The magical world of crowdfunding brings promises of retro revivals, fan projects, and dreams come true. However, many people that use the platform overpromise and underdeliver, taking upwards of millions in the process. These five video game crowdfunding campaigns might look promising at first glance, but the writing’s on the wall – they’re shaping up to be scams.
The 5 Biggest Video Game Crowdfunding Scams in the Making
The Good Life
Amount swindled (as of September 7): $217,556
We at Gamers Heroes are self-proclaimed fans of Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro – games like Deadly Premonition and D4 are unique beasts that don’t fit into any clear genres or archetypes. This game developer recently jumped ship from Access Games to create White Owls Inc., with his first project being The Good Life.
However, the premiere trailer for the game doesn’t show much of anything. What was displayed were some crudely drawn still images and some footage of cats.
Swery is asking for a good $1.5 million to make his vision come to life. Some very low poly images have been released in the “super ultra temporary version,” but it looks like a college project rather than the next big thing.
Seeing how he didn’t even finish the story of D4, it makes you wonder what the end result of the project will be.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Amount swindled: $5,545,991
Castlevania mastermind Koji Igarashi has set out to create a new title in the form of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Promising a demon-filled castle reminiscent of the exploration heavy “MetroidVania” games he is known for, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
At least, it did on paper. After raising more than five million dollars in funds in May of 2015, things started getting a little rocky. For starters, the concept images displayed in the Kickstarter received a noticeable downgrade in the preview build, lacking a lot of character.
Perhaps the biggest blow came in July of 2017, two years after the announcement of the game. Inti Creates, who originally handled the development, pulled out for DICO and Monobit to take over. These two studios are known for mobile games rather than console releases, and with this news comes another delay to 2018. It does not bode well for this game, and it makes you wonder where all of the cash is being allocated.
Project Rap Rabbit
Attempted amount swindled: £161,557
NanaOn-Sha and iNiS J are no strangers to the rhythm game genre, with games like PaRappa the Rapper, Gitaroo Man, and even Elite Beat Agents under their belts. Their latest creation, Project Rap Rabbit, had grandiose promises to deliver the next big in the genre.
However, the developers got greedy. The initial reveal had no gameplay video to speak of, along with a hefty £855,000 goal. Those hoping for a Nintendo Switch would really have to open their wallets though, with a ridiculous goal of $4.95 million dollars. This saw a public outcry among even the most devout of fans, forcing the developers to lower the price to a “reasonable” $1.5 million.
Closer to the end of the game’s Kickstarter campaign, the developers scrambled together to release a gameplay video…well, sort of.
Rather than show some honest-to-god footage, this concept has a number of stills on crudely drawn backgrounds that aren’t even colored in. The lackluster singing, though intentionally cheesy, was done by the developer Keiichi, rather than a rapper. The end result was slapdash, and was most certainly rushed.
The campaign failed with £161,557 raised, but time will tell if they try again. Quoting the developers: “We sincerely hope this isn’t the last time you’ll hear of Project Rap Rabbit.”
Amount swindled: $6,333,295
Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue has had quite the history. The original title made its debut on the Dreamcast in 2000 and cost $70 million to make, making it one of the most expensive games ever created at the time.
The Kickstarter for the game was announced at Sony’s 2015 E3 press conference, but Ys Net quietly swapped Sony’s name out with Deep Silver’s in August of 2017. After more than two years since its announcement, only a handful of cinematic trailers have been released, each with some low-quality models and expressionless faces.
There’s no major word on the plot, the gameplay mechanics, the length of the story, or even any of the new character names – just a handful of amateurish trailers. It makes you wonder what Yu Suzuki has been doing the last two years…and what he’s using the six million dollars for.
Amount swindled: $159 million (seriously)
A scam five years in the making, Star Citizen has been lovingly dubbed “Scam-Shitizen” by its many backers. It’s certainly an ambitious sci-fi title, promising dogfighting, MMO elements, an open world, and voice talent by Gary Oldman and Mark Hamill.
Originally announced in 2012, the development team at Cloud Imperium Games have had to deal with court battles, financial issues, questionable project management decisions, technical problems with FPS systems like Star Marine, and even spinoff games like Squadron 42 (which have also yet to release).
As of this writing, Alpha 3.0 has been delayed (again) to September 2017.