I checked in on beleaguered studio Gas Powered Games’ Kickstarter campaign for Wildman this morning, and saw that it wasn’t looking too good. The project had gotten about halfway to their goal of $1.1 million…but had only four days left in which to close the half-a-million dollar gap. Later today, though, Polygon reported that the fundraising campaign has finally been canceled.
Here’s what Gas Powered Games’ head Chris Taylor had to say on the page itself:
“At this point, it makes sense for us to focus our attention on other ways to keep Gas Powered Games running. Unfortunately, we are unable to share any specifics in public. When we have news to share, we will be posting it on our site. If you want status updates, or if you want to continue discussing Wildman and/or this Kickstarter, please consider migrating over to forums.gaspowered.com.
We are profoundly grateful to those of you who backed this project and Gas Powered Games. Your passion and hard work put us in a position to write this exciting new chapter in the history of GPG.”
Taylor further explains (by not really explaining) the situation in a video update on the campaign page:
“I’ve been working in the background to find other ways to keep Gas Powered Games running. The trouble is, when you start doing things like that, you can’t update people on it. You can’t share all that information. And if all goes well, which I think it will, I’ll be able to give you all some great news in the weeks ahead. And if we do, in fact, make that happen, I want everyone on Kickstarter who’s pledged for Wildman to be the first in line to see what we’ve got going on.
So, I’m not going to forget you guys, and all the things that you’ve done for us. In fact, if it wasn’t for all of the hard work, and the passion, and the support that I’ve seen this last month, I would not be in a position where I could be looking at some of the opportunities that we’ve got today.”
Sounds to me like Taylor may have found an investor—or more likely, a buyer—who will bail Gas Powered Games out of their current financial mess. Readers who’ve been following this story may remember that shortly after the Kickstarter Campaign started, Taylor laid off just about everyone on his company’s staff, and the campaign transformed from funding one game project to saving the company itself.
Why do I think that Taylor’s found someone to buy Gas Powered Games? Because it doesn’t make sense to cancel the Kickstarter with so little time left to go, for one. I suppose it’s possible that the campaign could’ve hit its $1.1 million goal in four days—unlikely, but possible. If that happened, there’d be revenue coming in, which would’ve meant taxes to be paid. It’s entirely possible that it’d be better for the company to not have that revenue, or tax burden, or obligation to make the game, if it wanted to look attractive to a potential buyer.
I literally have no idea if that’s true—nor, really, if it makes sense. I’m no business genius at all. But I do wonder what the harm would’ve been for the campaign to run its course. Until we know more, I’m sticking with this theory. Let’s not forget last year’s bizarre OnLive death and resurrection saga.
Instead of filing for bankruptcy when it, you know, ran out of money and couldn’t pay back its debts, OnLive instead filed for “assignment for the benefit of creditors.” Somehow, using legal magic and mumbo jumbo I don’t totally understand, the company was able to get passed to a new owner in such a way as to free it from its debt and start fresh. All the laid off staff were rehired a day or two later.
Let’s say, then, that Gas Powered Games also owes a bunch of money it can’t pay. It’s already laid off its staff. In order to avoid bankruptcy while also skirting the need to pay back creditors, it’d probably be best to avoid having a big pile of money suddenly get transferred into the bank account—which could be seized by a judge to be portioned out to those who are owed money. And having the Kickstarter fail also wouldn’t be too good if the company wanted to prove its value and potential. A failed fundraising bid just goes to prove the opposite.
Again—all speculation. All questions and musings about what could be happening here. In the meantime, we won’t be able to know for certain until we hear what happens next for Gas Powered Games. Stay tuned.