Shroud of the Avatar a financial disaster? It’s not looking good
If you think Shroud of the Avatar, the Kickstarted MMO being developed by Texas-based developer Portalarium is ever going to be a completed and fully functioning bug-free game, I have a golden castle I can sell you. A golden castle, by the way, that is currently being offered as one of the rewards for investing in this money-sucking MMO’s latest crowdfunding efforts.
Crowdfunding efforts for a game that is still far from completion, and has already raised, and spent, more than $18 million.
And, according to a new crowdfunding campaign kicked off this week, Portalarium is now looking for yet more money to fund its development of Shroud of the Avatar, with another $2 million being sought in the next two months so the company can keep the game going.
With the game seemingly months, if not years, away from proper completion, however, and it only being the first episode in a planned five-episode game, fans are asking how on earth Portalarium can be asking for so much money for Shroud of the Avatar again, so soon after it has raised so much.
And, sure, Portalarium has been upfront and honest during their latest money ask, releasing financial statements that show the company has already spent over $18 million on game development.
With only $500,000 in the bank, though, and development costs running at over $230,000 a month, it seems highly unlikely they are going to get many investors to buy into a new attempt to raise major funds. Not when they have only two months worth of operating costs left in the bank, and the need for major money if they are ever going to complete this thing.
Even if they are giving a way an in-game golden castle if you agree to give them $30,000.
Because the problem with this entire endeavour, the brainchild of Ultima‘s Richard “Lord British” Garriott, is it’s not as if it’s a game most fans playing it in beta are currently loving. At least according to Steam reviews, which have the game at only a 53% positive rating.
Shroud of the Avatar Steam reviews
If you look at the most recent Steam reviews of the game, some of whom say they have given it many hours of gameplay and held off reviewing it for a long time so they could be fair to the developer, they are overwhelmingly negative.
One reviewer on Steam says, “Tried so hard. Spent too much money. Game isn’t close, load times are awful, decision making and implementation are not good. It has become an endeavor to please the backers more than an effort to put the game in a completed state. It is a huge mess.”
Another one written yesterday talks about the game looking like it was developed 15 years ago, and load times beyond unacceptable.
“I was one of the original backers for SotA, and a long time fan of the Ultima series and Richard Garriot (Even an Ultima Dragon, Wildwood Dragon). I hate to have to say it, but the entire experience has been a massive disappointment… The UI in SotA is clunky and poorly designed beyond reason. Memory usage to get it looking even halfway decent is off the chart, and is still often looks like a game made 15 years ago. and the titular shroud must be woven from load screens. I timed them and got numbers anywhere from 2:45 to over 5:00. That’s simply unacceptable. On top of that, combat is poorly conceived, and generally unexciting, and you’ll likely die on an extremely regular basis, as there is no indication of how difficult an enemy is. You may take a MOB in one area with ease, then find one that looks identical in another zone, and be one-shotted due to invisible level differences.”
He goes on to say the development of the game has “gone extremely wrong” and that serious reworking of the entire game needs to be done before the game sinks never to be resurrected.
Reddit topic asking for Shroud of the Avatar‘s SeedInvest campaign to be halted
So is Shroud of the Avatar a financial disaster, and a game that is not likely to ever come out of beta or be completed?
While Richard Garriott insists the development studio is still financially solvent, and the extra money they are asking for is just for “marketing” and other functions of a publisher, many fans are not buying it.
Nor are they buying Garriott’s statements about the game being ready for official release at the end of July.
To a point where a Reddit topic has been started asking for the game’s SeedInvest campaign to be stopped, and with links to the Securities and Exchange Commission so people who have already invested and feel like they are now the ‘victims of fraud’ can report their concerns.
Another has been started by one backer who says he’s “two cups of coffee away from reporting this blatant scam looking shit to the FTC”.
So, would I invest money in Shroud of the Avatar at this stage of the game?
A game that has been in development for four years, had an initial estimated release date of October, 2014 and, almost three years later, according to many backers who have played it, is badly borked and nothing more than an attempt to sell micro-transactions?
It’s a pity you’re not in Vienna, or you’d hear me laughing clear across town.