Torn Armor Kickstarter rewards “dead in the water”
Torn Armor has posted up an unfortunate update to their Kickstarter campaign. It seems as though the project is on a forced-hiatus due to money troubles with Defiance Games.
From the update:
This is not an easy update to send out, but I have always been open, honest and transparent with you all and recently the Torn World team has had to have some very unpleasant conversations regarding “Torn Armor.”
We have hit a major obstacle here – which I will detail below – and it is only fair to be open and clear on the parties involved. I will simply layout the facts as they have occurred and you can form your own conclusions. What I will say is that ultimately you put your faith and trust in me to ensure that this project was delivered, and in that I have failed you. So while the Torn Armor team has hit unforeseen circumstances and been subjected to unprofessional behavior and broken promises, ultimately I am responsible and please direct your frustrations squarely towards me.
As you will remember, immediately after the Kickstarter ended last year we contacted the China-based companies to finalize our quotes, and were then informed that even though our quotes were less than 90 days old the new production prices, across the board, jumped by 30%. This caused us to seek an alternative production company and during this time one of our backers came forward with a recommendation. This recommendation was given and genuinely provided to help the project, but in hindsight it set us on an unfortunate path.
The company recommended is here in the United State, and this – if anything – I viewed as being beneficial. What I did not know, and honestly had no way of knowing, was that they were about to head into some very troubling times. This company is Defiance Games.
Back in June/July of last year I had my first contact with Defiance and after talking to them for a short while, I felt that it was a good solution and I felt confident that everything was still on track. But the intervening time has been nothing but stalls, delays, staffing shuffles, and sideways movement. They brought on a new CEO shortly after I signed contracts with them, which I found to be alarming, but was told that it was to improve the running of the company. They acknowledged that they had been experiencing turbulent times and the new CEO was to help get things back on track; I was reassured, numerous times and by their upper management that all was on track and schedule.
The team I had recently been introduced to and communicated with soon left and a new team was brought onboard. Again I got to meet them and again I was reassured that the changes were for the best. We were still prepping miniatures for mold production, deadlines and timelines were re-affirmed as being “November,” and while I was uncomfortable with the constant switching of staff, I felt that the wheels were moving and shortly we’d start seeing masters roll off the 3d printers. When this did not happen as promised I started updates regarding delays, later delivery timeframes and so on. I simply need time to sort out what was actually happening and where I might be able to adjust as needed.
Now while I am a patient person and I can be understanding the constant delays and lack of action from Defiance made me think that this was more than a “changing of the guard, or a that new production schedule was being implemented.” I realized there was something seriously wrong.
With our initial deadlines past and the old year ending I put them under great pressure to get things moving. With this pressure we saw the hoplite. He was great and Defiance confirmed that they could work with the model.
I believed we had a light at the end of the tunnel. With constant pressure and micro management on my end I cautiously believed we could get the project on a track towards completion.
It was at this time that Defiance stated that they would not produce any masters until they had finished a batch of models. They then informed us that the file format we had provided them, their choice, wasn’t going to work. This new format was already a replacement of the original format they said wouldn’t work, which again was their choice. Soon after this they started talking about “going back to the models from last October” It was at this time I knew we were going into a downward spiral of excuses and finger pointing.
Ironically their chief responsibility was the creation of a usable, printable, castable 3d miniature models. Early on, they informed me they were unable to work with my artist/modeler and they in turn chose the artist/modeler they wanted to work with. The file format wasn’t going to work!
Clearly we have a serious problem.
Get Another Production Company?
Last Friday I concluded that Defiance was completely unable to fulfill our needs and that I made a mistake in choosing them. Being noble and generous I would say that they truly felt like they could handle it, but the reality of the project – in addition to their own projects – was too much. There may well be other reasons.
I formally asked for our money back less the approved and agreed charges and after a weekend of badgering they told me on Monday that “We do not have the available cash on hand to return these funds at this time” and “We are gearing up here for our own releases to get new product to market and improve our cash flow.”
And herein lies the problem: Defiance have not been able to produce the miniatures, but they are also unable to return the funds. And the funds are somewhat substantial.
Currently, we are reviewing all legal options, but I have very little faith that we will simply get this money back.
Torn Armor is effectively dead in the water.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Clearly our options are considerably broadened if Defiance returns our funds: Reaper Miniatures offered to help out, but without these funds allocated to the miniatures being able to fulfill on the miniatures is an impossibility.
The money lost is crippling, but it wasn’t everything and we can put the remaining funds to good use. Currently we are discussing offering partial refunds, creating the game-only tier (rules, maps, cards, units, dice) or simply staying in a holding pattern until there is news where our funds are returned, but this last option could honestly be something that dragged on for years and we are not a fan of that route.
This situation simply sucks.We have put in a lot of our own personal money into this, we created a dream and you – our incredible backers – were the best that anyone could have ever asked for. We all passionately worked together for the Kickstarter and I earned some good friends because of it, so to now be reduced to this a year later is utterly crushing.
I fought off this moment as long as I could, but I would not send out an update like this without firmly believing that we just ran into a brick wall.
In a nutshell we have been screwed by our supplier and are now not able to fulfill this Kickstarter project. We are discussing all options at the moment, but do consider the miniatures portion of this project dead.
~ Natalya & the Torn World Team