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Haunts: The Manse Macabre is a turn-based, horror game where you can play as the haunts or the intruders. PC/Mac/Linux and Ipad plans.
1,214 backers pledged $28,739 to help bring this project to life.

More on Single Player

Posted by Rick Dakan (Creator)

Right, so, I totally hear you folks who are disappointed about the single player campaign not coming together.

I will refund the pledges of anyone who feels cheated, absolutely. 

Let me explain a little more. I spent a LOT of time on the single-player story campaign. Built many levels, wrote many scripts, watched many movies, and have a very detailed outline that took months to figure out. 

And it's not fun to play. It's just not. That's my fault of course, and maybe someone can figure out a way to make it fun, but we've tried and haven't seen a path from here to there. The pace of the game was ponderous, and the ratio of engaging story bits to exciting gameplay was proving impossible for us to balance and for it to be fun. And the most fun was from the combat moments and the hide-and-seek aspect of maneuvering around the house. 

We decided to concentrate on making the game that's as fun as we can make it, rather than trying to force something that just wasn't working.

If you feel cheated, I understand. I'll personally refund your money. I would ask that you wait and see if the demo/beta seems fun to you. If not, if you still feel cheated, then absolutely, I will give you all of your money back.

Thanks again for your patience and support.



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    1. Missing avatar

      Alex Earp on

      Once again, I really want the Single Player, is there a chance that we'll get to try it at some point in the beta?

    2. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      The way the word "investment" is used in financial transactions, KS campaigns are not soliciting funds from investors. KS and the campaign organizers would be in a world of legal trouble if that's what they were doing. You can choose to call it an "investment" if you want, but it isn't.

      The reason I'm insisting on this point is that backers are being misinformed if they are told "it's an investment, and therefore it's risky, and therefore you can't complain if you don't get the widget."

      It's not an investment, and it certainly isn't gambling. You are told that if you pay X money you will get Y product. If you pay X money and you don't get Y product, you have every right to demand X money back. That's a breach of the promise made to you---or a breach of "contract", if you wan't to be a legalistic nitpicker.

    3. Margaret McFee on

      Also, no SP makes me sad. I'm not really a MP gamer.

    4. Margaret McFee on

      I think one could argue best (in court and elsewhere) that it's patronage; A short-term patronage with a specific commission promised. Not a patron/vassal relationship as once the end goal is produced, that's the end of the relationship. And not an investment, per se, as once the promised article is delivered there's no future dividend and no expectation that you've you still have a stake in the company's success or dealings.

      I've been thinking about this a lot for a different reason, just thought I'd toss that out there.

    5. Missing avatar

      Juhani Nurminen on

      The investment tied to a Kickstarter pledge is the game that will be out later on. That is your gain. The gain is not financial, but it is still investing, as you put money and expect to gain something from it, but it is also possible that nothing will come out of it. At the same time, you're not simply donating, as you have something at stake for yourself.

      Perhaps the word investing, from a legalistic nitpicking standpoint is not correct, but in essence that's what it is.

    6. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      KS is not "investing". It can't be investing, for legal reasons. You aren't investing in a project with an expectation of financial gain. You're either pre-purchasing a product or you are donating. That's it. It's not an investment. Period.

    7. Missing avatar

      Nelson Ruger on

      As a diehard SP fan, I look forward to your update tomorrow. I'm not one to back away from a commitment (though a lot of ex girlfriends might argue against that), and I would heartily encourage you to let your supporters have a good hard look and keep working on it. I, for one, would rather see a delayed SP campaign that's clearly fantastic than see it dropped. I can't speak for everyone, but I know for me the story is so much of why I play games. I'm thrilled to hear the MP element is awesome! And I firmly believe you guys can knock out an even more stellar, engaging, and downright spooky SP game. As for now, you still have my enthusiastic support, so I wait with baited breath for whatever you can share with us tomorrow.

    8. Barac Baker Wiley

      Okay, now you're really confusing me. To me "The single-player story was not fun and is now effectively gone" reads as having eliminated any sort of story-based singleplayer, instead having the singleplayer be basically just multiplayer with bots. I am emphatically not interested in that sort of gameplay. I am totally fine with levels being self-contained stories, however. The branching campaign with decisions and whatnot sounded great, but is much less crucial.

    9. longbeach on

      @Rick, I think that is the gist of what many of us expected. That the Mansion was the main character and each era (level) has a story to tell but not really affect the others. Perhaps some tie-ins could take place between eras, but we'd have to see what the gameplay is to determine what would make sense. And I see that if you don't bother with a full campaign through all the eras, and make it more like individual episodes/puzzle levels with good story settings that tie into that current level's playing abilities, that would be very much what people were expecting.

      And happy to know that the A.I. is not a major stumbling block. That can be tricky when unique gameplay is involved.

    10. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      I need to be much clearer about what the single player is going to be like - it's certainly not a flash game with no AI. Individual levels will have AI you can play against and stories associated with them and unique characters and events, there just won't be a vast overarching campaign decision tree that runs through them all - each level is a distinct story.

      I will have a big update tomorrow.

    11. longbeach on

      Also, as an early backer in the $250 tier, this change does drastically affect my pledge since there seems to be no reason for: "A cameo role in the history of Tyree Manse! Your name will be given to one of the characters in the century-long saga of our haunted setting"

      This seems very much an afterthought now. A lot of people got interested in the history and how it would evolve over the years. Something like American Horror Story with all the great ideas from the history of horror movies you said you were re-watching.

      What you are now delivering seems like a basic flash game with no A.I.

      If this is the case, I would have to ask for a refund even though I really had high hopes for this project more than most of the 10 or so kickstarters I pledged this summer.

    12. Missing avatar


      I'm relieved to hear that you're once again considering Single Player after hearing everyone's feedback. I doubt I'd ask for a refund, but multiplayer games don't interest me as much.

      I'd also be willing to bet that your single player portion so far was a lot more entertaining than you thought. A new player would be seeing all of those plot revelations for the first time, and that makes a big difference.

    13. longbeach on

      One thing good about Kickstarter projects is that you have avid fans that can help. Can you release the unfun beta to us? Perhaps we can crowd source our way back on track? Is the A.I. proving to be too daunting? That's what I hear when you say the Multiplayer versionis the way to go. I think lots of us love the single player concept you conjured and feel you just hit a wall and feel guiltly that no product for Halloween will be available unless it just ships as multiplayer.

    14. John Billings on

      Sorry, not interested in MP at all. I'll be needing a refund please.

    15. Don Riddle

      i'll wait a little longer for the beta, but I funded for the single player and will probably want my money back. I think you've given up too easily on what you set out to do (i.e. told us you were doing). If you can't get a decent single player campaign out of the game after spending "so much time" on it, I doubt the rest of the game's that good. Which is disappointing for such an intersting premise.

    16. Anthony Voss on

      A couple things:

      1. Thank you for being so open about this process. That is the only way these projects should be done.
      2. I have zero interest in multiplayer. The single player mode was the reason I bought this. However, you seem eager to rectify this situation, and for that I feel you deserve far more than what little I was able to give.
      3. This speaks to a larger issue with Kickstarter-funded projects that few people are prepared to confront. From all appearances, a lot of work had gone into this project prior to the KS campaign, and yet at this point in the process, donors are now confronted with a product that may ultimately be not at all what they thought they were paying for. I feel that people frequently compare a KS pledge to a "pre-order", when it should be more accurately thought of as "speculative investing". It could turn out that you get way more than your initial donation would normally garner you, or it could be that the company turns out a lemon.
      4. I wish you a lot of luck, and I hope you don't lose very many pledges over this. You definitely still have mine!

    17. Ziffy "zifnabbe"

      As told in previous update... I like the sp mode. I also don't exactly understand what the real issue is. You've an AI, so it should be possible. You've already put a lot of effort in it, so you've the materials. However i've totally no experience, so i don't know what i'm talking about. In agree with one of the commenters that you throw in the towel quickly (although i read that you've put quit some effort in the sp). In none of the previous updates you mentioned about sp issues, so this news came out of nowhere and is hard.
      I can't ask you for a refund, because (a) because of my pledge lvl, you already have done some other tasks and it's only fair to pay you for this, (b) i do like the statement of your company (but i've to admit i've to rethink about future projects), (c) this just a possible outcome/risk... I honoustly didn't expected this could be such a project, but this is just as normal life. I'm a little bit disappointed, but because of your honesty and recent replies I'm still a believer. (but I learned my lesson for other ks projects)

      However: to recap your replies: (a) you'll include some sp in the beta, (b) you do listen to your backers and you're still looking at a solution for sp. (c) a lot of backers are going to look into the sp and with effort of everyone we might solve the sp issue... (d) i see a lot of backers, really want a sp... so I think there is no real option but to look for a solution. (e) your team does like the mp... so mp might still be fun : -)

      So there is still hope.

      ... I do hope this is not an idea to create suspence...

      Ps. Is the game only playable through the internet? I hope it also works on local networks.

    18. alcaray on

      I guess that this was an alarming level of negative feedback to the announcement. In any case, and regardless of what changes you come up with, please keep my cash and good luck to you.

    19. Michele Mazza on

      @Fuzzy Puffin, I agree that bad is worse than nothing, but those of us who suggested to include SP anyway actually believe it wouldn't be really bad, and could be improved with some feedback.
      Turn lovers would probably appreciate it more than Rick expects.

    20. Chris Williams on

      Well that sucks. I'm not really that concerned about getting back the five bucks (though I imagine others might be, especially if they pledged more than that), but the game is much less compelling now. A bit of a shame, tbh.

    21. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      You don't need to use the word "cheated". If you won't be able to accomplish your single-player goal, and are willing to return my money, then return my money. I won't get offended unless you delay in the refund.

      And for the rest---KS is not "investing"; you're pre-purchasing a product. If they can't deliver the product as advertised, get your money back. If you want to just give them money out of the kindness of your heart, that's your right. It's not tax-deductible.

    22. Missing avatar

      PinkPiggy on

      I like single player campaigns. Perhaps once the game is published, I'll try to make one as a user. Keep my money, finish what you can, and I suggest tapping the creativity of the user base for interesting stories and campaigns.

    23. Missing avatar

      Marsell on

      A pity, but part of funding a kickstart is the understanding that things won't always work out as hoped. :)

    24. Missing avatar

      Cris J Holdorph on

      Single player was all I was interested in playing. I won't ask for my money back, but I also won't play it or recommend it to anyone else (because I haven't played it) until single player is there.

      I understand as a kickstarter backer I was an 'investor' of sorts. And I understand not all investments work out. But completely punting the single player content is a big disappointment.

    25. sinisterandroid on

      Add me in for "maybe revisit single-player later down the road". I'll be honest, single-player was a big selling point for me, but hey – I understand, things change during development. By all means, focus on what makes the game fun!

      But I want my cake *and* to eat it, too! ;) After it's all done, why not go back and try again to see if there's a way to make single-player fun. Maybe it'll be easier once the multiplayer is done & polished. Or maybe there really isn't a good way to reconcile the two, and that's cool, too.

    26. Missing avatar

      Andrzej Krakowian

      Why don't you just release it as MP game now, and then add SP mode? Or just move release date to spring 2013, and during that time work with beta testers on SP game.

    27. Anders H. Pedersen

      I was only in for the SP campaign. I have no need for MP games.
      But I'm OK with waiting for the beta and see if what is offered is acceptable.
      Let's see where this one goes.

    28. Missing avatar

      Brad Denby on

      Yeah, it seems like a clear choice to add single player later when it's ready.

    29. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      OK, soooo - just to let everyone know, there will more, and I think encouraging news on the Single Player front, based on your responses and some talking I've been doing with the team and others. So, there is some middle ground to be claimed here, and we're going to try and claim it. More details as soon as I have them finalized!

    30. Yuri on

      I'm disappointed not to have SP campaign, but keep my money - I appreciate you making a game for Linux. Maybe you add SP later - I'm ready to wait while playing some other KS releases. Two things I love in games - stylish artwork and interesting story. You have both of it, as I can see. Don't give up!

    31. John Falcon

      I pledged in the belief that there would be an SP mode, but I'll wait to see what the definitive version of the game is....if there is no SP then I'll be requesting a refund......I do not want to experience another ELEMENTAL type fiasco here.....

    32. AndonSage on

      @Rick Dakan: I'm another person who backed "Haunts: The Manse Macabre" for the single-player game. I haven't made up my mind about requesting a refund, but I wanted to say that what I'm most disappointed in is that you've given up already :( It's only been two months since the Kickstarter ended, and you're throwing in the towel for SP. I don't know how many internal testers you have (I'm guessing it's at most around 20, although I could be wrong), but you've got 191 players who backed at the $35-beta level and up, so use them. Or you've got over 1000 players who pledged at $5-$25 and you could ask who among them would be interested in helping figure out the single-player. I was a computer programmer for over 25 years, and even if my programming was only business applications and databases, I never gave up on a problem. Not once in over 25 years. I hope you don't either.



    33. Fuzzy Puffin on

      I would like to add, I disagree with those who say a bad singleplayer is better than nothing. I'd rather have nothing than something bad. Only do it if you can make something good that you'll be proud of. Otherwise, what's the point? (And this applies to the final version, not the beta. The beta would be a great place to solicit feedback for the SP to see if there's a way to make it fun.)

    34. Fuzzy Puffin on

      I'm not interested in a refund, but it would be nice if you could throw in an extra copy to gift, for all backers, since we're getting half of what we were promised. It would have the added benefit of enlarging the initial pool of multiplayer players, as well. I'm nervous that there will be few people to play the game with, at least initally, because many people here seem to have no interest in MP.

    35. Missing avatar

      Kris Johnson on

      I have no interest in MP.

      I will wait and see what you do with the beta, but I funded this for $25 because the world needs more SP turn-based games.

    36. Michele Mazza on

      Like most people here I am not interested in a refund.
      But I believe this kind of game is meant to have SP.
      Some of my favourite games are turn-based, and I think a mediocre SP you already put a lot of effort in is better than no SP at all.
      If you failed at making it good, it's probably better to listen to the community and improve it than to just drop it.

    37. Missing avatar

      Weslee Bilodeau on

      Count me among the group that cares not for MP, as I do not play MP games.
      I also purchased this only for SP.

      Though I will hold out for now to see if the "AI" makes up for it in any meaningful way.

    38. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      @ Keel C: I agree with you on Beta being for working things out - which we still need to do with the multiplayer levels too.

      Single Player, I'm hearing you guys and I'm mulling over some interesting options to get some SP content out there that is fun. I will announce more when I've had time to talk it through with the rest of the crew.

      @ Chris Hamilton: I think you make very reasonable critiques that are totally correct, just wanted to clear up our intentions, but I see you totally understand where we're coming from, and I appreciate your response and support.

    39. ScaniX - Silent / Friendly / Axe owner on

      As I am not part of the backers who get to beta test this I cannot wait until I checked it out and can only ask for a refund. :(
      How will this work? Is there a definite date where you will have decided whether to provide the real game instead of the MP? Up to when do we have to tell you that we want a refund and by which means?

    40. Missing avatar


      Betas are for things not working and/or things not being polished - we signed up for things not being in a finalized state! Even if the action/story balance you feel is "not fun" others would very likely disagree with you.

      Please let us know if SP will be in beta?

    41. Chris Hamilton on

      @Rick - I apologize if you disagree with my choice of words. My only point is that the project that was represented at the time of the Kickstarter is looking to be something significantly different than what many backers were led to believe (i.e. a "lengthy" or even "not-so-lengthy" single player campaign).

      For what it's worth, I absolutely appreciate you being as up front about this as you can I think it's very noble of you to offer refunds to the disappointed parties. I also personally find it preferable that a developer such as yourself has enough integrity to not deliver a lousy product merely to meet your base level obligation and instead prefer to at least provide the best possible overall product you can.

      Backing a Kickstarter is a risk and anyone doing so should be aware of that. Backing a Kickstarter is different than buying an already finished product and it is always disappointing when that investment in a developer or project does not pay off, but that's part of the game. We backed your project because we had high hopes for the product you planned to deliver. As is somewhat evident, some of us are just disappointed that we're not actually likely to see a final product entirely resembling what we were backing.

      I wish you the best of luck all the same!

    42. Missing avatar

      Juhani Nurminen on

      Frankly, I didn't really care much for the concept of a singleplayer campaign in the first place. The multiplayer is why I funded the game(and at 35$ I got 7 copies which will go to my friends.)
      The idea of a multiplayer house of horrors game is genius in my opinion. If I wanted a storybased, singleplayer game, I could play a roleplaying game or a boardgame(like Mansions of Madness), which I do every now and then. But a competitive game where you play against your friends, instead of with them, is what I've been missing.

      That said, even if you decided to make only the singleplayer version of the game, I wouldn't complain. The nature of Kickstarter is more akin to charity than anything that gives you the right to complain about your consumer rights. Sure, if a charity goes totally different from what they advertised or swindles the money, you can get angry, but with limited resources comes the need to funnel those resources into what they are most efficiently used for. If you feel that you can make a really good multiplayer, instead of an average single- and multiplayer game, then I'm more than happy that you decided that. And if you failed to ever deliver anything, well, that's the risk you take when you pledge money to Kickstarter. Never pledge more than you can lose without getting angry.

    43. Missing avatar

      Craig Gilchrist on

      In fact, I pledged $10. Get me; Mr Moneybags!

    44. Missing avatar

      Craig Gilchrist on

      I definitely think it's a good idea to leave as much of the single-player in for the Beta guys (I only pledged $5, which I think precludes me from Beta access). Maybe you're just overlooking something really simple in the single player (too low a spawn rate for ghouls, too large a map/team-size ratio) that's affecting the pacing. I've just put 30 hours into Ghost Recon Shadow Wars on the DS, in spite of it's awful/redundant story. The reason it's kept me interested is that there are (quite) a lot of missions, that vary, together with good classing/ranking.

      It sounds as though your mind is made up to get the multiplayer solid for the release, at the expense of the single player, but I do hope you don't write the single player off altogether. Use the kickstarter beta guys as a hive mind to figure out why SP isn't as good as it could be, and you'll have a wider audience as a result.

      I'm more a fan of single-player campaigns that skirmishes or multiplayer, but if the AI is solid, I'm sure even the vs. AI on the MP maps will be fun too. Looking forward to it, and thanks for keeping us all up to date as frequently as you do. The feedback from the backers should help steer you in the right direction - a more "sketchy" (as that is the word of the day) dev might have just silently dropped a feature and sprung it on backers at release...

    45. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      @Chris Hamilton

      Again, I am sorry and we failed. I guess I'd quibble a little with the word "disingenuous" since we genuinely believed and were working on the lengthy single-player campaign for a long time. I also genuinely believe that it wasn't something that was good and I didn't feel comfortable selling it or putting it out there.

      I also really believe that I owe a full refund to anyone who no longer is interested in the project.

      Thanks again,

    46. Stavros Tsiakalos on

      I'm alo disappointed. I will gift my 5 copies of the game to people who may actually appreciate the game now and most likely no longer touch it myself. I'll not ask for a refund, as I accepted the risk when I decided to back projects on kickstarter.
      I am glad tha Rick is honest, keeps us in the loop and is doing the right thing by offering refunds.

    47. Chris Hamilton on

      @Veav - It's not particularly "sketchy" to pull out as you say when part of what we were backing was (and I quote):

      "A lengthy single-player campaign tells the house’s horrifying history and unlocks new denizens and intruders to use in the game."

      What I find much more "sketchy" than wanting to pull out at this point is the developer delivering a product that is far different than the one backers were pledging to support. In other words: Rick, it was disingenuous for you to ask the community to support a product you aren't able to deliver.

      I'm not requesting a refund for my small contribution at this point, but I am disappointed in the way I see the aftermath of this Kickstarter unfolding.

    48. Missing avatar

      AJ on

      While disappointed about the loss of single player - I won't be asking for a refund, though I do think it's a class-act thing to offer. I hope that doesn't set you too far behind finically.

      Incidentally, are there plans to put this project on greenlight?

    49. Michael Ramsey

      I am fine with multiplayer since that was why I got onboard.

    50. Chris Hamilton on

      @RIK FONTANA - Some people pledged more than $5 (in some cases a lot more) and if they're disappointed that what is being delivered is a different product than they pledged to support I can see why they'd be disappointed about this.

      I can personally confirm that although I only pledged $10 I'm quite disappointed to find single player completely scrapped at this point when that was the only aspect of this game I was really interested in.