After facing a long and complicated (yellow brick) road, American McGee of Spicy Horse Games has canceled the struggling OZombie Kickstarter campaign.

The game was supposed to offer a zombie-infested take on L. Frank Baum’s classic story, The Wizard of Oz, but after facing licensing issues with another Spicy Horse franchise, Alice, development was stopped.

In May, Spicy Horse Games announced it would develop either OZombie or Alice: Otherlands, but not both due to limited resources. The Ozombie Kickstarter went forward, and McGee included Alice film rights into the fundraising campaign. Those film rights were removed from the OZombie campaign last week.

McGee hoped to start a separate campaign for the Alice film rights, but as he mentioned in yesterday’s Kickstarter update, “the submission has been rejected multiple times and our appeals have failed (multiple campaigns are not allowed). To launch a campaign for the Alice film rights we must first shut down the Oz campaign.”

Looking at the numbers, it seemed unlikely OZombie would reach it funding goal anyway – a fact that McGee himself acknowledged. 

“Second, we wouldn’t consider shutting down the Oz campaign if it were trending towards success,” McGee wrote in a Kickstarter update. “As it is, we’ve reached 15% of our goal with 20 days left in the campaign. Projections suggest we’ll hit 30% of our goal by campaign end.”

Earlier this year, McGee turned to Kickstarter to fund a free-to-play action RPG, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. The project reached its goal in February.

[Source: Kickstarter]


Our Take
This story exemplifies one of the drawbacks of Kickstarter crowd funding. The consumers are at risk of being sucked into the politics of licensing and company policy. Spicy Horse did an admirable job of frequently updating OZombie's backers, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that these past few weeks have been a confusing jumble of shifting goals and changing names. Hopefully McGee's next move will be more grounded.