Kickstarter updates Terms for successful-then-cancelled projects

Kickstarter updates Terms for successful-then-cancelled projects

"People wind up in the dark... so we're spelling it out."

Some high profile Kickstarter projects are coming to fruition - Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Broken Age - but not all make it this far. Author Neal Stephenson last week announced the cancellation of his sword fighting project Clang, which raised the $500k it needed in 2012 - but went on to run out of funds. A similar fate befell Yogscast-themed game Yogsventure earlier this year.

When things like that happen, the people who backed the project are sometimes kept in the dark. That's why Kickstarter updated its Terms of Use to provide guidelines for what should happen if such a thing occurs.

"For the overwhelming majority of projects, it's pretty simple: creators finish the work they planned, backers are happy and nobody sweats the details. But there are exceptions," the company wrote. "Sometimes problems come up, projects don't go according to plan, and people wind up in the dark about what's supposed to happen next. So we're spelling it out - what's expected from backers, what's expected from creators and what needs to happen if a project runs into trouble."

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Neal Stephenson cancels his Kickstarter-funded sword-fighting game Clang

Remember when Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson raised over $526K on Kickstarter to make a motion-controller-based sword-fighting game called Clang? And remember when that project was put on hold indefinitely after Stephenson's company, Subutai Corporation, ran out of money and couldn't find a publisher to fund it further? Well now the worst has come to pass: Clang is cancelled.

The reason is quite simple: that additional funding never came. "Members of the team made large personal contributions of time and money to the project before, during, and after the Kickstarter phase. Some members, when all is said and done, absorbed significant financial losses. I am one of them; that has been my way of taking responsibility for this," Stephenson said in a Kickstarter post entitled Final Update.

"The team had considerable incentives - emotional and financial - to see Clang move on to the next round of funding. They showed intense dedication and dogged focus that I think most of our backers would find moving if the whole story were told. I will forever be grateful to them. In the end, however, additional fundraising efforts failed and forced the team to cut their losses and disband in search of steady work."

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The Duellist: Neal Stephenson Interview

The novelist discusses the sharp-end of development and his first crowd-funded video game project, Clang.

The Stephenson voice is not quite the Stephenson voice. Not the Stephenson voice from books like Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon, anyway - and perhaps I was stupid to think it would be.