For years space flight/combat games have languished, with nothing but the odd-ball title coming out that generally would leave folks dissatisfied and were then quickly forgotten. It appeared that most folks just didn’t care to go out and fly in space, and were instead more interested in games like Call of Duty and the like. But since then, in the last couple of years we’ve started to see some really good looking space combat simulator games being developed, like Elite: Dangerous, and the most crowdfunded anything ever, Star Citizen, which has just raised over $55 million since it was first put up on Kickstarter about two years ago. The success of Star Citizen’s fundraising has not been overlooked by many folks in the industry, including Piranha Games, the folks who made the much-maligned MechWarrior Online game.
Early in September Piranha games had announced that they were developing their own space game, called Transverse. Instead of going with the traditional publisher route, they were instead looking for funding from pledges in much the same way that Cloud Imperium Games (creators of Star Citizen) had done. At first, they were looking for a minimum of $1 million in order to be able to create at least the base game of what they wanted, but after gamers started crying “foul” at the perceived attempt to ride Star Citizen’s coat tails, the minimum amount of funding was quietly lowered to $500k. This made the gamers even more angry, as many of them had remembered the broken promises and frustration at MWO, and were now seeing the same thing happen again. It’s pretty easy to see why: flight was only being added at the million dollar stretch goal, and only at 2 million would you actually be able to fight anybody! To many folks, Piranha was looking for a quick cash grab for a game that to them would likely be rushed out the door. It didn’t help that some of the ship concept art for Transverse looked an awful lot alike to some ships from Star Citizen, especially the Cutlass. You can see the Cutlass right below, while at the top of the page is Piranha’s ship in Transverse: you be the judge.
Unfortunately for Piranha Games, the anger was enough to turn most people off from wanting to pledge the game. Despite having the fundraiser going on for a month, they’ve only been able to raise about $11k so far. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve gone ahead and pulled the plug on fundraising as it’s pretty apparent that there’s no way they’ll be getting to their base $500k goal.
What’s even more unfortunate is that the fundraising wasn’t being done on Kickstarter, but rather through a website for the game much like Star Citizen’s. While the press release for the cancellation indicated that they’ll “begin the process of refunding as promised”, I’d still be worried if I were one of those pledgers that they might decide to take their dear sweet time in returning my money. I’m hoping that for their sake those who pledged get their money back soon!