We recently wrote about Kewpie-Jazzy’s plagiarized Kickstarter campaign. It was heavily molded after Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter page, which under normal circumstances would be okay. However, there were some near identical images and paragraphs. Even one of the FAQ responses was lifted straight from Yooka-Laylee. Developer DokyCamp has made changes to the campaign since, removing some of the header images and rewriting parts of the campaign.
A lot of these issues seem to come down to inexperience; the fact that English isn’t the developers’ first language doesn’t help either. DokyCamp apologized to me multiple times for their poor English throughout our correspondence, and it’s why they say they borrowed from Yooka-Laylee so liberally:
“At first we structured our Kickstarter inspired by Yooka-Layle because we think that Playtonic did a awesome job to present the Project. So we tought it was a good idea to present Kewpie-Jazzy in a similar way. Some of the text were placeholders that were there untill our English corrector changed it.”
The Kewpie-Jazzy Kickstarter also lacks much information about the developer’s previous experience. They make note that this isn’t their first game, but don’t say what any of their other projects are. Well, among their previous efforts are Side Effect, Aeris Adventures, and Sonic Souls. You could argue that one of their previous games being a fan game doesn’t bode well when Kewpie-Jazzy is effectively a fan game itself, but Sonic Souls is free at least.
The $100,000 budget is a big ask for a team with so little experience, but it still may not be enough. Its not unusual for a game like this to command much more than that. Playtonic asked for around $230,000 for their Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor, and raised over $2.7 million. In that regard, you could say they’re not asking for nearly enough. When asked about a concrete budget breakdown however, DokyCamp didn’t name details, simply stating the money would “hire more professionals and be able to reach the quality backers deserves.”
One of those “professionals” they’re going to have to hire is a new composer. Grant Kirkhope, a highly touted player on the Kewpie-Jazzy team, left the project the day the Kickstarter launched. He announced the move on Twitter mere hours after the Kickstarter went live, something DokyCamp seemed surprised by. In the replies to the tweet, Kewpie-Jazzy’s official Twitter page can be seen questioning the move.
It appeared that Kirkhope didn’t tell the developers he was quitting, leaving DokyCamp in a difficult spot.
Kirkhope confirmed to us in an e-mail that he left the project, saying it came down to a scheduling conflict: “I thought I’d be able to do it but then something I’m already working on changed so I just couldn’t fit in working on [Kewpie-Jazzy].” DokyCamp, for their part, says this tweet was indeed the first time they got they news, but Kirkhope did email them beforehand; they simply had not seen it yet.
This is a big blow to the campaign, no doubt. As DokyCamp made clear in their tweets, Kirkhope’s salary was factored into the Kickstarter budget. Without him, that’s presumably a decent sized chunk they no longer need but can’t reduce from the goal due to Kickstarter’s rules. It may seem odd that he would suddenly find himself with more work not long after the Kickstarter went live and news of the plagiarism broke, but both Kirkhope and DokyCamp denied that this had anything to do with the move.
In over their heads
DokyCamp seems to be in over their heads. They were cordial enough, and always reminded me that English isn’t their first language. There’s little doubt in my mind that their intentions are good, and they want to make a great game. But the Kickstarter campaign itself is dreadful, and the back and forth on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and the kerfuffle with Kirkhope are enough to sink a campaign before it begins. I’m not sure how they got Kirkhope in the first place, but he gave DokyCamp a level of legitimacy they don’t have anymore, and desperately need.
At time of writing, Kewpie-Jazzy has sits at just $489 from 17 backers. Even with the updated Kickstarter page and a new gameplay video, there are too many questions and uncertainties. Nobody should have to ask a developer about previous experience. There should be a clear breakdown of what the money will be for. Sure they’ve got a breakdown on the Kickstarter page, but their claims to me and in the new FAQ section run counter to it.
DokyCamp should shut down the Kickstarter and work on the game for a few months with whatever resources they have. Then come back – maybe in the new year – with a better pitch and a smaller funding goal.
There’s still a lot of promise here, and that’s why we need to be so critical. If DokyCamp doesn’t take on the feedback, then maybe a future Kickstarter developer will. In the meantime, 3D platformer fans should keep waiting.