Precursor CEO admits developer used a terms of service 'boiler plate' from another site

Shady Shadow of the Eternals T&C’s ‘a mistake’

The controversial terms and conditions for Precursor Games’ Shadow of the Eternals crowdfunding campaign were simply a mistake by the developer, the company’s CEO has told Develop.

Currently the Terms of Use on the developer’s website still state that “a donation cannot be cancelled or returned once it has been completed, whether or not Precursor Games completes the game or fulfils the specified reward”.

It also states that any pledges are “strictly donations and are not consideration for any service or product”.

The studio’s CEO and founder Paul Caporicci, told Develop the statements were simply from a "boiler plate" terms of service taken from another site.

He admitted the developer should have been more clear with its intentions, calling the move a mistake on the company’s part.

Caporicci also clarified that if the project fails to reach its funding goal, the studio will be refunding all pledges.

"We just had a boiler plate terms of service, and there’s actually lots of ones very similar to that on other sites," he said.

"But yes we absolutely should have been more clear, if we don’t reach our goal we will be refunding all the money to everyone.

He added: “That was just a mistake on our part not to be more specific with what our intentions are with this project.”

It should also be noted that the campaign’s FAQ has been updated to state that it is a flexible crowdfunding campaign, meaning that it does not have to reach its original goal through its own website.

Asked why the studio had decided to take to crowdfunding in the first place, Caporicci said the team had decided to do so in an effort to bring the studio closer to its users and community.

"Crowdfunding gave us a way from day one of the development of a game to bring them [users] along for the ride of development," he said.

"And that’s where the whole idea of the Order of the Unseen was born, and that is like a vehicle for them. When they contribute, they get access to a special area on our forum, and they get to contribute to the development of the game with suggestions of story, gameplay mechanics or any other things that kind of come up.

"So there’s a really nice symbiotic relationship there where we’re kind of throwing things out to them and they’re giving things back to us, and I think it’s going to make for a better project in the end, getting us that outside look and that feedback."

After what Caporicci said was essentially high demand to take the horror game to Kickstarter, the project has also been launched on the popular crowdfunding website, with Precursor now essentially running a double campaign. So far, the Kickstarter has raised $81,000 of its $1.35 million goal.

Given it is running both fixed and an flexible campaigns, both with different funding goals, when asked how much the developer really needed for the first game, Caporicci said the studio required $1.5m for the pilot.

"Our goal is $1.5 million for the first episode and we anticipate future episodes to be much cheaper than that, there’s a lot of upfront costs in there," he said.

"So we set out our goal for $1.5m for the pilot episode, and we were able to raise $150,000 on our own site. And then we kept hearing people say Kickstarter, Kickstarter, Kickstarter. So we launched that with a goal of $1.35m, and then we essentially asked the community ‘what would you like us to do for the people who have already donated with our own site?’, and we put it up to a poll and they said just leave it open-ended.

"Right now, essentially what we’re telling people is that we’re focusing on the Kickstarter, but if the Kickstarter is not an option for you, and you want a PayPal option to donate, we’ve left our site open for that purpose."

Caporicci went on to say that should the game’s two crowdfunding campaigns fail to reach their goals, the developer would look to other options to fund the game.

When asked if this meant finding a private investor or a publisher, he responded: "We’ll consider anything to make this game".

Formed in July last year, Precursor Games consists solely of former Silicon Knights developers, including ex-studio head Denis Dyack.

Caporicci said that this was because these were developers he had previously worked with for a long time, and that Precursor planned to hire all sorts of other staff with different backgrounds as it expands.

"Those are the people that I worked with for a long time and those are the first people I reached out with because we’re all taking an enormous risk here with this start-up, and those were the people that were so far comfortable enough to join me on this journey," he said.

"We plan to expand and hire all sorts of other people from other places."

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