What happens when a Kickstarter'd video game fails

Kickstarter is a proven way to fund concepts, video games, passion projects and more. Now, one successfully Kickstarted game is in dire straits, and it's an example of what it looks like when a crowd-funded project goes sideways.

For cash won through crowdfunding, you're supposed to get something back, whether the product or a reward. Developer Mob Rules Games wasn't asking for much for its turn-based horror game, Haunts: The Manse Macabre. The Kickstarter campaign wanted $25,000, and received just north of $28,000. To get a copy of the game, all you needed to pony up was $5.

Turns out, that may have not been enough, as Mob Rules founder Rick Dakan posted this update titled "Desperate Times" on Thursday. In a nutshell, Mob Rules Games fell apart. Its development muscle scattered to the wind and left Haunts in an unfinished state with "a lot of bugs."

Fast forward to Friday, and now Dakan has a new update up on Kickstarter, one with some better news:

"It's been a heartwarming 14 hours or so, and I have to start by saying thank you to all the kind and supportive emails and comments I've been getting. I had been dreading today for the past week or so, as we worked up the details and I scrambled around to find some silver lining to our dark clouds. Turns out, I should have come to you all sooner in my search for support."

Dakan goes on to pledge that he'll update his 1,214 backers more regularly, and gives the lay of the land when it comes to trying to finish the game, as well as getting rewards out to backers and more. Haunts may still see success, whether Dakan finds a way to see it through or hand it off, but Kickstarter wasn't enough to get it there. (Dakan doesn't blame crowd-funding, but rather "bets I made knowing the risks that haven't paid off like we needed them to.")

Recently, Kickstarter made moves to make it clear that, when you back a project, you're assuming risk involved with the project. After things started looking grim for Haunts, it prompted Dakan to pledge to "personally refund out of my own pocket anyone who wants to withdraw their support, no questions asked." That's pretty crazy, but it just goes to show how much hasn't really been sorted out yet in the world of crowd-funded projects.

While Haunts tries to escape limbo, there are a ton of Kickstarter games still on the way, as well as one, FTL, that made it to the finish and finished strong. Also, if you're curious, you can see Haunts in action in the video below.

Haunts on Kickstarter, via BBC News, via Joystiq

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