The Kickstarter for vapourware indie PC game “That Which Sleeps” allegedly to be published by King Dinosaur Games (KDG), is infamous for the large amount of money taken and the absence of delivery. As I reported in my article, “Those Who Wait”, the project is years overdue. In “King Dinosaur Games Partners Split” I recounted how the partnership had split, with many of their statements (by which they had obtained monies) exposed as flat out lies. Now it appears that KDG’s sole remaining partner Joshua Perry is connected to another, very similar overdue Kickstarter – “Stay Out of My Dungeon” by 2 Handsome Games.
The glossy promotional video for, “Stay Out of my Dungeon”.
Back in 2012, long before “That Which Sleeps” was a thing, King Dinosaur Games made the following Tweet (still here, archived here) –
King Dinosaur Games considered using the “2 Handsome Guys” name instead. Click for full size.
In fact, unknown until now, whilst “That Which Sleeps” languished in development limbo Joshua Perry was attempting another failed Kickstarter called, “Ready Check” (archive here) under the “2 Handsome Guys” brand. He is the registered owner of the website http://www.2handsomegames.com/ and has been since its inception.
Joseph Vivolo has split from King Dinosaur Games, the duo he founded with Joshua Perry, blaming Josh for the project’s apparent failure. He should not get off that lightly.
Two years ago, on 22nd October 2014, I was one of 4,689 backers of That Which Sleeps. I am also one of only two original backers to get their money back. Early in development, it soon became apparent to me that the authors had made untruthful statements in their attempts to secure funding. Now the founders have split and all their deceptions have come to light.
The detailed and extremely well presented Kickstarter opened in late 2014. It had a series of well presented videos that appeared to show a 2D strategy game, well underway, on a map using cheap and scrappy placeholder art. All the developers wanted was a little cash, $12,000 for art to complete the game.
The game, we were told, was nearly done –
A note in the ‘Story’ section of the ‘That Which Sleeps’ Kickstarter.
According to the publicity material there was a “working game” and beta was promised for December 2014. Backers would receive a scenario viewer immediately after the project was backed.
Way back in 2014 I spent $50 on a Kickstarter for a promising looking Indie Game called ‘That Which Sleeps’. Per my previous coverage, (1) the (delayed) game is supposedly an ‘evil-returning-god’ simulator where the player manipulates a living world to prepare for their return. The game had a great Kickstarter but since then developers have consistently failed to keep their promises. The game promised to beta in December 2014 yet a year on, 31st December 2015, no beta has been released. (2) On protesting and suggesting contact with the Federal Trade Commission (the US equivalent of Trading Standards in the UK) in October 2015, your author and others received refunds and were removed from the game forums.
‘That Which Sleeps’ gameplay video. Picture used for the purposes of criticism and review. There has been no beta and this is the second of four promised videos. The other two have not been released. Click for full size.
I do not intend to fully recap the developers’ discourtesy, lack of professionalism or broken promises here. Readers are advised to refer to my previous articles. The high points are that during the Kickstarter the developers claimed that the project was low risk because much of the game was already written. Kickstarter materials stated, “We have a working game” and also that a scenario viewer was complete and ready to release directly after the campaign, which ended in October 2014.
Beta was promised for December 2014, then March 2015 and it is now the 31st December 2015, New Year’s Eve. The supposedly working game is now in its second chronological year of post Kickstarter development. The scenario viewer has never been released although a partially functional map editor has been. After increasingly acrimonious forum posts from backers in October 2015, on 12/10/2015 developer Josh Perry promised some gameplay videos. There were to be three released at one week intervals showing the early, mid and late games. So far only one has been released.
Last year, the Kickstarter Game ‘That Which Sleeps’ was announced. A well presented publicity and video campaign made for a Kickstarter that netted over $85,000 from backers on an initial $12,000 goal. Release of the beta was originally promised for December 2014. It is now a year since the product was funded on 22/10/2014 and backers have yet to see even a video of the game being played. ‘That Which Sleeps’ still slumbers fitfully and there is only the lurking, eldritch horror of … Those Who Wait.
King Dinosaur Games recently released a video showing the scenario selection screen for their game. The beautiful, revamped, scenario selections screen has come a long way since Kickstarter. However backers were told to expect a playable beta in December 2014 – it is now October 2015. This video, whilst well presented, shows nothing but a revised version of functionality customers have seen before. Click for full size.
I have a rule in relation to Kickstarters. It is a very simple rule. I will only back a game if it has a playable demo I have played and liked or the developers have previously released a game I enjoyed. I have only broken this rule once – when I backed Joseph Vivolo and Joshua Perry, trading as King Dinosaur Games, and put down $50 to back the Kickstarter for That Which Sleeps.
That Which Sleeps was intended to be a kind of ‘ancient evil simulator’. The player would control one of a number of slumbering villains locked away eons ago. As they stir towards full wakefulness they gather their powers like Sauron from the Lord of the Rings. Like Sauron the players must work in the shadows to avoid discovery whilst they are still weak lest the world unites against them, using agents and subtle manipulation.
A lot of development work had allegedly been done and from 29/08/2014 until 08/10/2014, King Dinosaur Games released 6 videos – just over one a week , , , ,  and . The videos portrayed a game nearing completion – and that was how Josh and Joseph represented it. They expressly stated they had a working game –