Back in March of 2015, Canada based Berzerk Studios secured CA$ 4,329 on Kickstarter. They were in the process of developing a horror inspired 8-bit ARPG called Infernax. After the campaign, the team realized they weren’t happy with the work they’d already completed. They decided to rebuild the project from the ground up.
A recent Kickstarter update has placed another roadblock in development. Berzerk announced Infernax is being put on hold temporarily while they work on two other projects. Fortunately, they haven’t forgotten their 278 backers and are working to make things right with them first.
“We believe in accountability. We promised something, you paid for it, but we couldn’t deliver in time.” the update said, “Why should we get off scot-free and still get paid?”
The decision to increase the scope of the game had also increased the budget. Bezerk was determined to fund the rest of development on their own and deliver Infernax to their backers. Six months later they released Zombidle on web, iOS and Android. Last month they were at PAX South showing off their latest project, Just Shapes & Beats. It didn’t take long for the team of five to realize that working on 3 games simultaneously wasn’t working for them.
Clearing Your Plate
After taking careful stock of their priorities, Bezerk decided they would make more progress when their other projects were completed. This way when they returned to work on Infernax they could give it their full attention. Not wanting to drag their backers on a prolonged journey, they made the commendable decision to refund all of the campaign pledges. Backers would also retain their rewards.
“With this refund, we are adhering to the core principles of Kickstarter. It’s a wonderful platform that is sometimes abused. We don’t want to become one of those vaporware projects that vanishes and, in doing so, takes a backer’s trust. This is us trying to be part of the solution instead of the problem.”
With no automated system in place, the team will need to process each refund individually. Backers will receive the full amount they’d pledged, less one cent so they retain their pledge rewards.
Frankly, this is the sort of thing I wish we saw more of in crowdfunding. Even people who’d never heard of Bezerk Studio before now might check them out in the future. They do right by their fans. Funds may be fleeting, but earned trust from your backers will continue to pay off for years.