Mythic Games has denied it is on the verge of bankruptcy after a second successive Kickstarter in which it asked backers for extra contributions in order to finish producing the games.
Frustrated Kickstarter backers of 6: Siege, a board game based on popular online shooter Rainbow Six: Siege, were told last week they would have to dip back into their pockets to ensure the game would be made, with some being asked for up to $249 to cover unexpected hikes in production and shipping costs.
Mythic has been swamped with negative comments on its Kickstarter page since announcing the need for extra contributions on April 30, with scores questioning how the company spent the more than $1.5m it raised for the project from close to 11,000 backers in July 2021.
The company is yet to make a further announcement on the situation, but Mythic Games founder Leonidas Vesperini confirmed in a wide-ranging interview with BoardGameWire that Mythic is not on the verge of bankruptcy – but added that at least 30% of backers will need to agree to the extra contributions if the game is to be produced.
He said, “We understand some of the fears, but we want to set the record straight: for almost a year, we have made managerial and financial decisions that allow the company to continue its activity on a much smaller scope than before. To date, we have still delivered our games (10 projects delivered) and we intend to continue to do so on 6: Siege, Rise of the Necromancers, HEL, Monsterpocalypse and Anastyr.”
Vesperini said the company was considering allowing backers to pay a lower level of contribution on an individual basis, but confirmed that backers who do not contribute will not receive a copy of the game if it goes into production.
He said, “We will launch a single production run that our printers and logisticians estimate will be delivered to backers who paid the contribution in October.
“The overcost of the project is very high and the estimates will never come back to what they were in 2020. It is therefore impossible for us to deliver this game without contributions, especially since it would seem unfair to those who have contributed.”
Vesperini confirmed that the $1.5m raised through the Kickstarter was entirely spent on 6: Siege, rather than some being diverted to other projects. He said about 10% of the money was taken by Kickstarter and bank commissions of payment platforms such as Stripe, while the firm also had to pay a “non-negligible” percentage as royalties to Rainbow Six: Siege developer Ubisoft to license the game.
Mythic said in its April 30 update that it “spent much more than expected in the development of the game, with more people than we expected working on it and longer than we originally estimated.” Leonidas confirmed that it paid an internal team of 12 for 18 months out of the Kickstarter money, in addition to unspecified external teams.
He also cited marketing and communications spending and the cost of metal moulds for the game’s 115 plastic figures, with each mould holding between one and five minis and costing anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
In the April 30 update Mythic blamed Covid and the war in Ukraine for prices having “literally exploded in all areas”, saying its Kickstarter estimates were “no longer relevant”.
It said the cost of paper and cardboard had risen by an average of 50% to 100%, Chinese labour costs had doubled and energy, plastic and raw materials increased in price by almost half.
This is not the first time Mythic has gone back to Kickstarter supporters asking for more money to compete one of its games.
Last July the company told Kickstarter backers of Darkest Dungeon – another title based on a hit video game – that they would need to commit between $18 and $69 depending on their pledge level to ensure the game was produced.
More than 80% of Darkest Dungeon backers paid the extra contribution according to Mythic, which again had blamed Covid and the Ukraine war for rising shipping, delivery and raw materials costs.
Vesperini told BoardGameWire, “It’s not localised to Mythic Games only, it’s happened many times before, and unfortunately it will probably happen again.
“To name just a few examples (and there are many more than that) of publishers who like us have asked for contributions in various forms: publisher Shadowborne Games for Oathsworn, Flyos Games for Vampire the Masquerade Chapters, Pangaia Games for Forests of Pangaia, Project L on Gamefound and many others.
“Other publishers have filed for bankruptcy and stopped their activity without delivering the backers – I don’t know if I should give names, it would not be very elegant, but there are already several and it may continue.
“Finally, some companies have absorbed these extra costs on their cash flow, often thanks to business models different from ours, including retail sales.”
He added, “We’ve taken on the overhead of many, many projects (almost $2m in overcosts was taken on the deliveries of Solomon Kane, Steamwatchers, Joan of Arc 1.5, Super Fantasy Brawl Round 2, all of them delivered during Covid).
“This is not the first time we have asked for a contribution, we already had to do it for Darkest Dungeon last summer. The publisher Red Hook and ourselves had then taken 50% of the extra costs, and asked the backers to pay the rest. 82% of the backers had done it, and those have all received their game today
“For 6: Siege, unfortunately, we can’t take even 50% of the overhead from our cash flow, so we have to ask for a higher contribution than we did for Darkest Dungeon.”
Vesperini said the firm had prepared a new FAQ detailing issues raised by backers, which he said would be posted “soon”.
The FAQ is expected to confirm that the game will not be available at retail.