Developer Perihelion Interactive promised backers an immersive sci-fi RPG experience in their Kickstarter for The Mandate. Over 16K backers pledged their support, raising more than $700K back in 2013. Now, despite significant delays and dropped features, Perihelion has released a new update scaling back the game’s vision even further. Backers have had enough.
In their initial update, following four months of silence, the team simply posted a link to their community forum. Backers didn’t appreciate this apathetic approach. Perihelion corrected the oversight by posting the update to the campaign page, but its content did little to ease backer’s concerns.
Firstly, the update confirmed what many in the community have suspected. The team working on The Mandate has decreased significantly since the campaign. The devs attribute this to ongoing funding negotiations with their publisher. This confirms another popular theory, the project has run out of money.
The Writing On The Wall
With the team depleted to a handful of core members, large aspects of gameplay have been indefinitely put on hold. The current focus has shifted to the team’s heavily altered vision for the game’s space combat. Despite previous claims that combat had shifted to 2D, the team has released a survey in order to “validate our hypotheses” of what backers expect. A move which has left some backers questioning if the devs even have the ability to create the game they’d originally promised.
“The updates have made it clear that these dudes never had any idea how to do this and misrepresented themselves and their capabilities in the pitch,” backer, Jared87 wrote.
Our previous MIA coverage indicated that many backers were still hopeful for The Mandate. However, years of missed deadlines, ambiguous content cuts, and scaling back on campaign promises seems to have destroyed any remaining goodwill. Currently, the consensus is that the project backers pledged toward is no longer a consideration. Instead, The Mandate will be lucky to release as watered-down husk of the promising sci-fi RPG backers signed up for.
Visitors to Perihelion’s forums appear equally agitated. While the developers will occasionally answer direct questions from their forum community (a privilege mostly denied to Kickstarter backers) they are very selective about what they are willing to comment on. This has lead to instances where they omit important information on the premise of questions being “quite subjective,” or “too specific.” Basically, the sort of information the people who funded this project would find most valuable.
To Fix An Issue, You Must First Acknowledge It
From the tone of the updates it’s difficult to tell if Perihelion even realizes what a precarious position they are in with backers. Rather than address the agitation they’ve caused they seem content to just stumble blindly onward. Seemingly just hoping things eventually sort themselves out. For their current development timeline they stated they “have several hypothesis,” for how it will play out. All dependent on future funding.
It’s difficult to determine from the blithe manner of their comment if they honestly believe their publisher will continue to fund this project. Perhaps, they are merely buying themselves another few months to pretend that things haven’t crashed and burned around them. The Kickstarter money is gone, the project isn’t what was pitched, and their community has turned against them. Despite the dev’s insistence that things are still progressing, The Mandate may be in its death throes.