Japanese game project that raised almost $70k in crowdfunding reaches stalemate, money to be returned to pledgers
Japanese game developer Pixel announced on August 25 that all pledges made in the crowdfunding campaign for the shooting game Steam Pilots are to be refunded, as completion of the project is nowhere in sight. The refunds will be issued by the operators of Makuake, the Japanese platform on which the crowdfunding was held.
Steam Pilots is a vertical-scrolling shooter game for the PC. The project to develop the game was announced and launched by former Konami composer Motoaki Furukawa. Over the course of two crowdfunding campaigns conducted on Makuake since 2019, the project had received a total investment of almost $70k.
Furukawa initially entrusted development of the game to Pixel, and the company’s CEO Hidekuni Sasaki was also directly involved in the project. However, later on, Pixel decided to back out from the project due to unpaid development fees and one-sided changes to the conditions previously agreed upon. Once Furukawa’s side ceased contact with Pixel, the latter took matters to court, demanding due payment of the contract. Meanwhile, Furukawa filed a separate lawsuit against Pixel claiming damages and compensation.
The game was originally scheduled to be completed in September 2020, but it is currently still unfinished. According to Furukawa, development of the game was newly entrusted to another programmer and resumed, but there have been no new progress reports to pledgers from him since the end of November 2022.
It would seem that Furukawa’s side failed to respond to Makuake’s requests to take action, leading the platform to opt to issuing refunds to all who participated in the crowdfunding campaign on their behalf.
Pixel is no longer involved in the project, and it appears that Shuzilow.HA, who was in charge of the game’s character design, is also no longer involved. As of yet, there is no information indicating when/whether or not the project will be completed as described in the initial posting of the fundraising campaign, and whether perks to pledgers, such as thank-you messages with illustrations by Shuzilow.HA, will be delivered. As this situation has been continuing for a significant period, comments by pledgers demanding refunds have flooded Furukawa’s last progress report from November. But, as there was no response to the demands from Furukawa’s side, Makuake stepped in to refund the money instead.
Those who invested in the Steam Pilots will have to follow the refund procedure within a certain time frame to get their money back. It seems that a necessary part of the procedure will be to send a refund request to Furukawa, the project’s manager, after which Makuake will issue the refund on their behalf.
Written by. Amber V based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-08-25 18:18 JST)