Super Dungeon Explore studio calls Kickstarter ‘toxic’ and ‘poisonous’ as it steps away from crowdfunding

28 March 2018
pic2743468-43147.jpg Super Dungeon: Legends
But Ninja Division co-owner doesn’t rule out using platform for smaller projects

Super Dungeon Explore outlet Ninja Division has become the latest games maker to reduce its reliance on crowdfunding via Kickstarter, as its co-owner criticised the platform for cultivating hostility towards creators.

The label has raised millions of dollars in total between several major titles, including Way of the Fighter, Relic Knights and the Super Dungeon series, as well as a series of licensed miniatures for sci-fi roleplaying game Starfinder.

However, the studio has also attracted criticism and accusations of mismanaging campaigns from backers in the wake of multiple delayed projects. One major example is Super Dungeon: Legends, which made $1.3 million in 2015 and was originally slated for a fulfilment in late 2016, but remains unfulfilled over a year later, with many of the more than 25,000 backer comments on its project page hitting out at the creators.

Co-owner and creative director John Cadice told ICv2 that the “added toxicity” from using Kickstarter was a large part of why Ninja Division would be withdrawing from crowdfunding, calling it ‘irresponsible’ to continue using the platform in the face of such responses.

"The way that it's swung online has made us shy away from wanting to even be a part of it,” he said. “I don't think that it's responsible for any of our external business partners to have to be exposed to that. It's not responsible for me to expose my employees to that. It's not responsible for me to expose my brands to that.”

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He added his belief that the studio had fostered a “great community”, but also suggested that it had been over-ambitious in its promises to backers and insinuated that Kickstarter presented “the risk, as a business, of your eyes getting too big for the plate”.

Cadice acknowledged that crowdfunding presents the opportunity for creators to attract an amount of funding they might not otherwise, but warned “it is a poisonous ecosystem that cuts both ways”.

“It's smarter to step away if you have the chance to do so.”

Despite his strong words, Cadice relented that Ninja Division could consider using crowdfunding in the future for smaller projects that minimised the risk of delays or growing out of control.

"If we're ever going to consider going back to Kickstarter it's going to be because we have something small, tidy and tight that's finished and we're ready to go,” he said.

“We don't need to be out there with a hat in hand asking for huge development monies for a thing, because it's not a place where we need to be.”


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