The Austin Chronicle

Kickstarter's Dark Side

By James Renovitch, May 2, 2012, 6:20pm, Picture in Picture

Just when you thought Kickstarter was a fairy land where money magically appeared for worthy artistic endeavors and nary a ne'er-do-well could be found, something like this happens. A game, Mythic, appeared on the site and started racking up funds. That was before discerning backers noticed things were not all well in Kickstarter's darkening forest.

Ever since Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions asked for $400,000 to make Double Fine Adventure and got about $3 million on top of that, making headlines along the way, Kickstarter has been a money making machine for game developers. See this helpful graph to get an idea of how awesome the past few months have been. One local development team, Stoic, got about 700% more than the $100,000 there were asking to make Banner Saga. And while that game is far from complete, by all accounts they deserve every penny. All this is to say, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to exploit this seemingly inexhaustible money tree.

The Kickstarter page for Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men looks legit. Hell, it looks better than pages I've backed. There's even a video with one of the developers from Little Monster Productions extolling the game's attributes. However, it wasn't long before people realized that there was no mention of LMP elsewhere on the web. Strange for a such a digitally savvy company. A bit more digging revealed that the art featured on the site and in the video were created by other people for other games. Even the folks at Stoic got a bit burned. The Mythic page steals the pledge-reward text from the Banner Saga's page, swapping the game names of course.

Thankfully, no money ended up in the hands of these scammers. The Mythic Kickstarter was soon canceled and Little Monster Productions deleted their account from the site, but not before making $4,739 worth of pledges. Since the Kickstarter was canceled the money won't change hands, but damn.

The moral of the story? It's kind of a no-brainer, but do a little homework before handing over money for that T-shirt or poster reward. Or maybe you really want to support that guy who wants to write a biography of his dead rat. Different strokes.

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