Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are popular platforms to get ideas out to fans. They’re also a good revenue source that, hopefully, cuts out a publisher or third party investor. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out this way. As of the latest update, developer Dreadlocks announced some financial woes regarding their ghost hunting adventure game Ghost Theory. And things don’t look good for them.
Whatever the reason, a project can fall on hard times money-wise. Whether it’s due to them going through funds way too quickly, or underestimating the amount really needed to finish a game, the result is usually the same. It’s rare for a project that I’ve backed to not go over their budget. And this is certainly the case with regards to Ghost Theory. They’re almost out of money and have had to make some hard decisions.
There are a number of problems cited by Dreadlocks in the update. The most notable one being the inability to bring in a publisher or third-party investor to help out. There’s also the problem of the sales from their previous game, Dex, drying up. As such, they’ve announced they had to cut almost half of their planned content. None of this is appetizing to those of us who gave our money to what we though was a worthy cause. It’s really reflected in some of the comments.
Even if we are to ignore the fact that they are looking for a publisher to help finish Ghost Theory, we still have to wonder about the missing content. We also have to wonder if the game will ever get finished. Aside from the 40% cutback, asked for by the publishers they went to, development has slowed to a crawl. Dreadlocks doesn’t want to push too much until they can secure something. Anything, really.
Here’s the thing. Sites like Kickstarter are usually to get ideas off the ground. However, they’re also there to get funding from fans. One often touted reason developers go through crowdfunding is to cut publishers out of the deal. At the same time, the asking amount is usually way too low for them to sustain development. Some creators have had to go with a publisher, dipping into their own funds, or “double dipping” with a second campaign.
What does all of this mean for the continued life of Ghost Theory? It’s hard to tell at this point. However, unless Dreadlocks gets more money soon it might look like the game might never see the light of day. I like to be optimistic in my investments, but it’s also hard not to see the problems the game currently has.