Project image
pledged of $250,000pledged of $250,000 goal
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, October 31 2014 7:00 PM UTC +00:00
pledged of $250,000pledged of $250,000 goal
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, October 31 2014 7:00 PM UTC +00:00


Posted by Agustín Cordes (Creator)

The time has come to bid farewell. It’s been a memorable month, to say the least, and this final update will be a recap and analysis of a campaign that has many still wondering why in Azathoth’s name it wasn’t funded. As we’re going to see, there’s no easy answer, but first things first:

THANK YOU. Those of you who are here have been extremely kind and supportive. You were as passionate about the project as we were, as can be attested by the sheer amount of shares, likes, and comments. This level of involvement isn’t seen even with campaigns with well over 6,000 backers, and as of this writing you number 1,800. The game has been extremely well received, with overwhelmingly positive comments on its look and feel, character design, and music. The average pledge per backer is an astounding (by today’s standards) $50. In this regard, the campaign has been a resounding success.

Unfortunately, we have to move on. We’re disbanding part of our team as we focus solely on completing Asylum, which is coming along great. Let me clarify that in spite of this disastrous and shameful conclusion, Senscape is in no way at risk, and we have money to deliver an amazing horror game that will stay in your memory for aeons to come. It would have been great to work on two projects at the same time, especially as they share the same roots, but there’s nothing left to do; this was our best shot. As I will explain next, this project required a monumental effort and the launch of the campaign was carefully orchestrated. We can’t easily reproduce that, not without taking more time away from Asylum, which isn’t an option. The same goes for talking to investors and publishers: these things demand time and effort. The whole idea was to produce an amazing game based on Lovecraft’s novel, with a generous budget and no constraints. I don’t want to develop this game under other conditions, and risk not doing justice to the source material. Thus, I’m afraid The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is being put on hold for the time being.

Our big announcement on our Facebook page.
Our big announcement on our Facebook page.

What happened? Let’s try to figure this out together as I review the campaign.

Mini post-mortem

While you were all happy with the presentation and progress of the campaign, three negative things about it come immediately to mind:

  • Asylum. It’s not ready yet, which has rubbed some people the wrong way. However, I explained at length why we needed to do this Kickstarter, and while some unbelievers showed lack of faith, the majority of our backers were happy with this new project.
  • The official Lovecraft license. This was supposed to be tremendous news for the adventure game genre, and while many were blown away with our efforts to bring to video games an adaptation of a Lovecraft story researched to scholarly standards, the news was received negatively in the more hardcore community of Lovecraft fans. I explained our position and the nature of the agreement we have with the Lovecraft Estate in Providence, and the controversy died down.
  • The admittedly ambitious target amount. It may seem like a lot, but game development is becoming very expensive. Even if we scrapped the documentary and the physical rewards, we couldn’t make an adventure game of 8-10 hours with full voice acting and this level of cinematic quality for less money. This isn’t the case with Asylum, which was well into production when we launched its Kickstarter. With a brand-new game it’s different. Still, the goal can’t have been the problem — not when mere months ago games were passing the 100k mark without major problems.

These three points may seem problematic, especially when combined, but they clearly aren’t enough to explain why we haven’t reached our goal. The most troublesome aspect voiced by many — the fact that Asylum is still in production — appeared in a revealing new light when I looked closely into our stats. I compared the list of supporters for Charles Dexter Ward with the list of supporters for Asylum. What I found was very surprising: one third of those supporting this project are Asylum backers, which is far more than I had anticipated. I truly meant it when I said I wasn’t expecting them to back this new project. It turns out that a big chunk of you are reoffending Asylum krazies, so thank you again for yet another vote of confidence.

That 33% is a particularly interesting figure. We needed about 6,000+ people to make Charles Dexter Ward a reality, and, assuming the ratio of new vs. old backers remained the same, this project would have been funded with 2,000 backers, or 66% of all our Asylum backers. That’s a lot. Therefore, Asylum can’t have been the only problem.

Solid activity on YouTube.
Solid activity on YouTube.

But this still doesn’t answer why we aren’t funded. It’s impossible not to notice a sense of apathy towards Kickstarter these days. Previously I would tweet about an adventure needing backers, and experience an outpouring of support with retweets, favourites, and such. Today I say “Kickstarter” and not even crickets reply.

In short, few people seem to be backing games these days, including our own. This can lead to only one conclusion…

Kickstarter is dying

I didn’t want to believe it, because I love the idea of crowdfunding, but there’s no way around this: we are experiencing its decline. It would be a whole different matter if our campaign were an isolated case of plain bad luck, but it’s not — from small teams with modest goals to high-profile developers with solid track records, we’re seeing a very grim scenario where too many campaigns are failing for no other reason than lack of interest. Note that I’m saying lack of interest in crowdfunding, not the games themselves, which generally have received great feedback. October in particular has been a dreadful month for Kickstarter, perhaps the worst I’ve seen, and it’s supposed to be the second month of the Kickstarter year that attracts most pledges. It’s hardly surprising after reading this article by GameSpot claiming that funding for Kickstarter games has dropped by more than half in 2014. How I wish they had posted that before we launched this campaign…

More posts that went viral.
More posts that went viral.

Take Kicktraq for instance. Right now I see barely two games on their list of Top 25 hot projects. Remember the time when the Top 10 alone were all games? I sure do, and it wasn’t that long ago.

Many of you have been saying we should relaunch the campaign, but this was our best shot. There’s no way we can achieve again the momentum we had during the first three days. I can’t stress this enough: the announcement of Charles Dexter Ward was huge. Between our pre-launch campaign, buzz on Twitter, local and international celebrities supporting us, our own posts that went viral, and a massive article in the second-biggest newspaper in Argentina, I estimate well over 100,000 people heard about Charles Dexter Ward. And again, that was only during the first three days of the campaign. It boggles the mind, then, that barely 2,000 people have backed the game — with such a strong launch and the evident appeal of the project, a year ago we’d easily have reached $400k.

Amazing Facebook shout-outs.
Amazing Facebook shout-outs.

It gets even worse when you take stats into account. I’m no stranger to Kickstarter, and my approach was very thorough: we created hype, got in touch with journalists in advance so as to warrant articles on the launch date, ensured a solid tier structure, had an interesting and informative project page, a killer pitch video, attractive rewards, compelling game materials, and fun updates, encouraged activity and comments, etc. We did everything by the book. The resulting launch was a tremendous success: we raised $10,000 in three hours, were covered by over 150 sites and blogs, got shout-outs from many other campaigns, and the vast majority of people were thrilled with Charles Dexter Ward. For crying out loud, we were Greenlit on Steam in nine days.

Awesome people who supported us.
Awesome people who supported us.

To compare, Asylum took 24 hours to raise the first $10,000. Our initial trending was through the roof, and the project should have been funded. But then pledging took a gigantic nosedive that made me literally livid — you can’t imagine how stressed I was during those first hours. The reason for this nosedive is obvious when you compare the graphs for our two Kickstarter campaigns:

Top: Asylum. Bottom: Charles Dexter Ward.
Top: Asylum. Bottom: Charles Dexter Ward.

Yes, it’s that bad. Whereas with Asylum the ratio of pledges from the Kickstarter community vs. external pledges (that is, the result of our own efforts in promotion) was evenly divided; with Charles Dexter Ward we see that only 30% came from Kickstarter itself. Now, you might say, “Sure, but you couldn’t have made it even with the previous ratio,” but it’s not such a mathematically linear relationship. If the Kickstarter community hadn’t kept dwindling since Asylum, we’d have received pledges amounting to at least $50,000 on the second day. And Kickstarter is all about psychology — if people get the impression that a campaign can make it, they’re more likely to support it. Enthusiasm is contagious, but there wasn’t enough to begin with. Of that estimated initial 100,000 people who heard about the project, only a very small portion visited our Kickstarter page, and even fewer were inclined to back the project.

More spectacular Facebook activity. On the right, my pinned comment on the most popular Lovecraft page.
More spectacular Facebook activity. On the right, my pinned comment on the most popular Lovecraft page.

I stress again: the response everywhere else has been incredibly positive. It’s just that none of that enthusiasm translated into pledges. Take IGN, for instance. It’s hard to get noticed by the press, and even harder to get them to write about Kickstarters, but IGN was kind enough to post a very positive article about this campaign. Would you like to know how much in pledges that article got us? OK, wait for it…


Four. Hundred. Bucks.
Four. Hundred. Bucks.

I’m officially clueless. As of today, I have no idea about Kickstarter. In the past I was happy to advise other developers, but forget it, nothing I say will matter because crowdfunding is becoming a matter of sheer luck and randomness, impossible to control. There’s simply no correlation between marketing efforts and buzz and incoming pledges. You could get coverage on most mainstream websites and still not make it (I’ve actually seen that). This erratic and unpredictable behaviour can drive you nuts: like a macabre joke, our most celebrated update with a talking Charles — so well received on social networks — resulted in a negative day.


To be fair, some campaigns are still finding success, albeit with a tight margin. Crowdfunding can still work for smaller projects, and you might see the occasional celebrity raising millions, but it’s no longer working for projects like our own that fall somewhere in between. It could be just a phase, and 2015 might be better, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up, because the trend shows decline since 2013.

I’d just like to add that the Kickstarter team has been extremely supportive, featuring our project on two occasions and always addressing our questions in record time. They’re a nice bunch, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them. As an advocate (a former one) of crowdfunding, I’m truly saddened by this whole situation.

Ex Oblivione

So what next? We have Asylum of course, which is looking better than ever. We know it’s delayed, but we always make sure to keep you updated on its progress, and you’re going to love what you’re about to see. As for Charles Dexter Ward, wish I had better news, but I don’t. You know how I kept pushing the campaign and delivering rich updates, but the truth is that by the first night I knew we weren’t going to make it. Since then I’ve come up with a plan B that may help us fund the game ourselves, but it will take time. For the time being, it’s best if you don’t keep your hopes up.

No, I don’t feel like coming back to Kickstarter, at least not in the foreseeable future. While crowdfunding Asylum has been a fantastic experience, a remarkably fun and fantastic learning process, this Kickstarter is leaving a very sour taste in my mouth. It was too much stress and work, and it wasn’t nice for you, either: I hated seeing friends upping their pledges when I knew very well they were going through financial troubles. Asylum left me wanting more, but it’s clear that I’ve had enough of crowdfunding after Charles Dexter Ward. This was perfect timing as well, before we go into epic crunch mode on Asylum and before Cordes Jr. arrives in January. There’s no way I can go through another month like this one in 2015.

So goodbye, Kickstarter, we’ll always have the Hanwell Mental Institute…

And thanks for all the fish!
And thanks for all the fish!

On the positive side of things, we have attracted much attention with this project. Our community grew a lot as well, with hundreds of new likes and followers. Speaking of which, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Hey, you can always register in our awesome and friendly forums as well.

The most important thing about this campaign was your support and confidence in the Senscape team, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m sorry we couldn’t make it, but we have other things to look forward to. And yes, they all involve fear and nightmarish terrors.

As for Charles Dexter Ward… Now is the moment to let go and submerge him in the depths of uncharted seas where strange star constellations are sometimes glimpsed on the darkest nights and alien things surface occasionally, putting him to rest in that sunken city of oddly angled shapes and ever-present slime where an abominable being awaits patiently and speaks to us in our deepest dreams. Time to fhtagn.

“There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled.”
“There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled.”



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    1. Missing avatar

      Billy on

      I guess since we are trading stats, I have backed 39 projects, and received 11 of them, with 13 more in the "Not yet late" category, and about 4 at or worse than "We're working really hard, we swear -- and next month's update should have more details" level of failure.

    2. BigD on

      I joined for LSLR in 2012 and to date 62 projects succeeded with one cancelling and refunded, 29 failed and presently 3 in progress.

      Of the 61 projects, 17 have delivered 100% of the game and rewards. Of those, 6 are table top games, 2 are books so 9 games total and done. Another 7 games are partially delivered with the game (like BoUT2) and/or physical goodies. Of those 7, one has only delivered physical goods and a demo (Hero U). All are late.

      I understand Kickstarter wants dates on projects, but there are too many variables. The small companies get no love in shipping (all my board games were late when stuff sat in China waiting for inspection, customs, planetary alignments) while big company stuff keeps moving. Add family things, and the like and the dates don't mean much. For me, its no big deal but I know some folks are furious. I guess I spent enough time writing code at IBM to know that life isn't horribly predictable! We got away with it as we could throw more people on the project and the stuff we were writing was often just an extension of existing stuff. Even then, we had some serious set backs.

      Great post mortem here. I wish it was a victory celebration but no such luck.

    3. Martin O

      I'm also sad that this project and other great ones don't get funded on Kickstarter anymore.
      I've checked my backed projects and though most of them are or were late a lot have already delivered.

      Here are my stats for the year 2012 (I joined February 2012):

      funded projects: 52
      delivered: 29 (many of them delivered late; this number also includes 4 video game projects where physical goods are still outstanding but should be delivered soon: Jane Jensen, Text Murphy, Quest For Infamy, Broken Sword)
      (very) late: 21
      failed: 2

    4. Russell Deitch on

      I have a similar story to Seth. I first backed Kickstarter in May 2012. My first 6 projects are Late; Late; Awaiting refund; Late; Late; Late

    5. Seth Barbour on

      For my part, here's the story.

      I came on board to Kickstarter only relatively recently, back in December of 2012 I believe. Thinking back I'm pretty sure I was drawn in along with a large number of others due to a few very fantastic and far-reaching campaigns.

      The offers were incredible, the energy positive, the promises wonderful and inspiring. None of the big "scams" had occurred yet and people seemed to genuinely believe that Kickstarter was more of a pre-order (which it sometimes is) and less of a pledge in good faith to help a developer make a strong and good-intentioned attempt at a product (which, I believe, if it's true nature).

      Now, there are two things happening.
      1. We're all aware of the risks in Kickstarter because enough of us have been stung by poor planning. We now raise a lot of questions, even of those who have succeeded and delivered a quality product before. Kickstarter has had it's dark side revealed and it has become very public. This isn't a "death blow" to kickstarter, but a wake-up call to its backers to be a little more sceptical. To research deeper. To really know what they're getting into.
      2. I backed a LOT of projects during my first year. They're all great but only 3 or 4 out of the dozens funded have currently delivered anything to me. So this year is the "grace period". I will wait to see if those projects actually get to me, or if I too am destined to join the lists of those who were charmed, tried, and were let down too often to ever try again.

      This game seems like an incredible thing. But it was a VERY hard decision to back it. I hadn't gotten Asylum yet. Asylum was delayed and a few scary changes were often thrown in that made me worry about what I'd finally be getting. I will say that your openness and energy have helped alleviate those fears, at least enough that I did in the end back this project, but they're still there. Stirring in the dark, doubt-ridden places of my heart. I wasn't ready to raise my pledge any higher than the absolute lowest it could be to get the game in my hands.

      Here's what I can tell you. Once I can attest to the success rate of the dozens of projects I've backed. Once I know I can make educated guesses on which projects are reliable and which are scams. Once I've seen SOMETHING come back to me to make me feel that my efforts have some promise and that I haven't wasted those thousands of dollars (yes... I can't believe it... but yes) then I will be willing to put a real sum back into Kickstarter again and I will be able to look the naysayers in the eye, raise up my dozens of projects, and say that it works. It's a positive experience.

      Until then I need to wait for those things to either fail or succeed.

      But if they make me feel like I made the right choice, then I'll make that choice again. I will back projects again in 2015 because that's the year when most of my backed Kickstarters will be shown to live or die.

      I don't think I'm alone in this. I think that's the current situation. And I think 2014 is "the waiting year" not the year of backing. I think early 2015 will be the same.

      It'll be interesting to see if my predictions are correct.

      Either way I am sorry that this project wasn't backed. The game would have been very fun. I think. I hope the same thing for Asylum but, like so many other projects, I can't be sure yet.

      I wish you all the best of luck. I'm counting on you.

    6. Khalaq on

      Liisa and Sirius have already made some of the points I was going to make, but I wanted to add my "two cents."

      Back when Kickstarter was "new" and undiscovered, there were not that many projects up for backing, and very rew of them were computer games. These days, it seems that some people think that Kickstarter is "the money fountain" and will make all of their dreams come true. I do not think you folks at Senscape think that way, but I do think you are suffering in part from the glut of Kickstarter projects out there.

      I chose to back this game, but there were five or six others which I chose not to back. There are reasons for that.

      1) Instead of one computer game asking for backing in a one-month period, we now have six to eight.
      2) The financial situation in my country (and probably others, as well) continues to be bad after six years, leaving many of us with a lot less money to spend.
      3) A majority of us have had at least a few bad experiences with Kickstarter projects since even a year go, making us less inclined to back every project that piques our interest.

      As I've already said, I chose to back your project instead of those of other people, and that is because you did a good job with your Kickstarter. Sometimes, however, a good Kickstarter just isn't enough. Sometimes, it is a matter of timing. Personally, I feel that you were just unfortunate in the timing of your Kickstarter and that you probably didn't meet your goal due to donor fatigue, too many other competing projects, and that fact that people were poor at that moment in time. This does not mean that there was anything wrong with your campaign or with Kickstarter itself, just that it didn't work out "this time."

      Life is full of tests which knock us down. It can be very painful to suffer what seems to be personal rejection, but we are then faced with a decision. Do we allow that to be the end of the story and consider it defeat? Or do we concede that "Round One" didn't go our way, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start thinking about how we're going to win "Round Two?"

      I am not saying that you should immediately pour your time and resources into another Kickstarter. I think it would be wiser to wait until "the right time" and do it in "the right way." There are, indeed, ways in which you can improve upon this last Kickstarter, and your fans are more than willing to help you achieve success. There are even other roads to achieving it besides Kickstarter. In order to reach success, however, you will have to see this failure as a minor setback instead of a defeat. I believe in you, and I believe you are able do so.

    7. vlahka on

      I'd counter the suggestion that people arent into adventure games. Quite a few were backed on kickstarter for great amounts like Broken Sword 5 and the recently released Dreamfall.

    8. Thomas Busse on

      Really sad to see it didn't work out :-(

      I agree with most the things you wrote, but Lisa also raises a good point, one of the issues I see is that there are just not enough people left who are really into old school adventures.

      Even industry veterans in the genre have a hard time convincing people to give even small amounts.

      And then I think that - sadly - there aren't too many people who are really interested in Lovecraft.

      I know that there are a lot of people who pretend to be (e.g. the Lovecraft FB page has about 800k likes, the Lovecraft eZine 170k), but I think this is s lot due to the Cthulhu hype in the last year. I'd be surprised if more than 10% of all these people have actually ever read a Lovecraft story, let alone are interested in playing a Lovecraft-based adventure.

    9. Missing avatar


      I am truly sorry that this campaign was not successful. I do hope that you have much success with Asylum and are able to make the Lovecraft game in the future.
      I do think it is misguided to believe that Kickstarter is "dying." Yes, the newness has worn off. But I think the problem is perhaps that adventure gamers might be a bit tired of what happens when they back an adventure game on Kickstarter. I am willing to back a good prospective project when I see one that interests me, but even I am a little tired of it. I have hundreds (I don't even want to count) of dollars out right now, paid to developers for games that are late and I have not received. The only games that I have backed and was delivered on time were Cognition and BOUT2 (my two chapters so far have been right on schedule).

      Everyone else has been very late or has promised a full game and then switched to episodic games. Broken Age, which gathered an enormous amount of funds, mismanaged their budget, delivered half a game very late and is taking forever to deliver the last half. This is just one example. I have at least 10 games that are late right now.

      So it is not Asylum in particular being late. It is not that Kickstarter is old news. It is a matter of potential backers spending a lot of money to many people and the group of adventure game developers as a whole not producing when and what they have promised - repeatedly. So when another project is asking for funds, the backers have to think, do I want to let this cash go for the unforeseeable future. Maybe I should just wait and buy it when it comes out...

      See, that's the thing as well. If people view Kickstarter as a pre-order process, they will be more disappointed in not receiving product in a timely manner as expected. A friend of mine described Kickstarter as more of a patronage kind of thing and I have always liked and tried to pledge to that way of thinking. I back projects as a way to continue the growth of the adventure game industry since I had to watch in agony as my favorite gaming genre died a horrible death in the U.S. years ago. I am eager to back projects, as we are in an adventure game renaissance so to speak, and many more games are now being made and are available in the U.S than I have seen in a long long time.

      In my opinion, backers need to take more of a patronage view of Kickstarter projects. This is not a pre-order, but an investment to ensure the survival and growth of adventure games in a world of a 1st person shooter game dominated industry. Developers need to be more respectful of their backers and start either giving more realistic delivery dates or do what they have to do to deliver on time. And this is not aimed just at this project by any stretch. It is the fact that this is so widespread and the disappointment as a whole is growing. Your project here seems to have become a victim of that.

      Just my two cents for what it's worth.

    10. Jamie Heintz

      It is hard to tell how this project actually did. As it became apparent that it wasn't going to make its goal, many who might have backed it may have figured, "Why bother?". So, the actual numbers may not fully indicate the amount of support. Ironically, as I prepared to type this comment with four hours left on the clock, I saw the numbers change as someone entered their pledge.

      I'm excited to get Asylum and wish you all the best in all your future endeavors. God bless.

    11. Korg on

      I don't know if kickstarter is dying or not but this campaign did almost 100k(maybe it will reach that amount when this campaign is over), I saw some really good games struggling to reach even 10k on the past few months.
      Personally I'm backing less projects because of money related issues and because of many campaigns not delivering the games on time, sooner or later you get frustrated by those developers that are delaying their games time after time(some of them with good reasons others not really), yeah I'm backing this one because of two reasons: 1- I want to support Argentinian developers and 2- I'm an Asylum crazy backer so this was just the logic thing to do :P
      Either way it's sad to see this project die like this :(

    12. Alexei

      If I had played Asylum already, and knew I could believe in your ability to make amazing games, I would have pledged much more. But a second investment into a company that has yet to give me anything is a bit much even for me to swallow. Though I did pledge, and am not worried about giving you money, I can't double down on something too heavily without having just a bit of concrete information.

      I am very sorry to see this failure. Though I am not surprised. I think your death knell for Kickstarter as a whole is misinformed and probably stems from your current glumness...hopefully you will get past that. Don't give up on this community, it can do much good. But it needs results.

    13. vlahka on

      I should of added that it would be cool to get some kickstarter more exclusive stuff that wont be available later. Not neccessarly ingame related, but bonus stuff. Most of the pledges listed over $100, at least to me, seem to be too expensive for what they are with not enough compelling extras. Maybe miniatures of some of the characters or a statue, at the very least a poster. I'm also surprised the $5k mark is where you are made to be a character in the game. I think it would of been more attractive around the 500-900 area. Lesser characters being cheaper, ones with fairly important dialogue being more expensive etc.

    14. vlahka on

      Just wanted to put my little voice in. There are a few other important reasons that werent mentioned that I think are important. I've only just pledged now but to be honest it was more so I could make a comment. I have been watching the progress because I really wanted this game to make it, and who knows I may have pledged something on the final day. But I'm like a few others I know. We over spent like stupid during the entire 2013 period and early 2014 on games and board games and now we've had to pull back and try to forcefully hold ourselves from bidding on anything to pay off a few debts on the friendly credit cards. I'd like to think that could also reflect on the lower than usual backing for the later half of this year in some way.

      Christmas period coming is another like someone mentioned. All my money has been funnelled that way for gifts. It's irritating to the extreme as I'd rather spend my money on this. But I think theres one major thing thats been overlooked. Plenty of games seem to make it to steam and sell for around the same price as the normal average pledge, and within a couple months its on a discount. I have a few friends who saw this and said they'd just wait for it to appear on steam and get it when its discounted, like people expect a kickstarter game from a dev thats already released previous titles to automatically make it whether it reaches the kickstarter total or not, especially when steam greenlight gets announced during it. Thats a big thing. Theres even some devs who have come in asking for money who never needed it, failed their kickstarter badly since people saw right through them, and a week later announced they had a publisher. So it really starts to irk some people.

      However I do believe that once Asylum finally comes out and gets positive reviews, that firing up Dexter once more will bring some great results with less work as people already know about it. Definitely dont give. This title definitely deserves a second chance when you've gotten past the Asylum hurdle.

    15. Tale of Tales on

      Many lessons learned. Hope you will be alright. Best of luck!

    16. Stewart "Zoot" Wymer

      Well, you have access to us backers in some fashion. If some miracle of funding happens, expect a fair chunk of us to throw down again. 98K ain't chicken-feed. It may not be enough to fund the game, but we believed in you this once, we can believe in you again at a later stage. All things are possible; all life is Chaos.

    17. Dablue

      @Oded: kickstarter is exactly what it used to be. A marketplace for ideas and early adopter products. If the faith of the consumer drops, so does his pledge. And every markets has upswings and down swings like this. Supply ... Demand etc etc

    18. Tomimt on

      I think one aspect is time. The developement time that is. I think many people have realises, that games take a lot of time to get made and the time schedules many projects have presented did not reflet the reality of how long the developement would take. They were thus prepared to wait in example a year, but in some cases that time could be doubled or tripled and that, I do believe, many people can feel is unreasonable, thus that might have caused them to cool off from Kickstarting games, as the time they're supposed to wait their delivery is not a certainty within acceptable time frame (which of course varies from person to person).

    19. Missing avatar

      Espen Gätzschmann on

      If I were to add one additional, potentially very important, piece of the puzzle to the question about why this failed to fund, it's this:

      We're in the middle of the most busy time of year for games. There are so many games coming out that even the most enthusiastic gamers can't play everything they want to play, and they're spending more money than they maybe are comfortable with. While this is going on, a Kickstarter campaign pops up asking for money for a game that will be released at some nebulous time in the future. It's easy to see why it's put aside, even if it's a project that interests people.

      Launching a Kickstarter in the September-December period is probably a bad idea no matter what name recognition you have. It's the time of year where everyone's gaming budget is way past covered already, and there's no room for the smaller, more uncertain titles. Had this campaign launched in the early summer, for example, I believe it could have gained a lot more traction.

      Water under the bridge at this point, but food for thought nonetheless. I wish you continued luck with your company and games, even if it didn't pan out this time.

    20. Chris R

      Like many others I am more saddened for you than myself. I see myself as an investor, and as such recognize some projects succeed while others fail. That is the nature of business.

      As to KS failing, it appears to be a mixed bag. I see video games failing at a high rate, while board games are faring better. It's been said, but many investors have been burned, myself included, buy devs taking the money and disappearing into the aether, excessive delays, poor communications, and final product failing to meet expectations.

      I think there is still great interest in crowd-funding, but it will take time to heal the damage of the past year, and more developers like yourselves to deliver the product funded, well executed, in constant contact with investors to explain any delays without excuses (just own it!). . . but most important is delivering a solid product that meets or exceeds investor expectations! If it does that, reasonable delays are forgiven and chances are the next project will be funded within days.

      I witnessed this with a card game, The Agents.

      You have an amazing product, and I hope to see it available in the future.

    21. nastycloud on

      So sad we're all in the same situation with our campaigns.
      But... We'll get our chance after the storm. You know that, right?

    22. warlordnik on

      Agustin and the Senscape team, let me first say that I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the level of effort, dedication, and (most importantly) optimism you guys have maintained throughout your campaign. I wish you guys nothing but good luck throughout your future endeavors, which I'm hoping involves tons of horror game development. :-)

      Secondly, I wanted to say kudos to your solid analysis that Kickstarter is dying. This is something I've come to realize over the past couple of months and not only as a result of Ward's unsuccessful run.

      One example that sticks out is the recently funded "Bedlam" which is a almost solid copy but fresh take on "The Banner Saga". Same number of devs (Stoic and Skydrive) from the same city (Austin, TX), veterans of the industry, solid presentation and PR. But difference in take is staggering - ~$800,000 for Banner while only $160,000 for Bedlam. And this is after being plugged by both Stoic and such big names like Obsidian Entertainment!!! The only explanation I can come up with is that people are regressing from KS.

      Your analysis was bang on!

    23. Missing avatar

      Billy on

      Thank you for an honest no-PR assessment of Kickstarter and your game. As someone who still uses Kickstarter, I have to reluctantly agree with your assessment -- even companies that are doing everything right are failing to secure funding.

      I think it is a combination of people getting burned (not just from failed projects, but from minor annoyances like pledging $300 to get a "Special Kickstarter-only edition" that is later sold as a "Collectors bonus pack" on steam for $20 and don't get me started on DRM), people realizing just how little influence even large backers have compared to traditional investors, and one more point I didn't see you list. Some of the early big successes were people bringing back genres that were commercially dead and had not had major releases for years. Even good proposals are now in genres that have had recent releases, so there is less pent-up hyper-demand.

      I'm sorry this one didn't (won't) make. Good luck in your future endeavors.

    24. BigD on

      A great update and a lot of very interesting comments here. There are a myriad of reasons why Kickstarter is no longer Adventure Game friendly and several key points have been brought up here. Kickstarter continues to suffer from too many backers who don't understand that all of this is an investment, not a pre-order system. I still maintain I won't pledge money I'm not afraid to lose. I would be astonished if every game I backed comes to fruition. But yes, DRM mess ups, lengthy delays in awards (or in my opinion worse, the games themselves) are not helping. I might be more forgiving than some as I have seen the silliness that can go into releasing large software projects but I do understand it can sour the taste of a lot of former backers.

      I suppose Senscape and other small companies need to find other funding models. I'm not sure what that might be but I hope if Agustin finds one, I'll be able to help.

    25. Raphael S. Neto on

      Agustín, when the stars align, CDW will rise again with glory. Best of luck for Senscape =)

    26. Allison Knight on

      I'll agree with others that fatigue/a lack of delivery is a lot of the cause. I mean, I'm happy with everything I've gotten out of what I've backed, but I just did the math, and I have over $260 of pledges in funded projects that haven't been delivered yet. I liked Scratches and Serena, and I'm looking forward to Asylum, so backing this was an easy choice-but yeah, it's not hard to see where people would be getting more hesitant to back even more these days.

      Congrats on an extremely well-run campaign, though, even if it didn't work. Eagerly anticipating Asylum and whatever may come next!

    27. Stew OotG Knight/Captain Bloodcoffee on

      It saddens me to see this fall so short of the target, but the reasons you spoke of are all true right now.
      Video games on kickstarter are slowly dying, a very well informed and intelligent update. I wish you all the luck in the world with Asylum and hope you try again with this project, one way or another? ;)

    28. Sterling Treadwell

      I am one of the 33% and I'm proud to have backed this.

    29. Sterling Treadwell

      Well that just grabbed my day and coiled it in a nasty greasy tentacle. I figured this day was coming, but damn if I had hopes some weird resurgence would occur and somehow the project would get funded. Now I won't get that awesome physical copy to sit next to my copy of Asylum. Now I feel like I won't be able to show that I tried to bring back the great team that did Scratches, ushering in a new age of amazing games and brilliant story telling. I will have Asylum, alone, weary, sitting on my shelf. And I suspect it will be given all the love and affection an orphaned game can get. But really it is not the game that we should mourn, it is you guys, the dev's. To sit and cry that I won't get this second game is mere specks of salt compared to the dead sea of sorrow you guys must feel for losing what was like a second child, one more creation that was going to beat the odds and come out alive and kicking. Instead the game is dead before it even got to be born. And you guys are left with the lifeless body still draped over your arms. Utterly shattering. Good luck with Asylum.

      I hope in the coming weeks we still hear from you about things. And I hope there are possibilities like this, even outside of kickstarter, for you guys and projects. I would love to see something, ANYTHING, from you guys in the future. Mayhaps Asylum will KILL upon release and that inner fire you had will rekindle enough to consider giving this another go.

    30. Interitus on

      Kickstarter isn't dying, video games on kickstarter are dying. And that has nothing to do with the format or publicity or anything like that. It is simply people getting burned. From games taking their money and then shutting down, to games being released it terrible states. People have lost their trust in developers to deliver what they are backing. I'm not saying this is your fault, but if you want to know why people aren't backing video games on kickstarter anymore, go talk to some of the other devs out there. They screwed it for everyone.

    31. Kai Alexis Price on

      I bought into Asylum, but truthfully I am not super interested in it. This game is one I am far more interested in. However I only heard about a few days ago. I understand that you are depressed, but I think not relaunching, even if after regrouping, is just an excuse for... Well, I don't want to insult anyone, that's not my point at all.

      But, I mean, look at the massively successful boardgame Cthulhu Wars, for instance.... As I understand things, it was a relaunch of an initial effort, which by definition means that it was originally a failure.

      Anyhow, better luck next time, no matter what you decide to do. But I, for one, hope it is Lovecraftian.

    32. ThomasN on

      Marcelo: Personally I think Wasteland2 is a terrible game with terrible design choices / story design.

    33. Jenny Pattison on

      Thanks for your support all the same, James! And everyone else too, of course, it has meant a lot to me and the rest of the team. Onwards and upwards!

    34. ThomasN on

      Can only talk about myself, where the repeated violation of trust in the DRM free area or release date brought myself to just hang out on GOG waiting for when it's done.
      Note that I don't speak about you or your KS, you were always excellent.

    35. James Bywater on

      Sorry to see this didn't make it, thanks for such an in-depth summary of some of the issues surrounding crowdfunding, I always find this interesting.

      It looks like sadly people are suffering from Kickstarter fatigue, there's a definite misconception about how internal teams are handled amongst general gamers. They seem to think anyone working on any one part of a project is interchangeable... with story leads and artists being 'expected' to fix bugs and so on in other projects still being run.

      I hope you get a chance to return to this in future =)

    36. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM

      And, as much as I hate to admit it, a lot of what was said in this update rings true. I've seen too many projects not make it lately due to "Kickstarter fatigue", released games not doing as well as they should have or are not producing what was promised, and the current glut of projects currently running. As it is, I'm backing 7 projects right now (including this one) and 5 of them are adventure games. And only so much money going to go around.

    37. BillyGoat Entertainment on

      Thank you Agustín for such an open and honest update. I have to say that even in the time since we attempted our first campaign for HM SPIFFING and the one we're running now I've noticed a real cooling in gamers enthusiasm for Kickstarter. That being said I don't believe it is impossible to get funded, some game projects do still get 4,000+ backers, but luck seems to play more of a factor than anything else.
      In my opinion you ran a perfect campaign and I'm very sorry to see that you folks didn't make it.
      Last year I had to let a couple of guys go after our failed campaign so I understand the disappointment that you will be feeling. Best of luck finishing up Asylum, hopefully once that's out of the way you'll be able to bring the other folks you've had to let go back to give Charles Dexter Ward another shot.

    38. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM

      It always saddens me to see a project not make it, but it's especially tough seeing one ran by such an awesome dude and friend as you. Still, I hope for the best and that we do see Charles Dexter Ward made eventually.

    39. Freed Games on

      So sad to see your dream crushed.
      All the best for all of the team!

    40. Marcelo Martins De Oliveira on

      And I am looking at you Republique, at you Double Fine Adventure, at you Erfworld... And many others that I can't remember right now. And even the ones that finally deliver a worthy game (like Wasteland), took 3-4x times more than promised to be delivered.

    41. Missing avatar

      Dane Barrett on

      Team, don't forget that this project has come in the first year of "next gen" gaming consoles coming out. PC gaming, while still great, isn't the flavour of the month right now.

    42. Missing avatar

      Nikos Patsiouras on

      IMHO,Kickstarter can still prove useful,but only in situations that you have already gone through a lot of the production and are already in deep,as with Asylum. Easier said than done,granted,but if you can go through some of the production on your own and find that you can speed things up with a more moderate goal ,I think you can definitely make it.About 100K is a moderate and achievable goal in a project undergoing work already.And you were just 12K short of it.

    43. Marcelo Martins De Oliveira on

      Agustin, I am very sad with the failure of your campaign. I would really have liked to play Charles Dexter Ward. But concerning your study about Kickstarter's decline, the answer is quite simple. The many previous campaigns that did not deliver what was promised to backers are the ones that killed yours...
      There are so many campaigns that were failures both in promises and deadlines that people are just not excited about crowdfunding anymore.

    44. Oded Sharon on

      There are certainly lots of thinks I'm reading here that I think are true and thought that were true even when I ran the first bolt Riley campaign a year ago.

      Kickstarter is not what it used to be.

    45. Missing avatar

      Poddmeister the Tormented Exile on

      So sad to see this go down in flames :(
      Hopefully Asylum will sell like crazy so you guys can afford to self-fund and produce the game that I never knew I was waiting for.

      Best of luck!

    46. Missing avatar

      TeraTelnet on

      I'm really very sorry to hear that this campaign didn't work out, Agustín. I hope work goes well on Asylum, and hopefully we'll see you bounce back with another game in due course!

    47. Missing avatar

      Scott Tooker

      Definitely disappointed that this didn't get funded, but thanks so much for providing some insight as to why.

      One topic you didn't talk about much is that many backers have lots kickstarters backed that have yet to provide any results (this isn't necessarily bad, just that projects are taking longer than expected). I tend to back a fair number of kickstarters, but even I've slowed down since I have so many pledges that haven't been fulfilled yet.

      I'd also note that the games space for Kickstarter is MUCH more crowded than it was a couple years ago when the "big" projects like Broken Age, Wasteland, Project Infinity, and Asylum hit. There's just a lot more noise now to wade through. And this isn't a problem just with Kickstarter, there are just so many more games out there in general due the rise of "early access" games.