Crowdfunded medieval sword combat game is latest Kickstarter to come up short

Neal Stephenson’s Clang out of money

Novelist Neal Stephenson’s studio, the Subutai Corporation, has revealed its run out of money for its motion-controlled medieval sword fighting game.

The Kickstarter-funded Clang raised $526,000 – just barely above its goal – but a public update on the campaign page says the team has had to “hit the pause button” while it gets its financing situation sorted.

“We stretched the Kickstarter money farther than we had expected to, but securing the next round, along with constructing improvised shelters and hoarding beans, has to be our top priority for now,” reads the announcement.

In the meantime, Clang has become a nights-and-weekends project, but the team has asked its backers to consider another motion controlled solution, STEM, that has been making waves on Kickstarter and could potentially make life a lot easier for those designing motion control peripherals.

To explain why Clang ran out of money, the team points to the wider struggles of the industry, which has seen two major publishers disappear inside of a year and is becoming more risk averse as the next console generation approaches.

“The overall climate in the industry has become risk-averse to a degree that is difficult to appreciate until you’ve seen it,” said the update.

“It is especially bemusing to CLANG team members who, by cheerfully foregoing other opportunities so that they could associate themselves with a startup in the swordfighting space, have already shown an attitude to career, financial, and reputational risk normally associated with the cast members of Jackass.”

The update also freely admits that such an ambitious project probably "punches above its weight".

This isn’t the only high-profile Kickstarter project to fall on hard times.

Double Fine’s Broken Age team has had to make a controversial decision to release the game in two episodes to avoid running out of cash, and Code Hero – a game that teaches users to make their own games from within Unity itself – ran out of money about a year ago after raising $171,000 on Kickstarter.

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