The Kickstarter-funded MMORPG Untamed Isles has been put on indefinite hiatus, and those who’ve backed it won’t be getting a refund.
In a blog post, Joshua Grant, CEO of Phat Loot Studios, said “there have been a myriad of factors that have caused the lead-up to this very moment but what this all comes down to is that we are unable to financially keep up with the demands of what we set out to do.”
He goes on to explain how more than 70 staff members were brought on board to work on the ambitious open-world title that’s been in development for the past two years. High development costs whittled down its cash supply, so the studio "leaned into the crypto market and expanded rapidly off the back of the positive interest." Sadly, this spelled disaster when the crypto market crashed.
"Since we started the journey in 2020, the economic landscape has changed dramatically both generally and specifically for cryptocurrency, and we are not confident in the current market," says Grant. "We ran out of financial resources and we can’t carry on the development at this moment." The game managed to raise almost NZ$ 841k (roughly $530k / £440k) from 3,052 backers through Kickstarter.
Grant explains that Untamed Isles isn’t predominantly a crypto-based game, saying that it "remains game-first, crypto-second in design," but adds that crypto funds are essential to bringing the game to life. Since the initial announcement, the developer has issued a follow-up statement to clarify that it did not invest any funds gained through crowdfunding into crypto and insists that this was all put into developing the game.
As for the cash that fans contributed to help bring the project to life, it appears that they won’t be getting it back. A post on the game’s website reads, "due to our cash reserves being empty, we are not in a position to refund our initial backers. We are truly sorry about this and wish this scenario was different." Fortunately, those who’ve pre-ordered the game are eligible for a refund and will be contacted via email.
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