Yogventures project crumbles, co-creators say there's 'no obligation' to help backers (update)

Sandbox adventure game Yogventures — crowdfunded through Kickstarter in early 2012 with more than double its original funding goal — has been canceled, with backers of the project receiving Steam keys for another game despite its co-creators stating they have "no obligation" to fix things, reports Eurogamer.

Winterkewl Games' Yogventures exceeded its goal of $250,000 and brought in $567,665 in May 2012. Since then the project has been approved on Steam Greenlight, with regular updates on the game's in-progress alpha and beta being sent out to backers and posted on Steam through August of last year. But updates suddenly ground to a halt, and now it's come to light that the game has been canceled and disowned by its partners, the celebrity YouTube game-focused channel Yogscast.

One Reddit user posted an email from Yogscast co-founder Lewis Brindley, which was sent out to Yogventures' 13,647 backers. In the email, Brindley notes that Yogscast has "no obligation" to assist backers of the project, but the group will regardless try to "make this right." However, he did note it would be "impossible" to deliver the physical rewards connected to certain backer tiers, but Yogscast would look into sending backers "cool things to take their place."

"As you may have heard, Winterkewl Games have stopped work on Yogventures — but this is actually a good thing," Brindley wrote. "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 realize 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," Brindley added.

Yogscast gave out Steam codes for open-world survival game TUG, a game by indie studio Nerd Kingdom, to those backers affected by the Yogventures cancelation.

"In many ways TUG is the game we were hoping Winterkewl would create," Brindley wrote in the email. "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."

Earlier this month, in a statement on the Yogscast forums, a representative for Winterkewl Games explained  that the six-person studio would "probably need to go out of business and possibly file for bankruptcy" if the situation continues to deteriorate. Yogscast was given full ownership of Yogventures and all development assets. The post also cites the project's failure was due to a "lack of experience in planning and managing a project of this scope proved too much for our little team."

"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," reads the post. "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. As I said, 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."

Update: Yogscast general manager Rich Keith told Polygon that Yogventures as it stands is not ready for release, as it would not meet backers' expectations.

"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," he said. "However the project was too vast in scope to be realized and despite a huge amount of hard work from Winterkewl they have had to abandon it."

Keith also noted that TUG developer Nerd Kingdom now has the assets and source code for Yogventures, and will be picking up where Winterkewl left off. Physical backer rewards have already been shipped out, with in-game item rewards being developed by Nerd Kingdom to match what was promised as closely as possible.

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