Former Daybreak CEO John Smedley’s New Company Cancels Limping Kickstarter

by Mike Futter on Jan 26, 2016 at 03:57 AM

Last week, former Sony Entertainment Online and Daybreak CEO John Smedley announced his new company, Pixelmage. At the same time, the studio launched a Kickstarter campaign. The dream isn’t over, but the Kickstarter is.

Smedley announced on Twitter today that the campaign was over. However, Hero’s Song, a pixel-art action-RPG will continue on.

An update on the Kickstarter page adds more details to the reasoning.

Hello Everyone,

After looking at our funding levels and the reality that we aren't going to reach our funding goals, we've decided that the best thing to do is to end the Kickstarter. We sincerely appreciate all of the support we got from the backers and the Kickstarter community. This was our first Kickstarter and we made mistakes along the way. I want to acknowledge that right up front. We put a lot of time and effort into the Kickstarter, but it's obvious missing things like physical goods hampered our efforts. It's also fair to say because we're early that we didn't have enough gameplay to show the game off enough to get people over the hump.

So where do we go from here? Well the good news is that our Investors are backing us all the way and we're going to get Hero's Song done exactly when we said we would. I'm also happy to say that we've been able to do this without having to take money from publishers, something that was of key importance to us so that we could remain in creative control.

We'll be updating you all along the way.. holding development streams (on Cohhcarnage's stream on Twitch) and being completely transparent with our development process. You'll be hearing from us all the time and we'll be updating our website and all of you on a constant basis as we have cool stuff to show.

Thanks again for all the support you've shown, and thanks for the constructive criticism as well. We took that to heart and we've learned a lot from it.

Kickstarter remains an incredible source of both goodwill and community support, and we'll never forget the kindness our backers showed us.

Thanks and we'll see you soon!

Smed and the Pixelmage Games Team.

With Pixelmage continuing on, those who were interested in playing Hero’s Song will still get their chance later this year. For more on the project, you can check out our earlier coverage.

[Source: Kickstarter]


Our Take
While I’m glad for Pixelmage that it will be able to continue development, this raises some questions for me about developers using Kickstarter. Investors are stepping in to fill the hole left by the Kickstarter campaign's cancelation, indicating that they had the wherewithal and interest from the beginning. Their (assumed) additional backing also isn’t spurred by a flurry of community support, as the campaign wasn’t going to hit its target. 

In some cases, Kickstarter is a natural fit. However, when things like this and Comcept’s Red Ash campaign come about, it’s hard to look at the situations and believe the developers needed the community’s cash.