None of us enjoy watching a well-meaning Kickstarter effort fail. Whether it’s the little guy with the great idea or the haggard ancients piecing together a new piece of RPG lore, there are plenty of success stories, but there are plenty of failures that don’t get much attention. Being a haggard ancient, the campaign for Gas Powered Games’ new MOBA/tower defense title ‘Wildman’ was already getting some attention, but only a few days in, GPG’s head honcho Chris Taylor, whom you remember from Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, and most recently for finishing Age of Empires Online, came online in an update to potential Kickstarter investors, nearly in tears.
Taylor explained that they had just let off most of GPG’s crew because of their near-insolvency. Rather than keep them on for the remainder of the Kickstarter campaign, he let them off with benefits. Then he explained to the camera that if their Wildman Kickstarter doesn’t meet its goal of $1.1 million, they’ll be close their doors entirely and release the remaining skeleton crew. If they get their funding, they’ll rehire a few of the people they just let go.
All of it sounds a little fishy, of course. Penny Arcade Report’s Ben Kuchera comment caught my eye.
At no point in their Kickstarter campaign did they explain that this was a last-ditch effort, nor did they explain that other work may, potentially, fall through and cause such a dastardly scenario. I never became a big GPG fan, but I wish all of those former employees well as it’s obvious that no one knows where the company’s going at this point. Will yet another MOBA/tower defense game really keep GPG’s coffers stuffed for very long as DOTA 2 hits its stride or as the entire genre has hit its peak? GPG is going for what’s familiar and safe, but I know they’d probably get a few dollars out of me if they went for something a little further outside their comfort zone.
Unfortunately, the comfort zone isn’t something that can be applied to GPG at the moment.