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Conan creators’ Beyond the Monolith Kickstarter cancelled; ambitious project put on indefinite hiatus

Creators call campaign a “failure” after just two days.

The publisher behind Conan has cancelled the Kickstarter for Beyond the Monolith; a core gameplay system designed to be used with various game universes such as Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, Cthulhu Wars and Zombicide.

Launched on January 13th, the campaign managed to raise £216,381 of its £598,231 goal before Monolith chose to prematurely end it just two days later, citing a lack of backers and the need for additional funds to cover the development and licensing costs involved.

In a blog post by Monolith’s Fred Henry, the designer said the rate at which the Kickstarter was receiving pledges suggested that it would not raise enough to achieve its ambitious goal before the campaign’s end.

“It is now more than obvious that the Beyond the Monolith offer did not attract enough pledgers to complete the project. I had high hopes for the concept and take full, personal responsibility for this failure,” said Henry.

According to Henry, the lack of pledgers could be blamed on the Kickstarter’s convoluted backers system, which included a wide variety of rewards such as copies of Conan’s upcoming adventure mode and Batman: Gotham City Chronicles - settings that were originally planned for the system alongside Cthulhu Wars and Zombicide. Henry also cited discounts as being a poor incentive for pledgers, saying that “I thought the discount system was worthwhile” but “it quickly became obvious that it didn’t make sense to people”.

The Beyond the Monolith cancellation follows the publisher’s announcement last November that it would not be using stretch goals for future Kickstarters, labelling them as “subterfuge marketing”. Questioning the ethics behind setting unrealistically low targets for campaigns, the company claimed that it would be including all required funds for the Beyond the Monolith Kickstarter within the initial goal, saying, “We think it's healthier that this value is built right into the game and immediately visible.”

Despite the company’s attempts to make “transparency and communication a priority”, Henry admitted that he “was unable to properly explain either the concept or the campaign”. The decision to cancel the Beyond the Monolith Kickstarter was also attributed to the need to focus solely on the planned Conan adventure mode so that the company can “give the Conan community what it wants”.

Whilst the update did touch on the possibility of a Beyond the Monolith relaunch, a date was not confirmed and the project will remain in indefinite hiatus for now. Nevertheless, the adventure mode for Conan is planned to return to Kickstarter as a “smaller, less ambitious campaign”, but Monolith has not yet confirmed a launch date.

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