Dark Matter dev blames failed Kickstarter for 'unfinished' controversy

Dark Matter... Is it finished?
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

October 21st 2013 at 8:58AM

InterWave developer says the game is complete, but the story won't be without more cash

One of the developers of recent Steam release Dark Matter has admitted the game would have been longer if its Kickstarter campaign had been successful.

Dark Matter launched at a discounted $15 price, but that hasn't stopped fans outraged at the “to be continued” message at the game's ending from claiming they paid for an unfinished game.

One InterWave representative told consumers in the Steam forums that while the studio had planned on making a game 12-16 hours long the 6-8 hour length was all the team could afford.

“No, the full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldnt finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing),” wrote Michiel Beenen under the handle "Viper".

“So, we choose to go with a 6-8 hour game instead to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter.”

The Dark Matter campaign launched on Kickstarter this summer, but only reached 12 percent of its £50,000 goal.

Even so, the studio says the game as such is complete, though the story isn't.

“With a successful Kickstarter we could have made a longer game, expanded the story. But then it would likely have been more expensive too,” said Beenen.

“The current Dark Matter on Steam is a complete game in itself though.”

Given the choice, few developers would walk away from a feature-complete title before release, but it isn't easy to sell episodic games without some serious brand weight and obvious price reductions.

In one sense InterWeave can claim victory; the studio released a title where the biggest complaint is that consumers want more. It's hard to argue that paying users should feel the same way.

A story on Kotaku suggested that the problem might be smoothed over by adding some dialogue before the final boss battle to add tension, but even that probably wouldn't satisfy those who note that the game's description promises 14 levels.

Double Fine faced a similar backlash after announcing that their much vaunted Broken World – the Kickstarter game that ignited the crowdfunding craze last year - would be released as a two-part episodic series after the studio realized they were short on cash.

What should a small team do if they've sunk thousands into a title and can't get the funding to finish their story? Let us know what you think in the comments below.