Jon Shafer's At The Gates


Well, that’s interesting. Jon used the same Spelunky and Binding of Issac bits when speaking about At The Gates to RPS and when talking about his Paradox project to PC Gamer.

Some of what Shafer wants to bring to his game with Paradox is what he calls “that roguelike flavor” seen in games like Spelunky, Binding of Issac (another of his favorites), and Don’t Starve.[/quote]



And while I use a workstation at work (as a developer), I’ve used a laptop before without any problems. As long as I can hook up a couple of monitors to it, I’m good.


IIRC, Jon luuuuuurrrrrves Spelunky, so I’m not surprised to see it get mentioned.


I disagree. If you take money, you had better be delivering a product.

I don’t know why people have this belief that because it is “Kickstarter” there are no legal ramifications for failure to deliver. The internet bought into this falsehood a while ago I noticed, and it is very difficult to dispel.

(Please note that the actual ability to collect from a given person for breach of contract is different from whether there is a breach of contract, unfair trade practice, etc. claim.)


Could a failed Kickstarter could just dump whatever aborted prototype they had completed up to that point and check off the box to say they delivered the game (even if it wasn’t very good)?

Legality aside, I’m just being realistic when I back games on Kickstarter. I mostly back games that the mainstream game industry can’t or won’t make anymore. Making software is hard, and unforeseen issues can arise that derail a project. A design might sound great on paper (to both the designer and myself) but it never gels into anything fun.

My personal point of view I take when backing these projects is even if it fails, I want to see someone try to make the kinds of games I want to play. If it ends up failing and that $20 I contributed 3 years ago comes to naught, I’m not going to get worked up about it. Now, if the person was shady and took the money and ran or something like that, I’d never back them again and I’d cheer if there was some sort of legal action, but that’s hasn’t ever been the case for any of the projects I’ve backed.


You just described why I don’t back games above a certain amount. While I would remember that Jon didn’t deliver, I’m only out $35 or so. I’ve had bigger turkeys, such as Civ VI, and that actually released.


It would be a facts and circumstances question. This is the type of thing that gets argued about and litigated all the time (is the quality of a product sufficient to meet warranties, including implied warranties, etc.).

Again, as I mentioned earlier as well, you are correct that in the end, a lot of it comes down to a question of what your actual remedy is going to be, and being realistic. Don’t Kickstart money you can’t afford to lose, I agree.

I was just making the point, because it bugs me when people just blithely assert that you can run a Kickstarter, take in a bunch of money, and deliver nothing and have there be no possible legal recourse. People state it like it’s a legal certainty (I often see something stupid, like “Kickstarter is a donation”), when it isn’t.


For me it was that the latest message to backers included a graphic that describes the current state of the game as “Pre-Alpha.” That was the first update for his backers in a very long time. A week later he tells interviewers the game is 80% done. Backers who haven’t stumbled upon those interviewers still haven’t heard this.

Yes, I would imagine Paradox wants him doing those interviews. Nothing wrong with that. But take five minutes and give the same update to backers. I doubt Paradox would have minded.

He really botched the communications part of this.


But at least with Civ6 you got an actual game to play, regardless of whether or not it was any good. You paid for something and got a product in exchange. And since it’s Firaxis, you could probably have guessed what the support would have been like, too, especially as far as patching the AI is concerned. ;-)

In short: something is better than nothing?


With Civ VI that’s pretty debatable. I was willing to give them one last chance, and they blew it.

Also AtG isn’t vaporware yet.


Despite all the flak he is and will be getting, I am really sympathetic to Jon, because having to deal with depress… oops, sorry, I meant, the corporate-appropriate “burnout”. Anyway, having to deal with a burnout is an issue so personal and colossal, that I am sincerely glad he seems to still be around. Not only that, but he is going back: that’s some feat, and I hope he can keep on that way.


The fact that he is talking about the game in interviews, at least shows he has good intentions and will continue to work on it.

I am kind of curious if the game just isn’t fun, and he doesn’t know how to fix it.


Add lots and lots of graphs mission accomplished in the fun department LOL. And you think I’m kidding? Nope. 4x without graphs and charts is like a steak dinner minus the juices that run off the steak.


So I wonder how this will affect ATG.


That’s too bad, I was curious to see what he was working on.


I saw that this morning. I’m guessing that without Paradox money, AtG is essentially dead.


Wasn’t he working on AtG for years before Paradox came along? Was he needing Paradox to finish it?


He was, but it’s way past due. Plus I remember him posting that given his health issues he didn’t have the resources he needed.


Sigh, why do this, was it so hard to stay on with one of the best strategy game devs? This isn’t exactly a career move if you ask me :(


Jon, if you’re reading this, what is most important is your mental health. Do you hear me? YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.