[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he story of One Final Breath by Dark Day Interactive is a surprisingly long one. You may have just heard of it thanks to a Kickstarter campaign running right now, or if you’re like me, you may have remembered seeing this game seek funding previously. Obviously, there’s nothing new about some Kickstarter projects restarting themselves after failure. Every so often we even see successful campaigns come back for another round of funding after they realize what they originally asked wasn’t enough. But, when I see something akin to the events that have taken place with One Final Breath… Well, let’s just say it doesn’t paint a very positive picture. That’s why I’m bringing this post to folks now when some may have backed the current campaign without being totally aware of all the events which transpired since last year.
So, let’s return to when the story began. It was in October 2014 that Dark Day Interactive launched a Kickstarter for their horror game One Final Breath. This upcoming PC game was stated to take place primarily in a decrepit boarding school and even offer Oculus Rift support. Thanks to an ever-present love for horror games, the project made its way through Steam Greenlight with ease. Some of that may have had to do with their early demo which was released to all interested parties. Unfortunately, all this wasn’t enough to get the team to their funding goal of approximately $6,191 (converted from AUD). Instead they raised around $1,000 USD and as such canceled the campaign three days before its scheduled end. But, they kept spirits high by promising a new Kickstarter soon.
And that’s exactly what they did — with a strange aside. During October an Indiegogo campaign for One Final Breath also launched. It has since been deleted (and was unsuccessful) but these tactics of double dipping aren’t held in high regard with crowdfunders. Dark Day Interactive did address this, though. As it turns out, the Indiegogo “was auto launched” and so they stopped it. It’s entirely possible they prepared their pitch on the site before deciding to use Kickstarter, and then forgot to cancel their Indiegogo one. I can certainly believe that, even though it speaks to a bit of a management/organizational problem within the small team.
One day after they canceled the first Kickstarter campaign, a new one went live for One Final Breath. Unlike some campaigns, they did actually make a few changes to their pitch. Instead of using a video which simply showed gameplay in a tiny postage stamp window, they provided a full screen view of their horror experience in its alpha state. They also tossed tons of YouTube Let’s Play videos of their game at the top of the page before recycling the original page’s text underneath. The key issues of this Kickstarter were not addressed, however. The game was still in the same alpha, sort of iffy state, and the game still felt a lot like other horror titles out there. YouTube also failed to draw more attention. As this campaign wound down, it ended up with a few less backers although now it had raised closer to $1,187 of the substantially lowered $2,549 goal.
This time Dark Day Interactive waited five whole days before launching their third crowdfunding push for One Final Breath. Despite running it during a very busy holiday time in the U.S. (December 22 – January 21) it finally succeeded! Of course, that much seemed given when they lowered their funding goal yet again to about $1,092 — more than they had raised by the last project’s end. That, despite the fact that this time their page had the lowest effort copy/pasting yet. The formatting was removed along with most of their images (aside from backer reward photos). It was still for Rift and still a PC exclusive game. It’s worth noting that through all this the developers promised a very brief development period. The first and second Kickstarter promised the game in January, while the third stated February 2015 as the launch window.
So, that’s the end of the story, right? Nope, not in the least. There is an interesting detour, though, with a game by the name of Once Bitten, Twice Dead. In March, this game was posted as an update to backers as another PC project by Dark Day Interactive. With a cute pitch, but rather lofty $14,567 goal, it failed. There’s a few things to note about this. For one, this Kickstarter was run under the username of Dark Day Inc — an account that is now deleted. Secondly, they did actually launch this game on Steam but it has attained a mostly negative user review score. This tactic of creating a new account is important to note because their next jaunt on Kickstarter utilized the same tactic. Finally, a recently released YouTube video from an apparent past associate explains his unfortunate stint with these developers which paints a pretty poor image for them (if it is true, of course).
Months after One Final Breath’s successful funding in January, an update was posted on June to let everyone know that they had “login issues” with Kickstarter. This was apparently why they couldn’t provide updates. The week after this post, they revealed the news that they were now eyeing a multiplatform release with One Final Breath. This is when they confirmed another Kickstarter might be necessary, and promised backer rewards which were (strangely) never offered as a tier before. This included goods such as a boxed copy. With that said, they specified this was just for console versions, and that the PC release was still going to go out to backers of their third, and only, successful project.
True to their word, about a week after this update yet another Kickstarter went live for One Final Breath (now a PS4, Xbox One, and PC release) on June 22. At this point, it appeared they had seriously rebranded the game. Now the Kickstarter title was called simply “Final Breath” even though all the imagery and text beneath still referred to the title as One Final Breath. Dark Day Interactive also had a brand new Kickstarter account. This is their third, if you’ve been keeping count. Luckily, these months between relaunched campaigns allowed them time to seriously update their pitch. Instead of copying and pasting for the umpeeth time they added new screenshots, video, text, and in general just had a far more impressive page. Interestingly, they asked for the same goal amount as Once Bitten, Twice Dead of $14,567 USD. Despite a stronger presentation, they raised just $5,057.
There are multiple things to note about this specific campaign. No longer was Oculus Rift just a feature of the game. Now they were saying things like “hopefully we can add this feature [Oculus Rift] with our stretch goal.” Their Kickstarter page also failed to mention anything about the three campaigns they ran for One Final Breath previously. They at least let backers of the previous one know, even if they were left unacknowledged otherwise. That was the last time those backers received an update. They would have never otherwise known that One Final Breath had been pushed from February 2015 to a November 2015 launch, and that Oculus Rift support was no longer guaranteed.
So, with all that said, this fourth Kickstarter was canceled on July 10 due to insufficient funding and once again the team shared they were planning on re-evaluating and launching another one. As the story goes, on July 10th (yes, the same day!) they launched One Final Breath for the fifth time. Here they returned to their tactics of copying and pasting text, with a few tweaks. A few new, cool comic-book style pieces of artwork were swapped in and *one* mention of One Final Breath’s suddenly episodic nature was shared on the main page. Considering the game was now episodic, it makes sense that they would have a lower funding goal. How low did they take it? It dropped to about $2,716 which is half of what they actually raised last time. This tactic certainly isn’t new to Kickstarter, but it’s always a bit suspect.
Dark Day Interactive did actually finally respond to comments backers were making about their previous campaigns. In their very first update on this Kickstarter, they provided some answers. Weirdly enough, it appears they faced legal issues, which forced them to tweak a few aspects of this version’s campaign. They also finally shared with new backers that, yes, a successful campaign had already occurred. What they failed to mention with these answers was what exactly those backers will receive and when — do they get the complete package or just the first episode now? Also, why did they have to run a new campaign for consoles? Could they not have just decided it was enough to have finally succeeded on their third Kickstarter and let that be it? Apparently not, though of course they have not clarified themselves enough for anyone to really know why.
Backers have certainly begun to raise questions. It’s true, that some did in previous iterations of their campaign, but never so much as in this current Kickstarter. The comments are filled with questions and, for the most part, Dark Day Interactive fails to respond. They acknowledge everyone’s opinions but that’s about it. What do we know based off their latest comments? The developers now intend to release One Final Breath Episode One “next month” on Steam. With that said, they also shared they’d showcase a rough Vita version “later in the week” a week and a half ago. But it’s not all a downer. They have provided refunds to backers who have asked for them.
As of this writing, One Final Breath is just about $600 away from success. This means that Dark Day Interactive are just two weeks away from a second funded Kickstarter for their game. If their upcoming release date proves true, then it seems like this should be their last campaign. They even commented that “the game won’t be making kickstarters each episode!” Forgive me if I find it a bit hard to believe all that is going on now that we’re five campaigns deep with this one. The concept of One Final Breath is good enough, and some find it an excellent-looking upcoming horror game. But, the slight changes from project to project, and an inability to speak clearly and answer questions that are directly asked makes it harder to support the developers behind it. We will be sure to keep you informed of any further updates to the saga of One Final Breath.