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Story driven turn-based 3D RPG featuring cute, but tough heroes being developed in Unity.
Story driven turn-based 3D RPG featuring cute, but tough heroes being developed in Unity.
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662 backers pledged $28,487 to help bring this project to life.

Churbles, what happened?

Posted by CrashGem (Creator)

In the end we put too much focus on art and animation, and not enough on programming and development skills. The project went way over time, way over budget, and one by one we lost key team members until the skeleton crew we had left was not enough to finish the project.

What should have happened? Ideally we should have developed the entire game, the engine, combat systems, voice over systems, everything really before ever contacting artists and animators. Additionally we should have avoided crowd funding, as the money we acquired from the Kickstarter was very quickly allocated to licensing, contractors, and additional programming & art assets. Crowdfunding also added additional complications with content bloat, as we made several mistakes during the campaign of over promising bigger and better assets.

What happened to the team? The majority of the contributors on the Churbles project have gone on to find industry jobs, partners, babies, the works. In this way the project was a very good thing. It helped a lot of very talented people build up their skills and confidence and enter the professional sector.

So, is Churbles dead? As conceived by this team and developed with the help of this Kickstarter campaign, unfortunately, yes. But the assets live on, and if they some day rise from the ashes to find life in another concept or adventure, you will be the first to hear it.

Will refunds be issued? No, they will not. Having spent four years and far more money than was raised by the crowdfunding we have exhausted our efforts and resources. It’s unfortunate, but not every project succeeds. The information and contact information of all backers is on file, and should the project go back into production or be released at a future date, all backers will be contacted.

Aingealsile, Leewelo Lorekeeper, and 1 more person like this update.


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    1. John Collins on

      I don't know if a lawsuit is the right way to go, but if you backed at a considerable amount, I would understand. I backed at $50 and I'm just disappointed that they haven't bothered to release ANYTHING.

      If you need personal information, look into the Company, Crashgem LLC. You'll find Michael Corinella was their technical director, Jeremy Ocampo an animator, Ben Diefenbach an artist, Jake Martin a developer, Matt Klitsch a writer, and Barrett Brooks, the Operations guy. He's probably the one I'd have a chat with.

      Seriously, that was from a simple Google search. But yeah, give us SOMETHING.

    2. Missing avatar

      Michael Bacon on

      I know it can be heartbreaking to put so much of yourself into a project and then have to admit it failed-- but it's okay. Every Kickstarter is a gamble. Sometimes they don't pan out.

      Good luck in the future.

    3. Douglas on

      This is a disappointment. I started with this team when the project first began and fell off right around the time the crowd funding took. I checked it every here and there in hopes of success. Seeing the way this rounded out, it saddens me. I new the original crew very well and they worked very hard. This team had been spectacular. I've long lost contact with them all but had hoped only the best.
      It's very sad to see the way it ended, the way it was handled by those I knew and the way they handled it with the backers.
      Though I doubt the backers will look back at this and see this, I will say, as one of the original crew, I'm sorry to see this was the turn it took and the way it went down.

    4. Alejandro Monteagudo on

      Money down the drain. Thank God I didn't give more.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jan Koevoets on

      This was just a scam basically.

    6. Kickstarter Account on

      Disgusting how you lied to everyone and will keep the money. No apology, no attempt to refund. Reading this is the Final nail in the coffin for Crowd Funding for me. It's a horrible idea and devs like this poison the well for any good devs but oh well. I would ask "Just release what you have", some of us would have liked to just see the assets but guessing we would find out not very much was actually done.

    7. Jito463 - WoOS, LofUT on

      Well put, Adam.

      I realized I hadn't heard anything on this project in a while, so I decided to check it out, and this is what I find. I must say, I'm highly disappointed.

      Not about the game, that's irrelevant at this stage. I'm disappointed in the lack of interest from the developers. Lack of interest in actually feeling any empathy towards their backers who put down hard earned money to support something that seemed worthwhile at the time.

      This update was nothing more than a "ho-hum, I guess we need to say something" update, rather than a "we screwed up, we're sorry, but this is where we're at" apology. Your "update" is a day late and a dollar short. Don't bother trying crowd funding again. We have long memories of those who mistreat our good will.

      A project failing is understandable, your nonchalance towards your supporters is not.

    8. Missing avatar

      Adam on

      Kinda let this sit for awhile and re-read it a few times before I came to any concise decision on how I feel about this update, but here it is.

      There isn't an apology present in any of the sixteen sentences written. No "We're sorry", no "We apologize" or anything to that effect. To that end, it comes off as washing your hands of the project, and given some of the people below, you've pretty much removed your existence from the entirety of the internet, for good or for ill, still rubs me as to the lack of care given towards your backers.

      I doubt this will be read, as it seems to me you've cut and run. After 8 months of silence, I'm honestly not surprised. You mentioned that the project wasn't dead back then as assurance, but little was given in the way of action, only words. It was probably clear it was dying off sometime in the last 3-5 months prior, and there wasn't a contingency plan made. Instead, everything is being horded, the backers get nothing and the only people who benefit from the project is those who line their portfolios. Those who did their jobs as required, good on them, but as a team, that's poor management. The basic fundamental systems always come first with game design (as I've learned over the years as one). Art and assets flesh out the look, but if you don't have a skeleton for the rest of the project to be manipulated by, it's pretty much useless; window dressing. Even calling this a learning experience is rather generous.

      If the project comes to light in the distant future, I hope that it is completed without the need for crowd funding, and indeed, should not be requested for more. You should take this time to build more games on your own spare time or within the industry, to gain a better understanding of what is possible; dream big, but keep your feet firmly planted. Anyone can come up with a cool idea, but not everyone can make it reality. This five paragraph dust-off only sows bitterness in those who wanted to make what you wished to see a reality, and get absolutely nothing in return. No art, no music, no concepts... and at the very worst, outside of the project failing, is the cherry on top.

      Have a good day.

    9. Missing avatar

      JediaKyrol on

      @Philomelle Careful, that line of thought is what led to me getting temp-banned from KS.

    10. Philomelle on

      For everyone who is defending the actions of these developers and their refusal to issue refunds, do consider this: in the last six months, they have deleted every single way to personally contact them or ways to establish their identities. Their personal profiles are no longer on the main page, the website has been emptied out and the Greenlight page, Facebook, YouTube, Google account, Twitter, Instagram, Google and DeviantArt accounts have all been deactivated or deleted.

      I suggest treating this project less like a failure and more like an elaborate scam.

    11. Missing avatar

      Jasper.D.Hols on

      Release any demo you made or playable version of the game to all backers.
      Just add an NDA.

    12. Logan on

      Should at least release the assets to us. I am pretty good with Unreal and would love to play around with the concept.

    13. mrfatso ~ Defender of The Goat on

      wow. i had forgotten about this, but oh well, there goes 25 bucks, it was an investment, shame that it didnt turn out well.

    14. Missing avatar

      Derek Freeman

      No refunds? Whoever pledged $1,000 is going to be super-f*cking pissed, and I wouldn't be surprised if he/she is the one to sue you guys. I only pledged $25, and I'm a bit perturbed that you just flat out denied us of refunds. Don't mean to sound like a broken record, but the Terms of Use for projects created prior to October 18th, 2014 explicitly says "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.".

    15. LadyAth on

      This game looked like it had promise, but cases like this is why so many people do not want to back early development projects. We cannot force you to refund us, but at the very least you, in having taken our money, can give us something in return. If you spent all your time on art and animation, then give us something of that. Or digital concept art. Or code. Or something. Just shrugging your shoulders and throwing a 'meh' at us is not an act of good faith. This could have been handled a lot better. As a regular backer, I fully appreciate that not all projects work out, but I am not appreciating this update at all.

    16. HappyWulf

      Give us the art, concept art, art assets, and Source Code, then.

    17. Duncan A. Doherty

      Don't be surprised if you end up facing a class-action suit in response to your refusal to issue refunds (and your lack of any apology in that wall of text above). As Raphael pointed out below, by KickStarter's own TOS, you are indeed liable. There is already legal precedent here in the US where project creators have been taken to court for failing to deliver anything/refusing refunds; don't become part of the statistic.

    18. Raphael Oliveira on

      Funny. Not a single apology.

      I knew 28k (plus whatever you got in paypal later) wouldn't be enough for a super game, but I was still hoping it would go out even with delais. Shantae is delayed, Project Phoenix is delayed.. Everyone is but they are still working.

      In any case, contrary to your straight "Will refunds be issued? No", the KS' 2012 Terms of Use states otherwise (which was the 'current' one when this project was started):

      "Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

      Considering the $10+ rewards all included a "digital copy of the game" (which IS a backer reward) and you cannot fulfil that reward, we are indeed eligible for a refund.

    19. Kris Schnee on

      Interesting to hear, but it's customary to include the words "we're sorry" when explaining that you took somebody's money and you're not going to deliver what you promised.

    20. AfroRyan

      All I can really say is this: thank goodness I only pledged $10.

    21. Missing avatar


      7/5, the money backers gave was an investment, if even that much. As this site takes pains to point out to people nowadays, Kickstarter is NOT a store. Not all investments show a return. Life is like that.

      While it isn't very detailed, this post DOES give a basic accounting of where the money was used (licensing, contracts, assets, etc), so it's clear that it didn't just disappear into the creators' pockets. It was put to use in an honest effort to create the game, but that effort didn't pan out. Which is a pity, because I'm definitely in agreement with the other backers saying it looked like it had a great, fun concept.

      I do also agree though with the suggestion that maybe compiling the concept art and imagery into a digital "artbook" for backers would be a nice gesture, especially since there shouldn't be any additional costs necessary to distribute such a thing. I appreciate the assurance of being notified should the project restart too; it's unlikely, granted, but a one in a million chance is better than none.

    22. 7/5 Games on

      "Will refunds be issued? No" is not good enough, that you also spent money does not negate the money backers gave you.

    23. Missing avatar

      Mikael Parks on

      Not angry, these things happen and it's completely understandable. I am disappointed, was looking forward to playing the game. There have been some nice suggestions in the comments as consolation. Or would be nice to receive something, playable demo's, art, etc.

      From the terms of use:
      " Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. "

      From the faq:
      " If the problems are severe enough that the creator can't fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps should include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers. "

    24. Jared Stovell

      :( can we get a digital art book or something for our troubles, time, and money?

    25. Missing avatar

      Kevin Trieu

      Well, this kinda sucks. I was liking some of the concept images I saw in earlier updates. I concur with Illyan - it'd be nice if we could get some of the stuff that was produced, even if it's not finalized.

    26. Missing avatar

      M W Willems on

      Honestly this should have come earlier, but at least i and, most likely, many others have some peace of mind now.

    27. Illyan on

      Sadly I'm not very surprised since the 8 months silence wasn't a good sign. A good point to be brave enough to say it. I understood you made a lot of Artwork: would It be possible to give access to the backers as a consolation prize?

    28. Missing avatar

      Brandon Singer on

      Stinky, but I'm glad you are letting us know.

    29. edriddle

      I'm happy that you have come right out and said that the project is dead, for now at least.

      My initial thought was "what happened between now and the last update?", then I realised that the last update was eight months ago... So there you go.

    30. Leewelo Lorekeeper

      I regret the last 8 months without you raising the issue, connecting to your community to discuss it and maybe find options...
      Will you consider releasing some of the assets?

    31. Missing avatar

      Neo on

      Eh... bad news. But this sometimes happens with KS. Good luck!

    32. Missing avatar

      Ryen on

      Thank you to everyone who worked on the project. You put your hearts in it and tried to do what you felt was best. Some times, we can't see the clear path in the middle of the forest, BUT we make it out eventually (though some times not where we intended). What's important about it is that we learn.
      It sounds like you have all had yourself quite an experience with this and one that you can head off to something new with. Something more refined and crafted.
      I wish you the best with whatever comes next and if it ever comes to be the right thing again, may we Churbles rise up to completion.

    33. Sean Humphrey on

      Ah, that's too bad. I appreciate you being straight forward with the announcement and I will remain optimistic that something can rise from the all the work that was put into the project.

    34. Weakwall on

      It's a shame to see it wont be brought to light of day. But us 662 who backed this game gave you a chance. I hope you guys consider an easier path to make games for the future.