Developer Scarvenrot has updated backers on the progress of Saintly. If you’re unfamiliar with the project, it’s a strategy RPG with a heavy narrative focus. I won’t waste your time going into any more detail, as you can learn pretty much anything you’d want to know from the project’s Kickstarter page. Instead, I’d like to talk about the campaign itself, Scarvenrot’s update history, and how backers are responding to the recent update.
Let’s cut to the chase: Scarvenrot hasn’t been the best at keeping backers in the loop. Updates were regular enough to begin with, back when the campaign launched in July 2013. However, it soon became normal for months of silence to arise between updates, and at one point, Saintly dropped off the radar altogether from November 2014 all the way up to May 2015. I don’t mean to sound like a school teacher here, but that’s not good enough, Scarvenrot, you can do better. Just apply yourself a little more.
The most recent update, posted April 2nd, is the first since September last year. Interestingly enough, Scarvenrot comes clean about a lot of things. Such as the fact that he was pretty much winging the game’s development, hoping that the game’s narrative and art would carry the project. He’s apparently been off-radar since last year due to personal issues, but in that time he’s also buckled down hard on learning how to, you know, make the game he promised backers, and he’s determined to see something decent through to release.
I’m a little worried at how positively Saintly‘s backers are handling the news. I’m seeing nothing but supportive comments in response to Scarvenrot’s confession. I mean, hey, I applaud the guy for finally coming clean, but still. Running a Kickstarter for a project you don’t really know how to make? Winging it in order to get the game out and make money? Even if the product isn’t all that great? I’d like to draw attention to the campaign’s ‘Risks & Challenges’ section, for a moment:
All of the programming challenges have been met, addressed, and overcome. It’s all smooth sailing from here.
Everyone on the team has a fairly demanding schedule, but we’re all dedicated to producing a quality product that will be a true reward for all of us to see completed.
All of you? For shame, Scarvenrot. For shame.
Moreover, something about this situation really hits a nerve with me. If you’re going to put more emphasis on the narrative and art than the gameplay, why make this type of game in the first place? Why not make a visual novel, or an animated film? Those mediums are better suited for such endeavours. Gaming is the medium of gameplay, of interactivity. If you’re going for a narrative-focused approach, the narrative should be told through excellent game design, not through exposition glued onto a poor game. Sheesh.