Precursor Games Launches Questionable Kickstarter Campaign
The crowdfunding efforts for the spiritual successor to Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem have now been extended to Kickstarter. Precursor Games is looking for the remaining 1.35 Million it needs to successfully create Shadow of the Eternals for the PC and Wii U platforms. However, the Kickstarter project creation is troubling for several distinct reasons:
- Silicon Knights states that the studio is still operating without it’s former President Denis Dyack, but it’s CFO, Mike Mays, is unable to cite a studio location.
- Denis Dyack’s LinkedIn states he’s been the Chief Creative Officer at Precursor Games since July 2012, which means he made the jump to Precursor just one month after the Epic lawsuit went south for Silicon Knights.
- Silicon Knights DID confirm it’s closed offices, laid off employees and sold some of it’s development assets, including computers, to Precursor Games.
- Precursor Games is a Canadian development studio, which directly contradicts Kickstarter’s project creation guidelines.
- The initial funding goal on Precursor’s official page was set at 1.5 Million and aimed to cover one episode of content. In contrast the Kickstarter backer tier that starts at $25 offers multiple episodes as part of the pledge tier.
Kickstarter has been under fire as of recent with projects like Zach Braff’s Wish I was here, Penny Arcade’s $10 funding goal for a new podcast and now what seems like the bending (not breaking) of the companies eligibility rules. This will be the first time Kickstarter has sanctioned a project north of the U.S. border. When Game Informer reached out to Kickstarter for additional clarification of how a Canadian studio was able to launch a campaign they were given this statement:
“Regarding who on their team meets those requirements, that’s really a question to pose to them.”
This seems to be stating that at least one member of the Precursor team meets the standard guidelines all projects need to adhere to. It seems as if Kickstarter may have allowed a project to be created on a small mention of a Buffalo, New York office. If a member of Precursor Games alleges:
- You are 18 years of age or older.*
- You are a permanent US resident with a Social Security Number (or EIN).
- You have a US address, US bank account, and US state-issued ID (driver’s license).
- You have a major US credit or debit card.
They should be held accountable for providing said credentials to the crowdfunding platform. If credentials were given to Kickstarter they aren’t necessarily (I don’t believe anyway) subject to releasing said information to legitimize a project. However, Precursor Games shouldn’t have any issue with providing these credentials in a much needed gesture of transparency. No statement has been made at this time.
Until this point we haven’t even mentioned the lawsuit former Silicon Knights President Denis Dyack is tied to. The now essentially gutted studio ran into trouble with Epic over it’s failed use of the Unreal Engine 3 game development tool. Silicon Knights alleged Epic withheld important pieces of it’s Unreal Engine during the development of Too Human, which resulted in the studio having to make use of a proprietary game engine. The suit was settled nearly a year ago today completely in favor of Epic.
Questions are mounting at an alarming rate in reference to the Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter campaign. If Precursor Games hope to succeed in their funding efforts, and in the future as a legitimate developer, they’ll have to provide some much needed clarification to the media. Our hope is that credentials are readily provided and Kickstarter is subtracted from this less than savory equation.
We’re simply putting forth the facts and unanswered questions that have many feeling cautious about Precursor’s campaign.
UPDATE: We’ve reached out to Precursor Games for further clarification. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.