Kickstarter MIA: Panic Over Dungeon Panic
by Julie Morley
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]here to begin, where to begin…
Dungeon Panic was an ambitious project launched on Kickstarter back in December 2012 by three gaming enthusiasts: comic veteran Josh Lesnick (NSFW Comics: Girly, You Suck), John King, (main developer), and comic artist and animator Severin Piehl (Tove). Dungeon Panic was planned to be a mobile roguelike for Android and iOS devices. The concept was so well received that it raised over triple the original $4K, knocking out several stretch goals in the process which added extra content and characters. Dungeon Panic was the teams stepping stone project, or the project they were going to get their feet wet with, before working on Princess Panic, an action adventure puzzle-oriented platformer with RPG elements about two princesses essentially trying to save one another after hearing they were kidnapped.
The problem is that Dungeon Panic’s development hasn’t been all too successful and people are cheesed off, and with good reason.
Before the funding period for Dungeon Panic was even finished the developers were making updates left and right about new character designs, game features, debating whether to pursue PC and why not to, and just the general progress of development. Bottom line: things were going smoothly, even the backer’s first comic page was posted. Unfortunately, after that there were nothing but comic pages for weeks carrying on until February 17th, 2013, when the team first announced that they were having some setbacks. John King explained that there were some complications with the overworld generator and it needed some “tweaking.”
A month later, the overworld generator was fixed and there was more progress with the sprite design. The following month, more music was implemented but that was about it. In May 2013, more characters were added into the game and things were looking a bit promising for a soon to be Beta. A number of backer only updates followed, until July 23rd when backers were assured that their rewards were on the way. After that, comic pages and silence from the developers until the end of August.
September 18th, the John and Josh finally updated everyone and it wasn’t pretty. On John’s end, development really lagged down due to a fight with “some pretty heavy depression and anxiety issues, plus the awful Texas summer heat.” Despite these complications, John seemed comitted to push onward with development. Most importantly, he explained that they were aiming for a release of some sort in October, either an Alpha or “pre-Beta.” According to Josh, “Dungeon Panic was meant to be a quick, simple, and cheap project to help us warm up and yet we still underestimated how long it’d take.” Things had slowed down but still seemed to be moving along in September 2013.
The following week, the team revealed a new side project of theirs, Castlebound, a small in-browser point and click game featuring one of Dungeon Panic’s main characters. Since Dungeon Panic didn’t need any more resources and mainly stood on the programmer’s shoulder, according to the update, the artists wouldn’t lose development time making this Castlebound. The fact that it wasn’t being made with Kickstarter funds was also pointed out, for obvious reasons.
Following that, there were several updates for backers only concerning the state of development spanning between October and January. Then, in March of this year, good news arrived. Much of the programming was just about done and the public Beta was just around the corner. New characters were added, and development was going swimmingly. What could possibly go wrong at this point?
Interestingly enough, in the middle of Dungeon Panic’s development, artist Josh Lesnick launched his Kickstarter for creating a print collection of You Suck, his long running web comic, which was a sore point with many backers for Dungeon Panic. The Kickstarter was funded in April and backers haven’t received their rewards as of yet.
June 10th brought more bad news for Dungeon Panic. The hiatus was officially announced explaining what each member has going on. Josh is juggling his book collection and webcomic, Severin is doing animation work and his own webcomic, and John is struggling with relocating and unemployment. Since then, there hasn’t been any word from the developers on the page, except for a couple “no one panic” style comments in mid June.
So, Dungeon Panic is currently is on hiatus without much to really go with regards to development. Josh has been very active with his webcomic and Twitter, Tumblr Deviantart, and Facebook accounts but not concerning Dungeon Panic. On the Princess Panic site Josh did answer some questions about the You Suck book project. As for Kickstarter, he last logged on November 26th.
There isn’t much else to say regarding the current state of the project or what to expect in the future, but there’s still a possibility that progress is being made behind the scenes, even if it is at a snail’s pace.
Have any news regarding Dungeon Panic you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line!
Know of some other Kickstarter projects that have just dropped off the map? Want us to do some digging and see what’s going on? Comment below, or shoot us an email and we’ll start nosing around.
Read more Kickstarter MIA articles right here for more sad crowdfunding tales.
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/julie.jpg” ]Julie Morley is a freelance writer and comic artist from Spring, Texas. She attended the Academy of Art University for two years, studying Animation and Illustration. Whilst here, she learned about writing comic scripts, storyboards, and general storytelling. Since leaving college, she has been working on personal comic projects, stories, and illustrations. She aspires to release a self published comic within two years. For the majority of her life, she has been playing console games, typically being third-person shooters and sandboxes. Her favorite game of existence is Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle) and her favorite Indie game is Gone Home.[/author]