Backers left in cold as devs quit Kickstarter project

Backers left in cold as devs quit Kickstarter project
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

October 19th 2012 at 1:12PM

Haunts: The Manse Macabre developers leave despite unfinished work on horror title

Backers of a Kickstarter project have been left without a game after programmers quit the funded project mid-development.

The turn-based PC/Mac horror title, Haunts: The Manse Macabre, raised more than $28,000 from 1,214 contributors after setting out to make $25,000 to fund development. This is also after developer Mob Rules Games had invested $42,500 on the game prior to taking to crowdfunding.

More than 20 backers pledged $250 or more for the title, whilst another donator generously invested $7,000 into the project.

Taking to the game’s Kickstarter page to reveal the bad news, creator Rick Dakan said the principal cause for the “dire condition” of the project was that there were no longer any programmers working on it.

The game's lead programmer has moved on to work back at Google, as had previously been planned, and no longer had enough spare time to make progress on the title.

The second programmer on the project also quit the game entirely to take another job, with Dakan claiming the developer no longer wanted to work on the title in his spare time.

Dakan said the main game had all of its systems in place, but currently had numerous bugs.

As well as numerous bugs, development for online play took three times longer than estimated, requiring adjustments to programming for all level in the game.

Despite the development turmoil, Dakan insisted he had not completely given up on the project, and was in talks with Blue Mammoth Games to take on the project, who he said had expressed an interest in taking on the game.

He stressed however new potential partners would not be able to make a decision on taking on the project for another few weeks, with the game still months away from release even if it was picked up.

“It’s been terrible to watch it fail despite best efforts, but the failure is mine,” said Dakan.

“There are scores of decisions I’d make differently if I had to do them over, and there were bets I made knowing the risks that haven’t paid off like we needed them to. I have failed to update because things were constantly going from bad to worse and then we started to see some rays of hope and I was hoping for something more concrete in the good news department.

“My obligation to all of you generous Kickstarter backers is foremost in my mind and I have not served you as well as I should have.”

Dakan told backers that he would personally refund anyone who wanted to withdraw their support – although it is unclear what the limit of this may be.

Many contributors on the project have offered their support in the comments section of the Kickstarter project, despite the problems.

One backer who contributed $250 however, whilst still supporting the game, said the stumbling blocks to the title’s development should have been discussed earlier, and was concerned over whether some elements of the game matched the initial description.