Neal Stephenson's crowdfunded Clang on hold, awaiting investment

By Alice O'Connor, Sep 20, 2013 6:00am PDT

Crowdfunding, it's always worth remembering, is not the same as pre-ordering--especially when it's only funding part of development. Author and sword-lover Neal Stephenson raised over half a million dollars last year with his dream of a realistic motion-controlled swordfighting game, but Clang is now on indefinite hold after failing to land further investment.

The original Kickstarter page and pitch video made no mention of needing money from other sources, but apparently it did. The team says it has struggled to secure cash from publisher publishers, who are supposedly "crouched in a fetal position under a blanket," or investors, who it says have mostly been fans simply wanting to meet Stephenson. With cash running it, developer Subutai Corporation is placing development on hold.

"We stretched the Kickstarter money farther than we had expected to, but securing the next round, along with constructing improvised shelters and hoarding beans, has to be our top priority for now," it joked in a Kickstarter update yesterday.

Is the Clang project dead? At what point do you put a toe tag on an indie game and call it finished? Opinions on that might vary, but in our opinion, the project doesn't die simply because it runs out of money. Projects run out of money all the time ... The project isn't dead in dead-parrot sense until the core team has given up on it and moved decisively on to other projects. Other events such as declarations of bankruptcy can also serve as pretty reliable markers of a project's being dead.

Subutai says it hopes to have good news on the money front "soon," and people may tinker with it in their spare time, but it's all but halted. "If you are one of our Kickstarter donors, then probably the most helpful thing you can do, as far as the Clang team is concerned, is to be patient," the team said.

Clang is, or was, or is, to be a realistic sword 'em up using motion controls and actual historical swordfighting techniques. It'd initially arm players with two-handed longswords, but hoped to spread to other weapons and techniques over time.

Reminder: crowdfunding is an investment. It is not pre-ordering. Projects can, and evidently may, not be finished, or won't come out as everything you've dreamed. The terrible cynic in me fears this won't be the last high-profile upset.

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