American McGee Defends His Kickstarter Game, Says It's '100% Finished'

Last week, I wrote about Akaneiro, a game designed by American McGee (Alice) and announced back in 2011. McGee and his team went to Kickstarter to ask for $200,000 "to finish what [they've] started."

McGee took issue with my coverage, writing Kotaku a note to say that the game is actually finished.

"The game is 100% finished," he wrote. "The company is not out of money. The project was completed on time, on budget and will be shipped this month (Jan 2013.) It has been in Closed Beta with 25k people having run through it since late last year."

McGee also addressed the line "we're out of time and money to do so," which has since been removed from their Kickstarter.

"When the Akaneiro team says they are 'out of money/time' it just means they came to the natural end of their development cycle on that project," McGee told me. "The KS campaign would allow them to extend that—something we'd ask a publisher to consider were we funded that way. We're not, so we ask the audience instead."

I asked McGee to clarify this: if the game is 100% finished, why does the Kickstarter say that the team feels "some key features are missing"? Why start a Kickstarter at all?

The game is 100% finished. The company is not out of money. The project was completed on time, on budget and will be shipped this month."

"'What's been achieved both artistically and mechanically is fantastic… but it's just not enough to call the game complete, to satisfy our fans or ourselves,'" McGee wrote, citing his Kickstarter page. "THIS is the main idea. We're not satisfied. We'd like to take the game further and make it better. In the days when we were funded by a publisher, we would have asked them to review our ideas for additional features and approve (or not) a longer development cycle. 99% of the time they would have said 'no.'

"As we are not publisher funded, and because we can't afford to continue development indefinitely, we're asking the audience—we're giving them a chance to decide whether or not these additional features sound worthwhile. Whatever the response, the game will launch this month (January 2013) in a state that is "final" per our existing internal schedule and budge. Support for the title will continue going forward, but will be focused on the existing product—with not a lot of time or resources available for adding new platforms or major features."

McGee also took issue with the last line of my story, in which I wrote: "Remember the days when game companies started making games and then actually finished them? Without panhandling on the Internet? Ahh, nostalgia." So it's only fair to post his response:

"Remember when developers just went out of business because publishers let them die? Or when half-finished games were forced to market and the developer took the blame? Or when misleading marketing campaigns duped players into buying something they had no interest in to begin with?"

Hence, Kickstarter.