The latest story of Kickstarter-financed video game failure concerns a game called Bear Simulator, which raised $100,000 in crowdfunded money and won’t be released. The game, which sought to simulate the experience of being a bear (no shit, right?) in the wild, seemed promising. It was a silly, but looked well done and had been approved for Steam Greenlight despite receiving some less-than-positive coverage from YouTube powerhouse PewDiePie, who was a bit of an ass about it but probably not wrong.
In an update from the game’s Kickstarter, Farjay Studios said they were bailing on this project due to “drama” and other unseen forces:
“Well the game didn’t have a great reception, has a stigma against it’s name and there’s plenty of other problems so making any updates or going further is basically a lost cause now. Plus not skilled enough to make the game better than it currently is or write better updates than previously.
Also don’t want to deal with the drama anymore. Can’t ignore it because that causes more drama and can’t do anything about it because that causes more drama.”
It’s a bummer to watch someone so close to the end-zone bail on a project. It is not, however, unusual. Kickstarter games, like Ant Simulator, have been jeopardized or destroyed by inexperienced developers without clear budgeting priorities in the past.
If anything, the story of Bear Simulator further underlines how difficult it is to make a game and bring it to market. Poor reception aside, it was impressive that the game made it as far as it did. The fact that the funders won’t see a fully realized version of the thing should come as no surprise to them or anyone else. Games are tough. Indie games are tougher. Bears are tougher still.
UPDATE: A few small changes to be noted include Ant Simulator had its game-dev fundraising on Kickststarter but the game itself was funded elsewhere. Also, Bear Simulator will still be released and have all of its backer rewards filled, based on new information from the developer. There will just be no further support of the title post-launch.