Untamed Isles (opens in new tab), a “monster-taming turn-based MMORPG” that found great success on Kickstarter, has been put “on hiatus” due to crypto crash (opens in new tab)-Kickstarter backers It is being told that there is no money left for refund.
Support for the Untamed Isles 2021 Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) raised a remarkable $527,000 – more than four times its initial goal. It created “a completely open-ended game with unique areas for friends to collect, PvP, trade, breed monsters, clear dungeons, and play through the story of socially untamed islands with open voice proximity communication.” promised the world.”
It also boasted a “play to earn” model in partnership with Direwolf, which enables most items and all monsters in the game to be “tokenized” and bought, sold or traded in various markets or in-game. auction house. Unfortunately, a commitment to crypto is where it all went wrong.
“We brought over 70 staff members on board to work on this project and we’ve been working tirelessly for over 2 years to create the game we’ve all been dreaming of,” said developer Phat Loot Studios. Wrote on Steam (opens in new tab). “The truth is that the cost of development is high and there were a lot of obstacles in our way at the moment. Since we started the journey in 2020, the economic landscape has changed dramatically for cryptocurrencies in general and cryptocurrencies in particular, And we don’t have confidence in the current market. We have run out of financial resources and we can’t continue with the growth at this point in time.”
Phat Loot said that it was “leaning in the cryptocurrency market and expanding rapidly on the back of positive interest,” which left it in a volatile position at the time of the crash. It is added that Untamed Island is not primarily a crypto-based game, but funds from crypto investors are necessary to finish and launch the game.
“Unlike many projects caught in a storm, we have a really great game design that can stand on its own two feet,” the studio said. “But until the crypto situation is resolved – and we believe it will at some stage – then we will have to hibernate development on this project.”
“Cryptocurrency State” is a brief description of the market collapse that has plunged cryptocurrencies to their lowest prices in years. External factors ranging from the general global economic malaise to the Russian invasion of Ukraine have had an impact, but the bigger issue is the inherently risky and volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. Hacks have caused millions of dollars in damage that, as we said, after the $200 million nomadic robbery in July (opens in new tab), have started to look like weekly events. Even when criminality is not involved, crypto’s basic ethic is at best: Last week, for example, Riot Blockchain (unrelated to League of Legends studio Riot Games, for the record) effectively sold $7 in bitcoin. million was able to be mined. Free in Texas by taking advantage of state subsidies, despite the fact that Texas is in the midst of an ongoing energy crisis.
There is also a growing backlash against cryptocurrencies and NFTs among a wider audience: the free-to-play Autobattler storybook controversy followed review-bombing in March (opens in new tab) The developer was bought by a cryptocurrency exchange, and in May Wikipedia announced that it will no longer accept cryptocurrency donations.
Phat Loot explained in a livestream last week that things began to go sideways when MMOByte posted a video in July apologizing for supporting Untamed Islands and rejecting crypto games in general: Host Stix in the video. Said he is “very strongly against those specific kinds of games.”
Another setback came when 2016 Pokémon World Champion Wolff Glick, who was hired to help design the Untamed Isles combat system, appeared on Twitter, speaking out against the NFT aspect.
Originally the aim of the game was to implement NFTs, but when I talked to the team (and some external factors) they decided to move away from it. There are no crypto or NFT features implemented in the game itself – the only one remaining is an (optional) external market5 August 2022
Phat Loot said those events created a cascade effect that caused other mainstream media companies to cancel planned coverage; The influential people in line to take the game forward also started to back down. Pre-sales fell significantly below anticipated levels – only 50 pre-sales were made instead of the 2,000-3,000 expected.
However, the more important long-term issue was the impact of the crypto crash.
“We had some fantastic investors who were willing to put several million dollars into the project we were working on through raising and selling various equities of Fat Loot tokens,” the studio said during the stream. “It was all going really well. Then the crypto crash happened and we lost that funding very quickly. Investors saw the market crashing – and to be fair, they are right to do so because these very These are uncertain times in the global economy.”
Fat Loot decided to launch Untamed Islands in October in a more bare-bones state, in order to start fleshing it out (and generating revenue), ahead of its original schedule. But the studio was burning through “close to NZ$100,000 ($62,700) per week” in wages and costs, and the developers felt they were “not going to be able to make revenue from our launch to keep the lights on.” were.”
Unfortunately, while investors were able to dodge the bullet and refunds would be given to those who had already purchased the game and Phat Loot tokens, individual backers on Kickstarter and BakerKit are out of luck. The Kickstarter campaign promised that a full refund would be issued to all supporters if Untamed Islands failed to launch – and many supporters have asked for one – but an FAQ on untamedisles.com (opens in new tab) The question says that refund will not be available because, well, there is no money.
It’s turned out to be about as well as you might expect (which is to say, not quite right) and some proponents are even upset that the project was based on cryptocurrency in the first place.
“Why on earth would you invest in cryptocurrency?” Written by a supporter (Opens in new tab). “It’s fake money! It’s all a scam! If I had known where you were leaning, I would never have gotten involved. If getting a refund, I want mine. Oh my god, when will people realize that Is crypto a huge scam?”
“Refund ta. Didn’t return my money for including it with crypto,” wrote another.
This confusion about Untamed Isle’s reliance on cryptocurrency apparently stemmed from the fact that there’s no mention of it for more than halfway through the Kickstarter campaign description — it’s there, but at least it’s there. Kickstarter backers aren’t the only ones who have complained about the lack of transparency. MMOByte’s Stix made the same complaint in their video, saying they didn’t know about the crypto integration because “they also mention ‘play to earn’ until you scroll down about 60% of the page.” Huh.”
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(Image credit: Phat Loot Studios)
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The game’s presence on Steam (opens in new tab) may also contribute to the confusion, as Valve banned all games involving NFTs or cryptocurrency (opens in new tab) from Steam last year. Its presence may be explained by the fact that the Steam listing doesn’t mention cryptocurrency integration at all: hiding that aspect of the game doesn’t look great for its long-term future on the storefront, but the upcoming ones in the project via Steam. Gamers will not be given any indication of the presence of a cryptocurrency integration.
In a statement released today (opens in new tab), Phat Loot said that it did not invest funds raised through crowdfunding and “traditional investments” in cryptocurrencies, but called it to halt growth due to the return of investors by crypto. was forced to. Crash and “negative sentiment associated with Web3-integrated games.” But in my thinking, this opens the door to questions about the timing of the announcement: We wrote about the cryptocurrency market “experiencing an unprecedented crash” back in May (opens in new tab), yet Phat Loot has preordered. The campaign launched (opens in new tab) on August 1, just ten days before everyone was put on hold, giving no indication that the game was in trouble.
Phat Loot’s founders stated that they are now “looking at ways to salvage both the core studio and the game to complete it and release the track along with other potential titles.” There’s no indication of when that might happen, though: the studio said in its most recent livestream that traditional publishers are kept away from crypto, while crypto investors are doing nothing because of the poor market conditions.
Interestingly, Phat Loot said it probably could have raised enough money to launch Untamed Isles—the problem is what happens after that. “We cannot gain traction or follow through marketing and there is no revenue in crypto right now,” the team said. “How much money can you raise until you start the game and it burns a hole in our team, and we lose it?”
I’ve reached out to Phat Loot for more information on the status of Untamed Islands, and will update if I get an answer.