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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Zaharia - Officially Canceled

Default Zaharia - Officially Canceled

March 7th, 2014, 15:53
It should come as no surprise, given their last update from Wednesday, but Zaharia has been officially canceled now.

There is no news at the moment on what the next steps are and if they will have another go in the near future.

More information.
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March 7th, 2014, 15:53
To be clear the game isn't canceled, just the Kickstarter campaign. It would be great if they could find a wealthy private investor or something so that they could come back to Kickstarter with a much lower goal. I don't think this KS failed because of the game concept itself, but because they made some mistakes marketing it and couldn't get the exposure needed to reach such a high goal.
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March 7th, 2014, 16:26
Somehow this flew completely bellow my radar. Looks good!

Need to try that demo…
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March 7th, 2014, 17:56
Not to be too negative here, but I'm not convinced that this would sell well even if they built it. For example, the Al-Qadim setting in D&D was a niche product within a niche game market that only had a minor following. Likewise with the Dark Sun desert world setting. This game of Zaharia would need to have outstanding qualities to gain much of a market share. It's unfortunate, but that's probably the reality.
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March 7th, 2014, 18:34
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Not to be too negative here, but I'm not convinced that this would sell well even if they built it. For example, the Al-Qadim setting in D&D was a niche product within a niche game market that only had a minor following. Likewise with the Dark Sun desert world setting. This game of Zaharia would need to have outstanding qualities to gain much of a market share. It's unfortunate, but that's probably the reality.
You could be right. However, perhaps Al-Quadim / Dark Sun settings weren't popular because they weren't marketed well or the writing for the novels just weren't very good. (Personally I did love the first Dark Sun video game but the sequel was a horrible mess). The Prince of Persia game series is very popular (granted it's not an RPG series but I don't see why a Prince of Persia style setting wouldn't appeal to RPG fans). There seems to be a lot of people who are getting tired of the generic medieval Europe style fantasy setting so I'd think that something more Eastern would appeal to them. I think this game could succeed with the proper marketing and exposure.
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March 7th, 2014, 21:29
Al-Qadim certainly felt a bit meh, but Dark Sun IMO had great worldbuilding and was IIRC one of the more successful AD&D settings when it was first published, too.
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March 7th, 2014, 21:29
Yes, well you can say a lot of people say they want a different setting, but then Darkest Dungeon gets a quarter million. I guess those multitudes aren't voting with their wallets.
Last edited by rjshae; March 7th, 2014 at 21:41.
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March 8th, 2014, 00:49
Sad, looked a nice game
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March 8th, 2014, 01:56
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Yes, well you can say a lot of people say they want a different setting, but then Darkest Dungeon gets a quarter million. I guess those multitudes aren't voting with their wallets.
I think Darkest Dungeon's success has a lot to do with their marketing. They made some very compelling trailers… and they were able to get to get a lot of endorsements from various big KS, as well as cross promoting with StarCrawlers.

And I'm not by any means saying that the standard fantasy setting is going to die anytime soon. Hey I still like games in that setting. It's just that there seem to be a lot of RPG fans on forums like this one saying they wouldn't mind something different. But perhaps a Middle Eastern style setting is not what most of those people are looking for. I hope we see more KS for unconventional / underused settings.
Last edited by daveyd; March 8th, 2014 at 16:24.
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March 8th, 2014, 05:57
Torment isn't exactly a typical high fantasy style game and it had the highest funded kickstarter yet. It has probably been marketing which is the issue and also there have only been a few kickstarters with atypical settings so it is hard to determine if people don't like alternative settings or not.

Dark Sun is my most favorite D&D setting and I loved both PC games based on it. With Al-Quadim I am not sure on the setting but loved the PC game.
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March 8th, 2014, 11:50
I am not sure I see the parallels with Darkest Dungeon here. Its a very different game with a different scope (*) and probably slightly different target group (Fallout in the Arabian Nights != a roguelikish Dungeon crawler that we don't yet know if it has a proper character progression system until the interview is up ). Some of us just happen to like both

(*and probably much easier to make for the amount asked i.e. and that creates backer confidence I am sure. As does a team of industry "veterans" vs a young unproven one)

Now re the setting: While I would love a Desert/Arabian/Persian setting I very much prefer a dark Gothic Horror with Lovecraft elements (being a HPL fanboi) I have to say.

That said this seems like a team of spirited young people with a lot of good ideas (and their RPG hearts in the right place ) so I am definitely sending a bit their way when/if they reboot their KS effort.


P.S Loved Dark Sun. Great setting.
Last edited by JonNik; March 8th, 2014 at 12:24. Reason: Did not compute ;)
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March 8th, 2014, 23:17
check out my avatar if you think darksun was bad!

darksun was pretty decent game(the first), but the whole damn setting is just amazing, to me. a post apoc world who became that by transforming immortal mage-kings to dragons. also the whole telepath system in the books was amazing, if anyone could replicate that convincingly in a game…phew.

one of the best series of fantasy books i've read. including the Sorak ones.
also its a terrible shame it never came to an end in the books!
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March 9th, 2014, 03:46
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Torment isn't exactly a typical high fantasy style game and it had the highest funded kickstarter yet. It has probably been marketing which is the issue and also there have only been a few kickstarters with atypical settings so it is hard to determine if people don't like alternative settings or not..
Good point. However, Torment also had a strong nostalgia backing. It's difficult to unconflate the two factors. Time will tell, I guess.

Originally Posted by rikus View Post
darksun was pretty decent game(the first), but the whole damn setting is just amazing, to me. a post apoc world who became that by transforming immortal mage-kings to dragons. also the whole telepath system in the books was amazing, if anyone could replicate that convincingly in a game…phew.

one of the best series of fantasy books i've read. including the Sorak ones.
also its a terrible shame it never came to an end in the books!
I agree with you that Darksun was a pretty good setting implementation and I did enjoy the novels. Will we see a Darksun KS?
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March 9th, 2014, 23:16
I have some experience with 'exotic' RPG settings, and it's an old conundrum: Unless the game / setting is really good and there's decent marketing, it's not going to sell. If it doesn't sell (because of low production values, bad marketing etc.) it confirms the bias that exotic settings don't sell.

Apart from production values / quality and marketing, accessibility IS a problem. This also applies to more complex / realistic 'western' (fantasy and historical) settings. Finding a balance between broad accessibility and the amount of political / cultural complexity of a game's setting (how to ease the player into it) is not easy.

For instance, you can make a 19th century Steampunk vampirehunting game, because it's pretty straightforward. Once you add political intrigues between, say, Germany, the Habsburgs, the Russian Empire, the British, colonial insurrectionists etc., plus the whole system of social classes, social etiquette etc. things get 'strange' and 'complex' to modern gamers really, really quick.

It can be done, I think, and the resulting game would be vastly richer for it, but it requires a very deft hand on the part of the devs.

Having said that, Zaharia was, in my opinion, clearly not that game. But I applaud the intent.
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March 10th, 2014, 09:56
And another one bites the dust. KS is tough these days, and unless you've got some big names on your project, the idea needs to be flat out amazing.

It's a real shame, as several of the failed projects looked interesting. I'm always intrigued by games with original settings, as I like exploring new places and cultures. The Arabian culture is no exception, yet the only half decent effort I've seen at creating such a setting in an RPG is the southern part of Gothic 3. In other words: There is a lot of untapped potential here.

Of course, Tatooine is actually Tunisia, but we're not exactly drowning in brilliant Star Wars RPGs either.
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March 10th, 2014, 12:30
I'm totally buying a remake of Darksun, or at least something with the similar harshness of Athas world.

The problem with KS is that its grown much bigger than years back. and the marketing should increase accordingly. not sure how many fans there are for Darksun like myself, but if done right it could be greater than gothic or fallout.
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