11:56am. "This can't be good" is an email I get from a friend. I immediately get a notice from Kickstarter that "Ghosts 'N Goblins - Demon World" is under copyright dispute. I post updates everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, etc. to let people know I'm aware and on top of the issue.
A few people canceled their pledge which I find strange because the campaign is frozen. If this infringement is legitimate, nobody gets charged. So, why cancel the pledge? Even better, are major backers that adjust their pledge from $300 to $25. Why? Because now they don't trust me and they want me to know it! Great. I let them down.
I have been 100% transparent throughout this campaign. We are a brand new company with a big idea. We started this big idea because of a contest. If we get funded we have industry veterans ready to work for us. CAPCOM said we could submit a game to them for their review but they promised nothing. All of this is in the video, all of this is in the Kickstarter risks area. Kickstarter is about manifesting an idea to reality. To give the little guy a chance. David trying to work with Goliath though? Now you have a conflict of cultures and business models.
You see, many of the major publishers are still thinking like it's 1982. In 1982, one man, Trip Hawkins met with Sequoia Capital to secure 2 million of venture capital for his less-than-a-year old company Amazin’ Software. All he had was a marketing background and a vision. Now, this company is called Electronic Arts and is worth 8 billion dollars. Now, I live minutes away from Goldman Sachs. If instead of going to Kickstarter, I went to Goldman and said "CAPCOM isn't promising anything, but if we create a great Ghosts 'N Goblins game they said they would review it. If they like it, they'll publish it! Can I have hundred grand?" that would be business as usual and nobody would think twice. But, this is 2013 and this is the era of Kickstarter. This project has caused waves at CAPCOM so now I'm working with their licensing department to figure out what they want to do. This is CAPCOM's IP, I never claimed it was mine. Phantasm Studios wants to develop Demon World for CAPCOM, not publish it. We discussed this with their licensing department before we launched. This has always been 100% clear.
But, with CAPCOM freezing the campaign now, it looks like I'm lying to the masses. Running a campaign is basically being interviewed by world and everyone is looking at you going "Can this team deliver on what they are promising?" Very similar to what it would be like running for political office I would imagine. What's ironic to me is Kickstarter isn't easy. I'm basically working a full week every 2 days. I've invested thousands in this project already and if you include all the previous investments to actually make this project happen, tens of thousands. I'm not lighting money on fire and sleeping four hours a day to waste people's time or money. I want to make a great game for CAPCOM, period.
This will be an interesting side-note in Phantasm Studio's history. Reimagining arcade classics is how I will be spending the next 30 years, it's just a matter of which classics. Eventually, people will understand and embrace Kickstarter. I've been going back and forth with CAPCOM's licensing department today to figure out what the next move is and I'll be hopefully sending out an announcement soon. Obviously, this is very political. Stay tuned!