Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Ouya removes family-funded Kickstarter game from Free the Games program


When Golden Axe-inspired Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus met its funding goal thanks to help from a family member and was just two days from seeing the end of its Kickstarter campaign, Ouya removed the project from its Free the Games Fund program. In an update on the project's page, SuckerFree Games developer William McDonald wrote, "If we had remained silent we very likely would have received the funds, our transparency and honesty apparently was our undoing."

That transparency came from a backers-only update on the project last week, which explained how the project ultimately reached $54,067 with donations from just 180 people. McDonald states in the update that although his family and friends initially refused to offer financial support, his father spent a large retirement check to help fund Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus' three episodes, thereby making it eligible for rewards earned from Ouya's Free the Games Fund.

"It appears we were thrown under the FTG bus. Ouya gets their fall guy and Grid Iron keeps their money," McDonald wrote regarding Ouya's decision, referencing Gridiron Thunder, a game that received $171,009 on Kickstarter from just 183 backers as part of Ouya's program. Due to Ouya's decision, McDonald said the team opted to cancel the Kickstarter project, noting that the developer has "no plans to develop for Ouya further."

This isn't the first time Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus has received funding, as it earned $5,177 on Kickstarter back in May 2011. In an August 18 update on that project's page, McDonald notified backers of his plans to enter Ouya's funding program, and that the developer had invested over $10,000 of its own money into the project since the first Kickstarter campaign ended.

We've reached out to McDonald and Ouya, and will update as we learn more. For a brief summary on the Ouya Free the Games Fund's issues so far, check out our recap video.

Show full PR text
In view of recent FreetheGames controversy (a bid for transparency)

Dear Pledgers,

We have been honest and upfront with you about our situation from the start. As you can all see, we are currently only one quarter of the way to our goal. Before launching this Kickstarter, we approached our immediate families and asked for the financial assistance needed to complete Dungeons. They refused, to put it mildly. They are not what one would call, "Gamer Friendly." In addition, the majority of our friends work at minimum wage jobs. They could not fill the funding gap and in our opinion needed the money more than we did. We needed this money to hire our artists full-time and finish the project quickly. We have never paid ourselves for our hourly labor, Danielle, John and myself all have day jobs.

Now here we sit, with days left in our struggling Kickstarter and an unexpected thing has occurred. For the past few years we have all been struggling to keep the game going while still paying our rent and bills. My father in particular has been concerned that I would have to move back in with him if I could not secure a better job. Seeing that we are presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity that looks like we may miss, my father decided to finally help us. After 5 years of us nickel and diming our way to completion, without any assistance besides the $3000 we netted from our first Kickstarter. My father has finally decided to give us a break. My father gave me 5 checks to give to my most trustworthy of friends. The 5th check was given to John to pledge for my father. My father cannot pledge himself because he expected to pledge on Kickstarter with a check and he also doesn't want his debit card on the internet... Yes he's old.

Now you may ask, how does my father have that kind of money? Is he rich? No. No he is not. He lives, frugally, in a terrible house, alone, ever since my mother died. He was a radar technician for 40 years with the FAA. He has been saving his retirement checks for the past 3 ½ years to buy a brand new plug in hybrid car, this is that car money. For the first time in my life, he is actually helping me with one of my projects and making a pretty big sacrifice to do it.

So what does this mean for you? Well it means all the tiers are hereby unlocked! You and the previous Kickstarter plegers' will receive all 3 episodes! We will stream with you once every two weeks, let you know where the money is going, show you artwork, update the alpha/beta builds for those of you who qualify and we will listen to your feedback on the current build.

Everyone wins with this scenario. We are going to make an excellent video game series for $65,000! OUYA match funds come in 3 disbursements, 1st $12,500 at the end of the KS, 2nd $25,000 when the game is released and finally $12,500 after six months of OUYA exclusivity. So we have to finish the game, before we can get the 2nd and 3rd payments. You will all receive the fully expanded Dungeons trilogy, we get to hire our artists full time and plow through all three games with a consistent art style and OUYA gets an exclusive title for six months that kicks ass. Thanks to OUYA funds, we will be able to afford marketing, have a booth at PAX, and finally finish all of Dungeons feature complete.

If for any reason you want to lower your pledge, we understand. The more money we have to work with the better, but we know some of our friends pledged higher than they would have if this funding had been secured beforehand. Our friends and supporters just want to see the game finished as much as we do. We are going to make our trilogy as we originally intended 5 years ago. We are going to qualify for the #FreeTheGames match funds and those of you that stay with us will be the first to play an awesome video game.

Thank you all for your support,
William A. McDonald

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr