A big new MMORPG on Steam wanted to be like Pokémon – fail, go broke, no one gets the money back

A big new MMORPG on Steam wanted to be like Pokémon - fail, go broke, no one gets the money back

In August 2021, the MMORPG “Untamed Isles” started with good cheer on Steam. The game was based on the Pokémon series: players should be able to catch and breed monsters. The game was financed via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter – there were also many investors on board. A year later, in August 2022, developers Phat Loot say they have very bad news for players.

What is Untamed Isles?

  • The game describes itself as a “very ambitious title”, an “open world monster-catching MMORPG”. Players were promised unique zones, PvP, trading, farming, and a story – all that good stuff.
  • A Kickstarter campaign raised the whopping sum of $527,000 in 2021, 4 times more than planned (via kickstarter).
  • The game relied on a “Pay2Earn” model: all items and monsters in the player should be bought, sold or traded using a cryptocurrency – and that’s where things went wrong.
Untamed Isles July 2022 Trailer

The studio just ran out of money after the crypto crash

what went wrong? As the studio writes in a note to fans (via steam):

To work on the project we needed more than 70 team members on board and we worked tirelessly for more than 2 years to build the game we dreamed of.

The truth is that the development costs are high and there have been a lot of problems along the way. Since the start of our 2020 journey, the economic landscape has changed dramatically, in general and cryptocurrency specifically. We no longer have confidence in the market.

We have used up our resources and cannot continue development.

The team says they have relied on the crypto market. When the crash came, you had no more money. You love the game and don’t want to make any compromises, so the team paused development and considered how to proceed.

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It is hoped that one day you will be able to meet the players on the islands of Untamed Isles.

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Critical YouTube video and crypto crash initiated the downfall

What’s going on there? The website PC gamers quotes a twitch livestream from Phat Loot from last week where more background on the failure of Untamed Isles was given.

Trouble for the company behind the game started when a YouTube video posted by MMOByte on 07/21. criticized the game and apologized for originally supporting it. The YouTuber practically discredited the game (via youtube).

A former Pokémon champion, Wolfe Glick, also appeared to distance himself from the game on Twitter (via twitter).

This led to others withdrawing from the project. Instead of the 2,000 to 3,000 pre-sales one had hoped for, there were 50 left in the end.

They now want to develop the game “quietly” and look at the market:

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The worse blow to Untamed Isles, however, was that investors evaporated after the crypto market crashed. A live stream said:

Everything went very well. Then came the crypto crash and we lost our funding very, very quickly. Investors backed down when they saw the market crash — and to be fair, they were right because these are very uncertain times in the global economy.

The developers had actually planned to release the game on Steam in October in a “That’s the way it is” version, but they used up their last financial reserves so quickly that nothing came of it.

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What about the Kickstarter money now? Poorly. The investors were able to withdraw and save their money from the project. However, those who invested via Kickstarter seem to be in a bad way.

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A FAQ for the game says: No refunds would be possible because there is simply no money (via untamedisles).

Players believe they gambled away our Kickstarter money on the crypto market

What’s the reaction? The premature end of Untamed Isles is also so annoying because many Kickstarter backers and supporters didn’t even know how deeply the game is rooted in cryptocurrencies:

  • There are angry allegations on Steam that the developers gambled the money they were given to develop the game on the crypto market.
  • However, the developers want to make it clear: the Kickstarter money was not invested in cryptocurrency, the money went into the development of the game (via untamedisles). Investors would have withdrawn from the game, partly because of the problems in the crypto market.

Surely there is another setback for pay2earn, crowdfunded games and games that rely on cryptocurrency and NFTs. The mood among gamers here is already skeptical to openly hostile:

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