Overambitious RAW suspended with finish line in sight

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019

RAW was stopped by Kickstarter after failing to provide an accurate minimum budget. — AFP Relaxnews

It would have been a virtual island where players could mix city and society-building aspirations with the tense survival of Rust and the wild pursuits, firefights, and broad freedoms of Grand Theft Auto Online – as prototyped by a team of two chasing an extremely modest budget. If the dream seems too good to be true, staff at Kickstarter agreed, suspending the RAW campaign a day before its July 16 completion.

With its promise of an island whose buildings, businesses, cars, and roads were all built and staffed by players, at over €170,000 (RM784,434) pledged, the crowdfunding drive for RAW was Kickstarter's most-funded live video game project at the time of cancellation.

Though several thousand Kickstarter users were willing to take a punt on the concept, together more than doubling its original target of €70,000 (RM322,987), others asked for more evidence of the project's current status and future plans.

An initial gameplay video showed how vehicle simulation was coming along, but did not show how the game would work on a larger scale; its campaign trailer appeared to be pre-rendered using a selection of objects downloaded from the Unity Asset Store – not an invalid approach but one implying a great deal of groundwork yet to come.

In the end, Kickstarter's Trust and Safety team stepped in, noticing that the Killerwhale Games had advised, in a Frequently Asked Questions section, that their game "can not be made for [€]70k ... we have other sources of funding too".

That contravenes Kickstarter's requirement that a campaign's initial funding target be enough to complete a given project's basic specifications.

"This creator stated in an update that they would need to raise additional funds outside of Kickstarter to complete the game," a Kickstarter representative told PCGamesN. "We require projects to be honest and clearly presented, and this project failed to meet that standard."

Killerwhale responded by expressing disappointment in the outcome and insulting Kickstarter administration.

Prior to cancellation, the team had promised a second gameplay video showing very basic character interactions, to be published before the end of the campaign.

Restarting the campaign via another crowdfunding site or through a website controlled directly by Killerwhale were suggested as possible next steps to members of a private Discord chat channel for backers, as reported by MassivelyOP.

An aspect of the style of play proposed by Raw already exists within Grand Theft Auto Online community modification GTA RP.

Players role-play as a law-abiding, law-breaking, or law-enforcing citizen of fictional US city Los Santos. – AFP Relaxnews
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