Just yesterday we broke the news that developer Playdek was quitting their troubled Kickstarter RPG Unsung Story. Today we have another Kickstarter RPG, that frankly we were personally more excited about than Unsung Story, but this one seems to be completely dead. We're talking about highly ambitious space strategy-RPG The Mandate, which raised $701,010 from 16,408 backers in 2013.
It is now August 2017, with the game two years out from developer Perihelion Interactive's estimated release date, and there have both been no updates from the developer since April. Furthermore Perihelion's own website is offline, and the developer itself may have been dissolved.
The April update was to admit that this year Perihelion was reduced to only "a core team" due to continual negotiations with their publisher EuroVideo about funding. "We have been working on securing more fundings since the end of 2016. It is still a work in progress and we will follow up with you in upcoming developer's updates when we have managed to close a deal," they said. No update has been given. They claimed they would have an update every month on the forum, but this hasn't happened.
Recently backer 'Count Thalim' on the forum dug up legal documents suggesting that Perihelion Interactive has been dissolved, with The Mandate trademark not renewed since April. The final piece, The Mandate website and forum (which is still active with backers commiserating the game's demise), is due to expire on August 19 so it will be quietly taken offline then.
The reason that the death of The Mandate stings is that it's initial Kickstarter pitch was fantastic. The 'Game at a Glance' page gives a good idea, but in short it was a futuristic space RPG with internal ship battles like XCOM and external ship battles like Star Trek Online, with a story inspired by Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek where you could get to know your crew before taking them into battle and exploring a open universe. They'd even cast veteran actor David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, the next Doctor Who Xmas special). It seemed too good to be true, and apparently it was.
The failure of The Mandate is part of a troubling run of crowdfunded videogames that were mismanaged, fell away from their initial pitch, or simply spent all their funding without knowing what to do with it. Games like Unsung Story, Yogventures, Project Godus and more. While there are still many Kickstarter games that seem to be going well, like Divinity: Original Sin II, A Hat in Time or Kingdom Come: Deliverance, the fundamental rule to remember is to treat a Kickstarter pledge as a donation, not a guarantee.
We've reached out to Perihelion for a comment and will update this post if we get a reply.