Kickstarter-funded Yogventures canned, backers given Steam key for another game instead

UPDATE: Yogscast issues statement, game failure "a matter of deep regret".

UPDATE 1: Yogscast has issued Eurogamer a statement on the collapse of Yogventures and the demise of its developer Winterkewl Games.

Yogscast said Kickstarter backers should already have received physical rewards, but if any are missing, they should get in touch.

It added that it is working with Nerd Kingdom, developer of replacement game TUG, to create rewards similar to those that were due to be based on Yogventures in-game items.

Refund requests should go to Winterkewl Games, Yogscast told Eurogamer, "however if people come to us we'll do everything we can to find a resolution that everyone is happy with."

The statement is reproduced in full below:

The failure of Yogventures is a matter of deep regret for the Yogscast, we put a lot of faith in the developer Winterkewl, including allowing them to use our likenesses and brand. However the project was too vast in scope to be realised and despite a huge amount of hard work from Winterkewl they have had to abandon it.

The game as it stands it is not capable of being released and certainly wouldn't live up to the expectations of the people that backed the Kickstarter or pre-ordered the game.

However we don't intend to leave it there as we know that the Yogventures backers and buyers are our most dedicated fans so we are intent on finding them some awesome stuff and cool experiences in its place.

Last week we announced that everyone concerned will get a copy of TUG. Nerd Kingdom's game is still in alpha but is shaping up to be everything we wanted Yogventures to be. In addition, we have organised for Nerd Kingdom to have the source code, assets and designs of Yogventures to ensure we're making best use of Winterkewl's work.

For the Yogventures Kickstarter backers the physical rewards should already have been received and we're happy for people to contact us at yogventures@yogscast.com if any are missing so we can look into it for them.

For those rewards that were specifically based on in-game items we're working with Nerd Kingdom to try and match them as closely as possible and will communicate that directly to the people concerned and take any feedback on board.

We also hope to be able to announce other games and fun stuff for the backers and buyers of Yogventures over the summer. Watch this space.

ORIGINAL STORY: Backers of the Kickstarter-funded sandbox game Yogventures have reacted in dismay at the project's cancellation and Yogscast's subsequent offer of a Steam key for open-world survival game TUG instead.

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Yogventures raised nearly $570,000 for indie studio Winterkewl Games during the title's Kickstarter campaign back in 2012, more than double its original goal of $250k.

But the project has since petered out, and has now been disowned by celebrity YouTube partners Yogscast.

"As you may have heard, Winterkewl Games have stopped work on Yogventures - but this is actually a good thing," Yogscast co-founder Lewis Brindley wrote in an email to the game's 13,647 backers. "The project was proving too ambitious and difficult for them to complete with their six-man team.

"While this was Winterkewl's project, we put a lot of time, energy and effort into trying to help them realise their dream. Since we heard the news, we've been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that you still get awesome stuff and cool experiences.

"Although we're under no obligation to do anything, instead we're going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad you backed the project!"

The first step of this is to give all Yogventure backers a Steam Early Access key for TUG, an open-world survival title that is already in development. Yogscast and TUG developer Nerd Kingdom last week signed an agreement to become partners on the project, replacing the role of Yogventures entirely.

"In many ways TUG is the game we were hoping Winterkewl would create," Brindley continued. "It has huge potential for the future. We've been playing the Early Access version on Steam and you'll soon be able to see us playing the game on Yogscast channels."

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But many backers are unhappy with the change - and some have asked for a refund.

"Just wondering, would it be possible to get a refund instead of a key for TUG?" one backer asked.

"I already own TUG as I backed it on here, will there be an option for a refund?" another quizzed.

The issue of a refund is even more of a problem for those who paid extra for other rewards on top of a copy of the game. Over 1000 people pledged more than $90 to the project in return for Yogventures t-shirts, prints, DVDs, comic books, plushies, statues and other merchandise, as well as in-game bonuses. Some had already shipped, but many had not.

"It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project," Kickstarter's FAQ page states. "Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it."

Project creators sign a document legally requiring them to fulfil any stated rewards, but it is up to the creators themselves to adhere to this and work out a refund policy if applicable.

Over 200 people put down more than $300, while five backers opted for the most lavish $10,000 tier where you could go and have lunch with Yogscast themselves.

"Because Yogventures never completed it's going to be impossible to deliver the rewards relating to the finished game," Brindley stated. "However we'll do everything we can to find cool things to take their place." More details and further peace offerings were being considered, he concluded, but would be announced at a later time.

The likelihood of any refund from developer Winterkewl Games looks remote, however. The studio will "probably" now go out of business, lead developer Kris Vale explained.

"Working on Yogventures was an amazing experience and everyone at Winterkewl Games really wanted to achieve the very lofty goals the game set out to do, but lack of experience in planning and managing a project of this scope proved too much for our little team," he said.

"I can't speak for the Yogscast and I make no claims that I do, for their own reasons they decided the game wasn't up to the quality they needed it to be to make videos supporting our pre-order business model. That was and is their prerogative and we had no way of influencing that decision other than making the game as best we could with what we had to work with."

Vale ended up sinking more than $25,000 of his own personal money into the project before Yogscast decided it wanted to pull the plug.

"We missed milestone after milestone and continued to come up short of the quality expectations and thus the Yogscast didn't want to advertise the pre-orders until it did meet those expectations," Vale continued, adding that his personal life also suffered considerably.

"I wish more than anything I would have had this fore-knowledge before we ever began this project," he concluded. "If we would have limited the scope and made a solid plan for working more closely with the Yogscast I have every faith this project would have been a real stand-out achievement in the indie game world."

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