Winterkewl Games' lead developer Kris Vale has published a frank accounting
to the studio's Kickstarter page for Yogventures
that lays out how the Glendale-based indie developer managed to spend nearly half a million crowdfunded dollars without making a game.
You may remember that in 2012 the popular Yogscast YouTubers teamed up with Winterkewl and successfully Kickstarted development of an open-world sandbox game called Yogventures
Earlier this month Yogscast announced that the game has been cancelled
and that it would attempt to "make things right" by giving Yogventures
backers access to TUG
(The Untitled Game
), an open-world survival game that is currently in development by Nerd Kingdom.
Now Winterkewl has reported in a final backer update
how it spent its $567,665 Kickstarter take, which was pared down to an estimated $415,000 in usable funds after Kickstarter and Amazon took their cuts.
Notably, the studio decided to pay 6 different developers a lump sum of $35k/apiece upfront in exchange for their work on the project. This proved troublesome when, after roughly two weeks of work on the game, one developer left his day job at another developer to accept a job at a new studio with a contract that prevented him from working on Yogventures
He allegedly refused to return his payment, and the loss of that $35k reportedly caused a falling out between Winterkewl and Yogscast that led to the developer returning the remaining ~$150,000 to the YouTubers so that Yogscast could manage the fulfillment of backer rewards and the hiring of another developer.
Development continued for a year and a half, but though the indie developers reportedly "produced a huge number of assets for prices that by their normal work a day rates were really really low," Yogscast decided to publicly cancel the game, which "came as much as a surprise to me [Vale] as to anyone" since Yogscast reportedly did not privately notify him before doing so.
"Too many design changes and my in-experience as a project lead and programmer were what's to blame for our company never really making what it was we set out to make," wrote Vale. "I'm afraid Winterkewl Games has a negative balance at this point. We don't have any of the money left and as such can't really offer refunds."
Developers, take note: this is a particularly public example of what can happen when an inexperienced team lands a Kickstarter windfall, and it's worth reading Vale's brief accounting of how things went wrong over on the Yogventures Kickstarter page