While there are many notable successes, not everything on Kickstarter gets a happy ending, and that is certainly the case for Robotech RPG Tactics.
The game originally hit Kickstarter in 2013 and ended up fully funded. Robotech RPG Tactics was launched by Palladium Books and raised $1.4 million dollars during its campaign, but this week the company announced that it would not be able to deliver all of the promised products. Palladium president Kevin Siembieda also revealed that the company has lost the Robotech U.S. license, a license that it has held for over 30 years (via Polygon).
“It is with sadness and tremendous heartbreak that I announce that, despite our best efforts, we are unable to produce the Robotech RPG Tactics Wave Two rewards,” Siembieda wrote. “Moreover, after proudly carrying the legacy of Robotech in the role-playing games medium for 30 years, our license has expired and is not being renewed.”
Those wave two rewards were aimed at the higher-tier of pledges, but the project encountered issues almost from day one. As a result, Palladium ended up going through all $1.4 million of that initial funding by 2015. Palladium is offering customers some of its available boxes, but there won't be enough for everyone affected, and you'll need to pick your items by March 20.
As for how it got here, well, that's a long story, but it all started with the miniatures themselves. Palladium had commissioned the 3D sculpts of the minis for around $35,000, but when it went to actually manufacture them with its partner Ninja Division, the sculpts turned out to be incompatible with the manufacturing process. They then had to recreate everything from scratch, and that had a huge cost in both time and money.
As a result, they split the backer rewards into two waves, with Wave one shipping in 2014 at a cost of around $1.58 million. The company also produced some additional sets, which were designed to bolster sales and ultimately fund the second wave, but that didn't happen.
“After the initial release of Wave One products,” Siembieda wrote, “[retail] sales stalled. And with sales stagnating, our ability to produce Wave Two stalled with it. [...] The Kickstarter money was gone with Wave One.”
Understandably backers have been upset with the delays and now outright cancellation of the second wave, but that frustration took a terrible turn with one of the development team attempting suicide in response to the harsh feedback they were receiving.1comments
“Words on this board — cruel, vicious, condemning words — successfully crushed a man’s hopes and dreams and sent him spiraling into despair,” Siembieda wrote at the time. “Those words pushed him to the point of trying to take his own life. I would hate to think anyone may take pride in that.”
Suffice to say this campaign did not go as anyone wanted or intended. After the studio was unable to secure additional funding for the second wave, that wave is now grounded, and it seems the Robotech license will find a new home in the U.S. You can see what you qualify for though as part of the campaign's Reward Exchange, which can be found here.