UPDATE: The Doom that Came to Atlantic city's new publisher, Cryptozoic, has explained that it never had any contact with the Kickstarter campaign mastermind The Forking Path.
When asked about taking over the project, Cryptozoic's chief operating officer Scott Gaeta explained to me that he only heard the news about the cancelled Kickstarter project along with the rest of the internet. Being a fan of game designer Keith Baker's work, Gaeta decided he was in a position to help out, so he approached Baker hoping to resurrect the shuttered project. "I sent him a message - probably a day or two after the news broke - and just said 'I'd like to try to help if we could and see if there's a way to get the game out.'"
Gaeta explained that he didn't have to purchase the game rights from The Forking Path because when the overwhelmed publisher cancelled the crowdsourced project, the rights automatically reverted back to the game creators. When asked what contact Cryptozoic had with the Forking Path during the transition, Gaeta said "Zero. We've never had any contact with him whatsoever." Regarding the $123K budget The Forking Path blew, Gaeta explained, "I don't know any more than what's been posted on the internet."
So how will Cryptozoic intend to make money after honouring the backer-reward debt it inherited from The Forking Path's belly up Kickstarter campaign? Gaeta noted that his company would have to take an initial hit on it and only break even on its first run. But he remained hopeful that the game would be in demand enough to warrant a second print that would start to produce a real profit. "It's not a money making thing for us up front. It's a nice giveback to the community," said Gaeta. "Our goal in the first print run is to print enough to take care of the Kickstarter campaign... when we get to the second printing, which I think we'll get to, then we'll make our normal manufacturers/publishers margin."
As far as the rewards go, Gaeta noted that Cryptozoic would have to deviate from The Forking Path's original tiers, which it noted were unrealistic. "The primary thing is to get the completed game to the backers and the amount of the game that they backed. So if somebody backed them up enough to get two complete games or three complete games, they're going to get those complete games," said senior brand manager Adam Sblendorio. "The pewter figures and T-shirts and other things - that's not part of what we're trying to fulfill. Even the pewter pieces alone- I don't think Eric [Chevalier] or The Forking Path had the experience or foresight to understand what that would entail as far as safety testing."
As a result, the game pieces will most likely be plastic across the board. "The standard game that we're going to produce will come with plastic figures. We're not going to do versions of the game that come with cardboard s***," said Gaeta, referring to one of the lower reward tiers. There won't be a deluxe pewter version either as casting pieces out of two materials would cost vastly more money as it would require a completely different process and would need different molds and tools to produce.
I suppose that explains at least one of the many mistakes Chevalier alluded to when he blew the six-figure budget.
Original Story: Last week I detailed the sad, sorry state of the crowdfunded board game The Doom that Came to Atlantic City, which was cancelled 13 months into production after it raised a whopping $123K - about 3.5 times its initial goal. As it turns out, The Doom that Came to Atlantic City has been saved (sorry, Atlantic City) by board game and trading card publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment.
Better yet, Kickstarter backers will still receive the game. "We were really shocked to hear the news about this last week," said Cryptozoic's chief operating officer Scott Gaeta in the announcement. "The game looked fantastic and I thought that we might be able to help, so I contacted Keith [Baker, game designer] right away. Keith and Lee [Moyer, artist] told me that taking care of the Kickstarter backers was the most important thing to them and I couldn't agree more. That's why we are going to be fulfilling all of the Kickstarter game orders ourselves."
Baker said of the Kickstarter kerfuffle - in which one-man publisher The Forking Path blew the budget without the rest of the team getting paid - "the worst part of this is that people who put their faith in our game have been hurt by it." He then added, "After the Kickstarter was cancelled, many people came forward with ideas to keep the game alive. But we didn't want to pursue an option that would save Doom unless it would also get the game into the hands of the people who first supported it."
Thankfully, that's actually happening and it seems to be well into production. Gaeta noted that Cryptozoic is already working with a factory on mass producing it and a release date should be announced in a few weeks. The game will also be playable at both Gen Con and the upcoming Alliance Open House.
Cryptozoic, as it turns out, is no stranger to video-game related board and card game spin-offs, as it published the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, Batman: Arkham City Escape, and the upcoming Assassin's Creed: The Board Game. That's some pretty serious street cred.
It sounds like a happy ending for the project Baker and Moyer started over a decade ago, but one wonders how Cryptozoic can afford to honour the Kickstarter backers for pledges it never received. Perhaps it's expected to be a big enough hit that the publisher can withstand giving away free copies to the 1246 backers, or maybe Cryptozoic just wants to curry favour with gamers by heroically coming in at the last minute to save the day, or maybe it's confident that The Doom that Came to Atlantic City will be a damn fine game and that's all that matters. I've reached out to Cryptozoic to hear more about how this arrangement went down and with any luck I'll have more to share on that in a bit.
For more information on The Doom that Came to Atlantic City, Cryptozoic has a nifty page for it already set up. It's about demonic gods duking it out in the great city of the Atlantic. Sort of like HP Lovecraft meets Boardwalk Empire.