CLANG Put On Hold As Kickstarter Money Runs Out

By Pete Haas 1 year ago discussion comments
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Kickstarter success story CLANG is officially on hold, developer Subutai announced today. The PC sword-fighting simulator is short on funding and full-time development can't continue without outside help.

"We stretched the Kickstarter money farther than we had expected to, but securing the next round, along with constructing improvised shelters and hoarding beans, has to be our top priority for now," reads the latest update on CLANG's Kickstarter page. "We hope we'll be able to make an announcement on that front soon."

Subutai envisioned CLANG as a realistic sword-fighting game that would emphasis precise movements over the mindless button-mashing that characterizes most melee combat games. Players would use a motion-sensing controller like the Razer Hydra so that the player's swings would be closely mirrored by their avatar.

The game was to be released as a one-on-one dueling arena at first, and then expand to become a story-driven adventure. The creation of CLANG's world would be overseen by Subutai's co-founder Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash.

Thanks to Stephenson's star power, the appeal of motion-controlled sword-fighting, and a little assist from Gabe Newell, CLANG raised over $525,000 through its Kickstarter campaign. This money was used to help build a prototype that could then be shown off to potential investors to procure additional funding. However, Subutai hasn't had much luck in winning over publishers or venture capitalists.

"Loyal donors may be curious as to why an apparently promising game is difficult to finance. The answer has a lot to do with the current state of the video game industry. While we have been working on CLANG, two major video game publishers, THQ and LucasArts, have gone out of business. Others have fallen on hard times. The current generation of consoles is coming to the end of its life cycle. Rather than invest in innovative new titles, the still-surviving publishers tend to keep their heads down, grinding out sequels and extensions to well-worn AAA franchises."

Subutai throws out a number of other reasons that they can't procure funding. Here are a few:
  • No one believes that an author of Stephenson's stature can't find money.
  • The small size of the company makes investors wary that they can follow through on the project.
  • The developers have had to waste a large amount of their limited time on meetings with investors who turned out to be Neal Stephenson fans who wanted to meet him but had no interest in the project.
Regardless of what the actual cause for the lack of funds is, the result is the same: they can't pursue CLANG's development full-time anymore. They haven't completely abandoned the project but it's now "an 'evening and weekends' project" for them. It will stay that way until they find the funds to reboot the project.

"What can people do to help? Probably not that much, unless they happen to be qualified investors or superstar game programmers looking for an adventure. If you are one of our Kickstarter donors, then probably the most helpful thing you can do, as far as the CLANG team is concerned, is to be patient. We always knew that this was going to take a while and that we'd hit some bumps along the way. And we feel that the decision we've made is much better than the alternatives which were to [a] quit, [b] panic and sell out, or [c] get into a bad relationship with the wrong investor."
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