In what is sure to become a cautionary tale for Kickstarted videogames, thousands of players of SuperCrit’s debut title, The Stomping Land, have been left out in the cold when one of its artists confirmed that project lead Alex “Jig” Fundora has stopped communicating with the team.
The artist, modeler Vlad Konstantinov, wrote the following in TSL official forums last January:
I’m sad to say this but I have to temporarily freeze all my work for TLS project. More than a month has passed since the day when I received the last reply from Jig. I’ve sent him 5 messages and haven’t got any single reply. I don’t know, probably he has some serious reasons to ignore me (and whole community) but to my mind there are no excuses for such behavior. Not to mention the fact that Jig owes me the money for the latest model, he’s put me in a very difficult situation because now I will have to pay our texture artist for his work from my own pocket.
Konstantinov added that he would have to sell the dinosaur models he created for the game to help cover his losses.
This is the latest development in the troubled game’s brief history. It began life as a Kickstarter project in May 2013, envisioned as an open world survival game in the age of dinosaurs. The concept caught on with the community, and it was funded to the tune of $114,060, well over its original $20,000 goal.
Shortly after, it passed Steam’s Greenlight process and was made available as an Early Access title for $24.99.
In September 2014, TSL was removed from Steam after it became apparent that the developers were no longer in communication with their backers. Numerous updates promised in the Kickstarter drive never came to fruition, and the game’s public relations person quit after a lack of communication from Fundora.
The most disturbing implication of these developments is the revelation that players who donated to the game’s Kickstarter will be unable to get refunds. One backer who reached out to the crowdfunding site’s customer service received this reply:
I do see that we’ve reached out to this creator in the past to remind them of their obligations, as well as our expectations regarding communication. I’m sorry they haven’t yet responded to you and other members of their backer community.
If you feel as though this creator has not made a good faith effort to complete their project as promised, we’d appreciate if you could share some feedback about your experience using our Project Feedback Form.
We expect all members of the Kickstarter community to act with honesty and openness. When we find that people are abusing the system or the trust of others, we do not hesitate to suspend their account or restrict certain account privileges, like launching another project. We have a dedicated Integrity Team that monitors our system and reviews reports that we receive from our community. While we can’t speak to the nature of specific projects that have been approved or declined, we’re constantly working on improving our vetting process for creators and we are grateful for the feedback that folks like you provide.
The Stomping Lands has returned to Steam, still in Early Access form, and is available for purchase. Given the latest news, you’d have to be quite mad to even consider purchasing it.