Last week, news broke regarding the failure of the Yogventures kickstarter, a campaign that asked for $250,000 and more than doubled that to make a sandbox game based off the popular YouTube channel known as Yogscast. The developer behind the game was a first timer without the necessary experience to back up their promises. An update published this weekend gives a bit more insight to some of what went wrong.
Of the money raised by the campaign, the developer got about two thirds of that to work with – $415,000. $300,000 of that was set to go to artists and developers as salaries. With the team new and inexperienced, however, they didn’t know the ins and outs of contracts. One artist, paid a lump sum of $35,000, worked for two weeks before accepting a position with LucasArts.
“Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed each of the principal artists a $35,000 lump sum payment, and we didn’t make any clear cause on how and why someone could legally stop working on the project, the artist in question got paid, worked for about 2 weeks, and then stopped working on the project,” said Kris Vale, a lead at developer Winterkewl Games. “We had no way to force that person to pay back any of the funds and it was a bitter lesson to learn.”
The inexperience that led to this event caused the Yogscast founders to lose faith in Winterkewl almost immediately. Co-Founder Lewis Brindley demanded a transfer from Winterkewl of the remaining funds, keeping the team from hiring a lead programmer and forcing Vale to play more of a lead than he’d expected, a role he wasn’t prepared for.
We can likely expect a few more tidbits like this to leak out as details of the failure of the campaign come out. While the most immediately apparent lesson from the whole event is to be careful what you fund on Kickstarter, there’s also a lesson in it for developers. The best of intentions and most genuine of enthusiasm doesn’t make up for careful money management, solid contracts, a clear definition of what you’re building and, most importantly, some experience.
For a detailed breakdown of where the $567,000 went, check out Winterkewl’s final backer update.