Just last week we learned that Chris Taylor, the developer behind Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander, was forced to lay off a significant number of people from his company Gas Powered Games after the Kickstarter campaign for their game Wildman was met with underwhelming funding rates. Yesterday, in an hour long interview posted on YouTube channel Matt Chat, Taylor very openly addressed the details of the company's financial woes, and his discomfort with Kickstarter.
Regardless of the exact circumstances behind the situation that led to these layoffs, it's admirable—and at times a little uncomfortable—to see Taylor speak so freely about what he believes could be the end of the company. He admits to being unable to pay severance to longtime employees, and asks people who pledged "out of their comfort zone" to rescind their pledges. "It's really going to be a longshot to fund it," Taylor said, adding "there's no point in risking [my employees] livelihood... we could only pay a fraction [of proposed severances]." "Nobody came into my office and threw themselves on the floor and said 'No Chris, this is gonna work, this Kickstarter is gonna be a success'... even as we're talking now the numbers are catastrophic."
As of now, the Kickstarter is at $335,964 of their $1,100,000 goal, with 18 days to go.
Discussing his issues with crowdfunding in general, Taylor said he regrets putting high-level tiers on the Kickstarter, and that they should have avoided anything "over $125" so people can't "lose their rent money."
"I'm actually fearful of the last two days of this campaign," Taylor said, "I'm fearful that if it's at $980,000, that $120,000 is gonna come from people I love... I will call people up who pledged and tell them to get rid of that pledge... this thing should fail if it's destined to fail."
Taylor considered canceling the Kickstarter outright, and in a January 18th video update asked backers to "help [him] make a tough decision" by commenting whether they'd like the campaign to continue. During a January 21st Reddit AMA, Taylor stated that "we're going to see the KS campaign through."