With the first episode of Ultima Online successor Shroud of the Avatar hoping to release in July, developer Portalarium is looking for more crowdfunding to continue development. Following a Kickstarter, independent crowdfunding and investment from outside parties, the studio still needs more cash to create this expansive fantasy MMORPG.
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Founded by industry veteran Richard “LordBritish” Garriott, Portalarium has to raise a whopping $2 million in the next two months in order to keep Shroud of the Avatar going. As they have already had a Kickstarter, Portalarium have taken to the crowdfunding website SeedInvest to raise the cash needed to develop and now publish Shroud of the Avatar. There are special investor rewards for this round of crowdfunding, but you have to invest a minimum of $500 to even support their campaign. They range from a golden cloak and golden clockwork armour if you invest $500, right up to a solid gold castle and airship if you invest $30,000.
As part of this new round of crowdfunding, Portalarium have released their financial records for investors to look over and it makes for some startling reading. The company has spent a grand total of $18 million since the beginning of the project, and only has $500,000 left in the kitty. The records also state that Portalarium have spent an average of $200,000 a month on development costs. With just the first episode of Shroud of the Avatar set to fully release between July and November, you’ve got to wonder how Portalarium can sustain development of the whole series if this is what it has cost to make just the first game.
The ‘Risks and Disclosures’ section of the SeedInvest page is suitably frank with investors, listing all the potential issues that Shroud of the Avatar could run into during development. With one of the main risks being that the game “may never become commercially viable,” I can see this campaign being quite the hard sell.
With the many of Steam reviews for the Early Access version of Shroud of the Avatar being overwhelmingly negative, I doubt many fans who already spent money on the Kickstarter will be reinvesting in the project.