comments of the backers they stole from.