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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 17 2015
Rogue Rocket GamesBy Rogue Rocket Games
First created
Rogue Rocket GamesBy Rogue Rocket Games
First created
pledged of $500,000pledged of $500,000 goal
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 17 2015

Update 8: The Future of First Wonder

Posted by Rogue Rocket Games (Creator)
Hello, noble supporters of First Wonder. Today we come to you with a somber update. We’ve come to the decision to cancel the Kickstarter for First Wonder. But before I say more, we want to tell you that THIS STORY IS NOT OVER

With only a week and change of time left to go, it will be impossible to reach the goal we initially set. First Wonder finds new supporters every day, new gamers like yourselves who like what you see and want to help it see the light. We just aren’t finding you fast enough. We’ll get into why that is in a moment.

First of all, we’re committed to continuing to work on First Wonder, finding a way to build it up over time to hit our aspirations for what we wanted to accomplish . This probably means getting it done in a different way than we intended: perhaps creating a small multiplayer version of the game first and delivering that as an Early Access game. Maybe sign with an interested publisher; or possibly even return to Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform with a different strategy. But the important thing is you haven’t heard the last of First Wonder, you can be sure of that!

In the interest of continued openness and honesty, let’s cover some of what we’ve learned in our first Kickstarter, and what we feel are some of the reasons this effort needed to be cut short. But let’s start on a positive note and cover what great things came of this journey.

Greenlit on Steam in just under 2 weeks

The combined effort of our fans got us Greenlit on Steam, with hundreds of supportive comments and shares. Not only does this add to our growing list of supporters, but it gives us access to a unified and reliable source of distribution, making a lot of new approaches possible!

We met a lot of great new people

Not only do we now have a lot of new friends of the project made through the campaign,we also met and got to know a ton of awesome people who are too numerous to list here, who have been very generous with their time and support. There are a number of really generous and entertaining Twitch streamers as well that gave us support. As a result, we learned about Twitch and how that community works.

Learned a LOT about a lot of new things 

Not the least of which is running convention presences on a small budget, but also how to reach out to a community, and all the current technologies related to that effort. We learned about crowdfunding, which has a huge learning curve and a unique set of challenges to overcome. It’s not worth listing it all here, but we’ll be taking away a TON of valuable lessons.

On the “what went wrong” side... 

It was way, way, way, way, way harder than we thought to build awareness 

And it wasn’t for a lack of trying. We had gotten started quite a long time before the campaign launched. This included: 

  • Retaining a PR team for event and press relationships
  • Hiring a community manager to manage social activity
  • Partnering with Innervate to create a really nice community site, and being active in it
  • Creating an up to date website
  • Buying impressions through Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, and other means. 
  • Working with Twitch streamers to engage their audiences 

 The most surprising for us was the press’ lack of interest in covering First Wonder’s Kickstarter. This wasn’t limited to us as it turns out; the press appears to have largely turned against Kickstarter stories, with many top tier outlets outright having an internal policy NOT to cover Kickstarter games at all. A lot of our supporters didn’t understand why they didn’t learn about the project on their favorite gaming sites. This isn’t a knock on the press, it just shows a change in the prevailing winds about what the press (and theoretically what their readers) want to hear about.

To be fair, we did end up getting a bit of great coverage before and after we launched, with some notable sites such as PC Gamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, and PCGamesN covering us after TwitchCon, which we are grateful for. They helped us produce some solid traffic and backers did come from those places, but despite these and some smaller outlets covering us, it just wasn’t enough.

On the other hand, by the metrics, once people get to the Kickstarter page, a very respectable percentage of visitors became backers. So, while certainly not every element of the campaign was perfect, it was nowhere near the biggest problem. We just couldn’t get anywhere nearly enough visitors.

Over focused on MDK, Giants, etc. 

When it worked, it worked REALLY well. I would say the majority of you reading this probably fall in this category. In a couple of scenarios, focusing on this actually connected us with a few people who had access to very important influencers. But unfortunately, despite their best efforts, few of them were able to execute on it. We’re very grateful for their efforts, regardless. 

 But we relied a bit too much on an understanding of the old games as a shorthand crafted for the existing fanbase to understand the new one. One related problem that came up more than we expected was the comparisons to Evolve. Jetpacks vs Giant is something Nick investigated way back in 2001 with Giants, but of course, millions of people have become gamers and don’t know any of this, and we didn’t do a good job communicating how it’s not at all the same up front if they don’t know the previous games.

We asked for too much as our target

This error was simultaneously naive and not naive. We identified some model Kickstarters to assess, which included many asking for $500k. We analyzed their existing social followings. We looked at their success rates. We compared them to the message we were trying to convey. It looked like it was possible. 

And then HBS launched their BattleTech campaign. I realized that while Jordan had given us a lot of good advice, that I still was very naive. I immediately saw at least 10 different things we had done wrong. The budget and development strategy first and foremost. 

We rushed the launch 

This is totally on us. We knew that early awareness was a problem, so after consulting with a variety of people we felt that it was important for us to launch the Kickstarter during a major gaming event. So we hung our hats on TwitchCon. We were up until the early hours of the morning finalizing the original Kickstarter video, but we simply ran out of time to get it into the place it should have been. 

That leads us to:

TwitchCon was not the droid we were looking for.

The event itself was more or less fine, but foot traffic was pretty low for the game booths. Most people were in the 3-4 hour long merch line instead. Oops. So while we envisioned an exciting event with a crowd of people cheering, the reality was much more modest. 

So what now? 

Like I said, this ain’t over. We’re going to keep building on this little demo until it’s something we can start sharing. Being Greenlit on Steam allows us to share it in a controlled way to people until it’s ready for a broader release. And even in its early, rough form, people are having fun playing it. Our recent attempts to drum up awareness with Twitch streamers has generally resulted in some pretty fun streams. Thanks to each of them for getting involved! They’ve each been very supportive and expressed their excitement to see what happens with First Wonder

To each of you who backed us on this Kickstarter, THANK YOU! Looking back, the amount we got in comparison to the average Kickstarter is not that bad. And that’s thanks to you guys and gals who believe in the game and in us. We would love for you each to keep in touch and stay involved in what comes next. We can’t get your contact info from an incomplete Kickstarter because they do a great job there of protecting your privacy, so please reach out to us through Kickstarter messages so we can make sure to involve you in whatever comes next. 

We also would like you to be on the first wave of people who get access to test builds when we make them more widely available. We’ll be keeping the campaign live for another day or two to give you all a chance to reach us directly before we cancel the campaign.

Or, if you’d just rather stay in the know more simply, please sign up for our mailing list on www.First-Wonder.com, follow us on Twitter @Rogue_Rocket and Facebook. 

Thanks again. While it’s an end of one chapter, it’s a beginning of a new one for First Wonder, and we’d love for each of you to come along!


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    1. Rakkhot

      I heard about MDK and Giants from TotalBiscuit he once praised the old game, you probably should try contacting him he seemed very fond of that game

    2. XtotheV on

      I hope you succeed elsewhere. I really liked MDK and Giants.

    3. Spacedog on

      I'm sorry the KS didn't gain traction, if nothing else the publicity push got the game greenlit and out there. The novelty of crowdsourcing has worn off in recent years. it seems only celebrities or heavily promoted advertised campaigns gain traction, especially for software projects. The early demo looks like a blast, keep polishing it and I'm certain good fortune will follow.

    4. Missing avatar

      Albert on

      Best luck for the future of FW, from a fan of the original Giants. I agree on all the points on your update, and that's a good thing because you'll be able to fix them all :)

    5. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      My only email account that I remember to check is mostly for work and family stuff, so KS updates are good for me.... But I'll try and check out the blog, too.

    6. Gwenael Talhouet (Belmont1)

      @Jabberwok : canceled campaign can still post updates :) But there's also the newsletter on their website ( http://www.first-wonder.com/ )

    7. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      Can cancelled campaigns not post updates? I'd really like to hear about new developments on this.

    8. Missing avatar

      Jason D. Cupp on

      Sorry this was so hard for you guys. You have an amazing concept that will satisfy much more than just the old Giants fans. I know it's tough to keep working without having this backing, but I hope it all works out for you. And as much as I want this game, I'm sorry for all the work you put into this, and the disappointment you must be feeling. But I respect you because you're persevering. Thank you guys.

    9. Philip Konczak on

      Sad news but the way it was going with few backers i am not surprised. Kickstarter can be great for getting money but at times getting yourself heard through all the different projects ca be difficult. Wish you guys all the best for the future glad your still keeping the dream alive and will cya in the future.

    10. Missing avatar

      Steven Wilson on

      Sad to hear this one didn't work out this time around, but I am still happy that the project will still continue on with many more lessons learned from the experience and I hope one day to see the finished product and with how dedicated your team has been, I'm sure it'll become a reality.

      Good luck and keep in touch.

    11. Sean Parker on

      I was really worried about this one making it on Kickstarter in the state the campaign was in, but I'm relieved that you've taken a level-headed approach to this, identified the campaign's problems and are committed to making the game happen in the future regardless. Heck yeah!

      Seriously, Giants gave me such fantastic gaming memories and this looks just superb as a true successor. Just keep us backers informed well in advance if you plan to return to Kickstarter, so we'll be prepared to do our bit with an early social media blitz.

    12. Paul Zakrzewski on

      Will look forward to picking up the game on Steam.
      Thanks for great past titles. Best wishes.

    13. flesk

      Sad to see this one fail, but it sounds like it has been a valuable experience nonetheless. I hope you're able to turn everything you've learned from this campaign into something very successful in the near future. And if you decide to take another shot at crowdfunding in the future, I'll be back. Good luck with the game! I can't wait to play it.

    14. Gwenael Talhouet (Belmont1)

      It's always sad to see a campaing canceled (hmm ok, I mean an interesting one, not all :p). But it's nice to see that the project still lives :) If I may suggest, if you go the crowdfunding route again, fig.co can be a good alternative. And maybe reaching to all the backers when the time comes to have their opinion about your new campaign (if there is one of course)
      Anyway, good luck :D

    15. GroovyDad and the Slap Me Some Skin Kids on

      I hope we will see this come to fruition. This game looks to be a breath of fresh air.

    16. Christoph Zürcher on

      Too bad to see that this project failed to gain traction. All the best to the team and I'm looking forward to hear from you in the future.