For those unfamiliar, Yogventures! was an ambitious game Kickstarted by Yogscast fans to the tune of more than half a million dollars, and two years later it brutally, suddenly, and completely imploded. Fans are angry, blame is being flung everywhere, and people are asking what happened. The main developer, Kris Vale, decided to weigh in, giving a fascinating breakdown of how games fall apart.
The gist of it is that Winterkewl didn’t know what they were doing, especially from a legal perspective, and lost $35,000 right off the bat. It was an inauspicious start to something that just got uglier:
Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed each of the principal artists a $35,000 lump sum payment, and we didn’t make any clear clause on how and why someone could legally stop working on the project, the artist in question got paid, worked for about 2 weeks and then stopped working on the project. We had no way to force that person to pay back any of the funds and it was a bitter lesson to learn. Always get every possible scenario in writing or you will have no legal recourse.
From there, the cost of manufacturing and sending out the physical rewards made it impossible to hire a more experienced programmer, and unsurprisingly, that cascaded from there until the game essentially had to be spiked. The whole post is worth a read not least because it doesn’t try to blame anybody else: Vale essentially eats crow the entire post and accepts blame where it appears due.
As for those who paid out of their pocket to make the game, Winterkewl doesn’t actually have any money, so refunds aren’t happening. But, if nothing else, it offers a valuable lesson: Caveat Kickstarter, especially when it comes to games.