Project Phoenix has become one of the beacons of the failed Kickstarter world. Developer Creative Intelligence Arts secured $1.14 million way back in 2013 with a promise that it would deliver a JRPG that "will set a new standard of excellence for the Japanese gaming industry."
Unfortunately, all the way up into 2017, the promised game still doesn't have concrete footage to show. Budget issues, contract issues, expensive physical rewards that cut into development costs. Creative Intelligence Arts has a lot of reasons for why the project isn't working out. For example, the character company team that it had planned to contract out shifted gears and instead developed the characters for a little game you might have heard of called Overstrike.
Yeah, good move on the modeling company's part with that one.
In the new update, Creative Intelligence Arts comes out and says that, as was normal way back in 2013, it got a little carried away in expanding its game after its campaign took off. Too many ideas got spread across too thin a budget, but since the hype was flowing, so too was everyone's ambitions. After all, it worked out for games like Pillars of Eternity and Broken Age.
We have not taken publisher money, or sold interest in project phoenix to investors. Hiroaki Yura himself is Project Phoenix's biggest backer to the tune of almost 500K USD. We are not complaining. Every game developer wants to do their best. Every developer dreams of a bigger budget and larger game. We expanded Project Phoenix because we were hyped along with our backers.
However, the company spokesman eventually admits that the game isn't being made in its current form at the moment, and it needs to focus on smaller projects to please private investors.
Which put us into our current position. We expect to make our backers happy will require higher quality assets and more programmers. To this end we stopped investing the returns from our music business into art assets and instead drove them into a different smaller production, with further assistance from private investors. Should this tiny product succeed those private investors have promised to invest significant capital into Project Phoenix. In this way we have been able to expand our in-house development staff and work towards a bright future for Project Phoenix. Instead of financing salaries and running costs out of Project Phoenix we have been building a team out of the budget of this tiny project.Work has continued on Project Phoenix, but only things for which budget existed. If you have been wondering why the past few months have had lots of story updates, that is the reason why. We are very excited for this tiny project which will be announced in May. It is fun to play and we are proud of that.
Should it hit the success we are hoping for it will set our team in a position to deliver Project Phoenix anything we had hoped for. This is not a plea to support that project, please consider it but understand it is not Project Phoenix.
Better late than never, I suppose
Here's the thing about Kickstarter. We all know the "You should have been more careful" line that will no doubt appear in the comments, but this was 2013, back when the Kickstarter gold rush had yet to produce a high profile flop. In 2013, the sky was the limit, and obviously, many backers were a lot more loose with their money than they are nowadays when it comes to crowdfunding.
In that time frame, we've come to expect that some Kickstarters will end up as failures. It's fine. It happens, and developers who come out and admit that they tried their best can usually get off the hook if they are brutally honest about the situation. I remember when Midora officially went under, and the developer got a bit of slack for his $73,000 project.
When you're dealing with over $1 million, though, waiting four years to finally come out and admit some mistakes is pushing the limits of patience beyond where they should be pushed. Project Phoenix was a product of its time on Kickstarter, and the team is paying for it's over ambitions on a daily basis, yes. Transparency for this project hasn't nearly been where it needs to be and reaching out to your backers four years later with a new plan isn't going to fly over well.
The update's comment section is overflowing with mixed reception to this recent development, but as with other big projects from the time, like The Unsung Story, this just seems like dragging out the inevitable.
We'll all see how it plays out down the line. At least the Pathfinder character art is cute.