Stephenson’s Kickstarted Sword Fighting Game Out of Money
Turns out sci-fi author Neal Stephenson won’t be the one to bring us the next generation of sword fighting games. At least not for the foreseeable future.
In July 2012, Stephenson secured more than $526,000 on Kickstarter to create a “revolutionary” motion-controlled game that would allow players “to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real sword fighter.” The project is called CLANG, and for all intents and purposes, it’s never going to make its way out of its scabbard.
Posting an update on the CLANG Kickstarter page, Stephenson revealed that the money has run out and his Subutai Corporation design team has not been able to secure additional funding or publisher backing.
“We always knew that this was going to take a while and that we’d hit some bumps along the way,” Stephenson states. “And we feel that the decision we’ve made is much better than the alternatives which were to [a] quit, [b] panic and sell out, or [c] get into a bad relationship with the wrong investor.”
Frankly, it sounds like Stephenson was in completely over his head. Somehow, though, CLANG is still clinging to life. Well, kinda sorta. Stephenson said he is unable to pay the dev team, they’ve moved on to paying gigs, and CLANG is now an “evenings and weekends” project “until such time as we get funding for a more commercial-style reboot.”
Stephenson did say he is optimistic upcoming next-gen motion controllers, namely the STEM system from Sixense, will enable the type of realistic sword fighting gameplay CLANG was designed for. So maybe, just maybe, if STEM catches on, a publisher or investor will tap Stephenson for CLANG.
What can the more than 9,000 people who contributed to CLANG do? Nada. Your money is gone, and CLANG is nowhere near completion. It’s a real risk that comes with backing any crowdfunded project, and the type of outcome that led our own Ron Whitaker to declare he’s done with Kickstarter.