When ArtPlay announced that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night would be cancelled for Mac and Linux, a small portion of the backer community who Kickstarted the game were incensed at the announcement so late into development. Some of these backers began requesting refunds for the crowdfunding, but 505 Games has come out to squash those requests, claiming that the money has already been spent on developing the project.
In a forum post made over on the Bloodstained forum board on January 8th, 2019, a rep for 505 Games chimed in on a thread where various angry backers were demanding refunds for their contributions, many of whom were distilled with disappointment over the lack of communication and more corporate approach that 505 Games has taken to the crowdfunding project.
The rep stated…
“[…] While we are disappointed that we will not be able to provide native versions of the game for Mac and Linux users, we think that the PC version of the game will be playable on Mac and Linux using external tools.
Realistically they didn’t have to cancel the Mac and Linux ports, they could have just delayed them until after the game released, and then finished the ports with the funds made from the release of the game.
Nevertheless, 505 decided to completely axe those versions and then opt out of offering refunds by claiming that the money has all been used for development.
Obviously not everyone was pleased with 505’s response, but the community administrator, going by the handle XombieMike, proceeded to lay down an ultimatum for anyone who wanted to continue to vent about being denied a refund, stating…
“[…] if you are not going to play the game, your business in the community is concluded if your only reason for sticking around is venting your frustration by being disrespectful to our staff. I honestly hope you will change your mind and play on another platform. You are also free to remain here to campaign for a refund so long as you do so with respect. I do not like banning people. I do not like silencing people. It is our responsibility to cultivate a healthy community, and although this dark smudge will persist, I don’t think it serves the rest of the community who will remain here to endure the posts of people who are only here to bad mouth the team. […]”
“[The creators] post an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned;”
Funnily enough, the developers actually have not been very transparent about the development of the game, nor how or where the funds were used during what stages of development. In fact, it wasn’t until the Mac and Linux versions were cancelled did they even confirm (through a forum post) that it was due to technical difficulties and time management. These issues could have been brought up months before those versions were cancelled, and it’s likely that gamers would have been far more understanding if they at least knew how much work went into those versions before they were canned.
This is at least something Cloud Imperium Games does regularly with their Around The Verse series, so gamers know exactly how and where the funds are being used, how each feature is created, why some features are delayed, and why some have to be removed or replaced.
Some users began pointing out the hypocrisy of 505’s statements, especially regarding the lack of offering refunds due to the funds being exhausted, while at the same time bringing in funds from 505 to help with other aspects of the development without disclosing how the funds are being used or where.
Kickstarter backer JPH basically intimated that backers seem to be treated like second class citizens, especially with 505 on board, and that even if refunds weren’t possible the project leads have done a poor job in communicating the development progress (and hiccups) to the people who actually funded the game, writing…
“That’s called creative accounting. Leave aside for the moment you are also required to be honest, post updates explaining what work was done, and demonstrate how the funds were used, all things that arguably you have failed to do. What you are saying here is that technically this is a failed kickstarter.
“Your claim is that the kickstarter funds hit zero. Using that logic you have absolved yourselves of any legal obligation to grant any outstanding rewards to those who pledged, nevermind Mac and Linux. That includes physical rewards and digital downloads. You leave yourself only obligation to “make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers”. Yet we linux users are also backers.
“Then, you make up a story about “current progress towards launch is due to additional funding from the publisher, 505 Games.” Under your creative accounting, 505 puts its money into completing the game, but ignores that they receive consideration from [IGA, Artplay? You tell me] in return. According to you that money does not become part of the kickstarter and is not eligible to pay back pledges that you refuse to honor, yet, and this is the key point, 505 will be a beneficiary of future sales of the pre-existing project’s IP and assets.”
Other backers are still demanding their money back, while a few more have suggested piracy as a form of payback (but that isn’t a popular nor widely condoned solution among the Bloodstained community).
One individual e-mailed One Angry Gamer to express the frustrations over the situation, especially how a corporate publisher like 505 Games is interposing itself between the community and the development of Bloodstained, writing…
“I originally thought that the whole idea of crowd funding was to get away from publishers and their ilk, but this is hardly the case now… What is wrong with a digital only release for a indie crowd funded title? I can see backer physical rewards, but to go full bore with physical copies for a retail release is just asking for a loss of funds. “
Right now Bloodstained‘s core development of assets is complete, and the team is currently working on filling out the levels, squashing bugs, and optimizing the game for each platform.
There’s still no release date for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, but ArtPlay says that the release is coming soon.
(Thanks for the news tip Anon)