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Default Project Resurgence - Cancelled

August 4th, 2017, 10:56
Project Resurgence is no more as the developer Nectar Game Studios has run out of money and is effectively dissolved.

NGS Dissolved & Future of Resurgence


Hello again my fellow Nectarines,

Rob here, with a heavy heart and somber news. In this update you'll find:

  • Why Nectar has been dissolved
  • What's next for the team
  • Future of Resurgence
  • Why no refunds
  • Core demo links
It has been extremely difficult for me to write this update. I've tried, and I just couldn't get the words to come out. Emotionally, I've fallen into one of the darkest places in my life, and I'm just now digging myself out and starting to feel ok again. As the title states, we've run out of money and been forced to dissolve Nectar and put Resurgence on indefinite hiatus.

I apologize if this comes as a shock to you. It certainly was a shock to us. But I will try to explain the situation as best I can, and what that means for all of you and our beloved game.
What the Hell Happened?!

When you gave us your money and your faith a year and a half ago, we were convinced we had a solid plan and team to get the job done. But as development progressed, and the schedule started to slip, we found out how far off the mark we truly were. I'm not going to call it "indie-itis" because I find that to be a flippant and condescending term for small plucky teams taking a shot, and falling short of the mark. If you've never developed a game, it's easy to discount the thousands of man-hours, physical and mental energy, personal sacrifice, and plain luck it takes to succeed. And always remember Murphy's Law. Things go wrong, bugs happen, features need to be redesigned or cut, and teammates' life circumstances change. I'm going to go more in-depth with a full postmortem in a later update, covering what exactly went right and wrong, but in a nutshell, we discovered that we were easily making a half-million dollar game on less than half of that budget.

When the Kickstarter closed, we knew that money was only going to be enough to keep the core team going for a year of full-time paid development. That meant scaling down our 50 some volunteers to just 15 people, all getting paid a meager $9.50 per hour (the highest minimum wage in America at the time) to cover our basic living expenses and let us focus on development. We still managed to stretch the funds an extra six months, but as our original release date of January 2017 was looming we knew we had to make some tough decisions. If you're familiar with the Project Management Triangle, we chose to stick with Quality and Low Cost, which also meant abandoning Speed. So our path became clear. To continue development we didn't need to raise an insane amount of money, but we still needed more. And the best option there was to find a publisher.


We began the search for a publisher back in January. Any startup will tell you fundraising generally takes about 3-6 months with the CEO totally focused on that. I tried my best, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to dedicate all my time to that effort. As a small team, I still had to juggle my Creative Director responsibilities to keep the rest of the team moving forward. I'm not an experienced business guy, I'm a designer and producer, so I've had to learn to be an entrepreneur as I went. I needed help, and I asked Cohh to step up as my co-founder, but he just couldn't find the time with his streaming schedule. In March, I brought on an entrepreneur friend and game developer, Branden Middendorf, to help with the fundraising effort. Together, we contacted over 50 publishers, knowing they were our best shot for a "lead investor." In order to deliver on the vision of Resurgence we promised, we set out to raise a $500K seed round from a combination of publishers, angel investors, incubators, and venture capitalists. While a huge number (more than double our Kickstarter goal), that's pretty much the minimum to be taken seriously in the startup investment world. That amount would let us expand the team (finally hiring more programmers and artists), and fund another year of development. Getting a publisher deal was the first step that would have allowed all the other pieces to start falling into place, and we were so close.

Of the publishers we contacted, we had the best luck with the small indie ones. We had several rounds of interviews with Devolver Digital, Raw Fury, Versus Evil, Humble, and Team 17, but ultimately they all passed. Those interviews seemed to go so well, and we were so hopeful that we'd get an offer from at least one of them. Just $100K from a respected publisher would have given us our "lead investor" (the hardest part of fundraising), plus all the benefits a good publisher offers to developers and started the snowball of other investment deals. It's a lot like Kickstarter actually, no one wants to be attached to a project with no momentum, but people come out of the woodwork for one that looks like a sure thing.

Anyway, by June we had just enough money left in the bank for that month of payroll, and remaining bills. We had just released the new Explore demo and were hopeful that would convince the last couple publishers he hadn't heard from yet that we were worth a shot. But soon enough, they too said no. When the final rejection email came in, that was a crushing blow. I spiraled, as I saw the finality of my dream crumbling around me. We were out of time, money, and options. There was no other choice but to close up shop.

That's when I had an emergency meeting with Cohh, and he made an announcement on Twitch a few days later.

Future of Nectar

With no more runway, we came to the harsh realization that, like many other startups, our first venture had failed. I am deeply sorry it took so long to write this update (since many of you only follow us through these backer updates), but it was just too fresh of a wound. It felt like a death in the family, and I had to process my grief first. Then came the task of finalizing the paperwork, paying off our debts, and any other lingering issues. And since Nectar was the main source of income for most of us, we had to immediately set to finding new jobs. Many of us have had to take temporary work to keep the bills paid, but we are still looking for work in games. If you hear about any opportunities for passionate and dedicated cRPG enthusiasts (especially remote), we'd be most appreciative.

Despite the dissolving of Nectar Game Studios as a legal entity, the team itself still wants to keep working together in some way. We've all bonded a lot over the last 5 years working on this project, so there's a good chance we'll keep working together on something in our spare time once again. As soon as we figure out what that is, we'll start looking for volunteers again to join the team. This new phoenix team, rising from the ashes, will no longer be Nectar but we're going to keep the branding we've established for the short term. So anything new going on with the team will still go out on our existing social media platforms and website.

Refunds - One of the big questions we've seen so far is regarding refunds. As much as we'd love to refund all the backer pledges, that's simply just not possible. All that money has been spent on development, to get us this far. It's all gone. The only thing we can do is cancel all the pending add-ons and pre-orders in BackerKit. No one has been charged in BackerKit yet (unless you opted for Paypal), so we will still cancel those payments. Perhaps you've received a refund from a failed project in the past, but there's really no way to do that without someone else footing the bill. The only way I can see that happening is if another studio wanted to purchase the IP, assets, and codebase (a long shot to say the least). And to avoid any confusion, Kickstarter is not a store and pledges are not pre-orders (Kickstarter FAQ: Accountability). Pledges are legally considered donations or gifts so backing a project is essentially taking a gamble on something you'd like to see happen, but there are no guarantees. I'm just sorry we couldn't be one of those projects that are able to deliver.
[…]
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August 4th, 2017, 12:09
I'm glad I only backed this one for the minimum. I almost didn't back it all due to its episodic format, but I really like party based crpgs, and there are simply not that many as they require a lot of systems. This is my first actual Kickstarter failure. I have a few others which I'm sceptical will ever get finished, but this is the only one that was actually cancelled.
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August 4th, 2017, 12:26
Pity. I didn't back it, but I was looking forward to it.
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August 4th, 2017, 12:46
I didn't back this one and the main reason for that wasn't episodic nature but insisting on season pass scam.

I'm not trying to say "toldya so", there was no way to know for sure if the project will deliver or get aborted. But IMO, Kickstarter should start rejecting projects with any mention of season pass.
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August 4th, 2017, 13:50
Joxer, IMO Kickstart should not reject projects with season pass feature. Thís is up to us, game players. Though I do agree that small studios, which usually resort to Kickstart in order to make their games, hardly have the necessary budget to develop and maintain the core game, let alone the other "pieces" of the so-called "season pass"
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August 4th, 2017, 14:23
in a nutshell, we discovered that we were easily making a half-million dollar game on less than half of that budget.

When the Kickstarter closed, we knew that money was only going to be enough to keep the core team going for a year of full-time paid development. That meant scaling down our 50 some volunteers to just 15 people, all getting paid a meager $9.50 per hour (the highest minimum wage in America at the time) to cover our basic living expenses and let us focus on development. We still managed to stretch the funds an extra six months
So, why did they proceed to burn through people's money, when they knew from start they were seriously underfunded for the project? So sick of this bullshit making it harder for responsible projects to get funding.
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August 4th, 2017, 15:57
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
So, why did they proceed to burn through people's money, when they knew from start they were seriously underfunded for the project? So sick of this bullshit making it harder for responsible projects to get funding.
… because they wanted to make a huge game, as per ye-olde-school-cRPG standards.

They were smart enough to understand that it will cost a fortune to develop:
- hence the episodic format idea (fund the subsequent episodes from the earlier one's income)
- and the need for a publisher to fund the business.

That is: at least they tried.

What worries me is this: from about 50 publishers, NOT A SINGLE ONE wanted to back an old school indie RPG project.
(Reasons for this could be many, obviously, but still)
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August 4th, 2017, 16:47
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
What worries me is this: from about 50 publishers, NOT A SINGLE ONE wanted to back an old school indie RPG project.
(Reasons for this could be many, obviously, but still)
Well, they said they had multiple interviews with some publishers. That to me says they had something worth looking at. If they had said, "No one would talk to us or return our calls" it wouldn't have surprised me at all.

However many articles we read, it seems a lot of people still don't get exactly how cut-throat the competition is out there. Also, "old school indie" isn't the kind of hot commodity that gives publishers and venture capitalists a hardon.
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August 4th, 2017, 16:55
I still think, based on what they said, it was clear from the point of KS that the project was in difficulty. I think the responsible thing to have done would have been to secure more funding or a publisher at that point, and if that failed, refund the backers. I think they were irresponsible with the backers' no-strings money, in a way they would not have got away with if it were a regular investor. They state above that they consider the backer money a non-refundable "gift or donation". It's not.
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August 4th, 2017, 18:00
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I still think, based on what they said, it was clear from the point of KS that the project was in difficulty. I think the responsible thing to have done would have been to secure more funding or a publisher at that point, and if that failed, refund the backers. I think they were irresponsible with the backers' no-strings money, in a way they would not have got away with if it were a regular investor. They state above that they consider the backer money a non-refundable "gift or donation". It's not.
They say Kickstarter considers it that. Complain to KS.
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August 4th, 2017, 18:45
Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
They say Kickstarter considers it that. Complain to KS.
Then they're wrong, because KS definitely does not consider it that. KS is very clear that it is a contract to deliver the rewards, and that the devs must do so. People get confused because KS essentially warns backers that they are not making a simple purchase from a store, and there is some risk. But, it IS still a binding sales contract.

In practice, of course, the risk is there because if a company goes bust with your money, you won't get it back. The point is, it is still very much a contract to deliver the specified goods, not a donation or gift. That becomes a moot point if the company is insolvent, but it's an important distinction in the attitude of devs that receive backer money.
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August 4th, 2017, 19:06
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Then they're wrong, because KS definitely does not consider it that. KS is very clear that it is a contract to deliver the rewards, and that the devs must do so. People get confused because KS essentially warns backers that they are not making a simple purchase from a store, and there is some risk. But, it IS still a binding sales contract.

In practice, of course, the risk is there because if a company goes bust with your money, you won't get it back. The point is, it is still very much a contract to deliver the specified goods, not a donation or gift. That becomes a moot point if the company is insolvent, but it's an important distinction in the attitude of devs that receive backer money.
Well it only matters if one can prove that owners of the company never intended to spend money on making the game and delivering the rewards, otherwise tough luck. As you said, then it is a typical insolvent company and you cannot to much to get your money back.
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August 4th, 2017, 19:16
That's right - it's moot in terms of actually legally recovering your money. My point is about the attitude towards backer money, and the lack of respect and due care sometimes shown, especially in comparison to how they would have to treat a traditional investor. It does gall me when devs utterly fail, and then tell people that their backing was technically "a donation". No, it was a contract on which they defaulted. There's no recourse because the company is toast, but, you know… don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining.
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August 5th, 2017, 01:38
Wasn't this the game that was promising to offer an option to toggle between real-time and turn-based combat? That to me right there was a huge red flag (and I think the main reason I didn't back it). It's hard enough for RPG developers to get one combat system right; trying to make two for one game is an insane undertaking. I don't know how much time they even spend working on the combat systems, but that was an unrealistic goal, especially considering they already knew their resources were going to be stretched thin.
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August 5th, 2017, 01:43
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
Wasn't this the game that was promising to offer an option to toggle between real-time and turn-based combat? That to me right there was a huge red flag (and I think the main reason I didn't back it). It's hard enough for RPG developers to get one combat system right; trying to make two for one game is an insane undertaking. I don't know how much time they even spend working on the combat systems, but that was an unrealistic goal, especially considering they already knew their resources were going to be stretched thin.
yes, this.

One thing about crowdfunding, is we get to see a lot more games die openly, instead of behind closed doors.
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August 5th, 2017, 08:06
Thanks for the heads-up! Removed PR from my bookmarks list.
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August 6th, 2017, 11:41
(mainly testing to see if it shows my new signature)

Yea, I only back games from major developers most of the time on Kickstarter or Fig, if something seems shady at all, even a whiff, that is enough for me to avoid it.
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