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Another high-profile Kickstarter runs out of gas
Another high-profile Kickstarter runs out of gas
September 19, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

Subutai Corporation has announced via a public update that its Kickstarted title Clang has run out of funding and has reverted to an "evenings and weekends" project until new investors can be found.

In mid-2012, Subutai Corporation and its chairman, novelist Neal Stephenson, launched a successful Kickstarter to fund Clang, a new type of swordfighting game with custom peripherals. The Kickstarter raised $526,000, narrowly exceeding its pledge target, and the developers went to work. Then, in April of this year, the frequency of status updates on the game's development fizzled to nothing.

"Sending out a vague update about inconclusive, ongoing conversations with potential investors doesn't seem nearly as attractive as waiting a couple more weeks for a deal to actually come through," the team says in the new post. However, the company ran into trouble closing any such deal with anyone. "We don't match the profile, or the timing, of [venture capitalists'] fund/investment strategy... Potential investors/publishers are worried about our team."

In short, rather than set the game's Kickstarter goal to fund the entirety of the project, Subutai used the $500,000 funding target to drive the first lap of development, with the optimism it could find conventional funding to complete development down the road. Unfortunately, that funding hasn't materialized.

"The overall climate in the industry has become risk-averse to a degree that is difficult to appreciate until you've seen it," Subutai explains. "While we have been working on Clang, two major video game publishers, THQ and LucasArts, have gone out of business. Others have fallen on hard times. The current generation of consoles is coming to the end of its life cycle. Rather than invest in innovative new titles, the still-surviving publishers tend to keep their heads down, grinding out sequels and extensions to well-worn triple-A franchises."

Combine this risk-aversion with Subutai's own admission that it "punches above its weight," and development has reached deadlock.

Subutai says Clang is to continue on a volunteer basis until further funding can be obtained. In the mean time, it appeals to backers to fund a similarly-minded project, STEM.

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