Developer cancels crowdfunded MMO and disappears amid fraud allegations

Indie MMO challenge TitanReach has lurched from crisis to disaster because its preliminary Kickstarter launch back in 2020, and it now looks to have finished for superior in confusion and failure, with a YouTuber shut to the undertaking alleging that the guide developer misappropriated trader money to gamble on cryptocurrency and even buy a Tesla for his own use.

TitanReach was a “Runescape-like” MMO that in the long run unsuccessful to satisfy its first Kickstarter aim of $430,000. Undeterred, the developers, Sq. Root Studios, adopted a “thirty day period-to-month” crowdfunding model, and noticed ongoing interest from its group in excess of the course of quite a few Early Obtain iterations. In the long run, the $200,000 Square Root received in crowdfunding was not adequate to sustain the task, and its guide developer, going by the username “Unravel,” introduced the close of growth on the game’s Discord in August of 2021.

The next month, Unravel took again to Discord to announce that the match experienced been fully funded by an nameless angel trader, and that enhancement would resume. KiraTV, an impartial critic on YouTube who had previously included TitanReach extensively and corresponded with its developers, claimed to have spoken to this trader in a online video posted close to this time.

Irrespective of this stunning windfall, TitanReach ceased progress once again just past 7 days, with Unravel saying the depletion of their cash on Discord and diving into a very long digression about the NFT integration he was hoping to incorporate with the activity. The surprise closure coupled with the unpredicted expose of blockchain options, a controversial subject on its very own, led to a backlash against the developers, together with threats of doxxing. SquareRoot shut the TitanReach Discord, and the game’s website and social media accounts have all gone dark.

(Picture credit score: Sq. Root)

Earlier described YouTuber KiraTV has now introduced a video alleging that TitanReach’s angel investor pulled out just after Unravel misappropriated resources for a failed $150,000 cryptocurrency expense and bought a Tesla for his very own particular use, with screenshots of Discord discussions as main evidence. 

KiraTV also statements that TitanReach’s secret trader is South African cryptocurrency entrepreneur Andre Cronje, and alleges that Unravel tried to bribe him into not investigating the motive for Cronje pulling his funding. We have achieved out to Mr Cronje and will update this posting if we get a statement.

In the meantime, Unravel has absent to ground and other former customers of Square Root have not spoken out. It really is a bizarre story of net fraud and lofty ambitions, weaving with each other several 2022 gaming throughlines: crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, and the increasingly shut interactions between builders and their games’ influencers. It surely will make the situation (at the time once more) that we must be circumspect about crowdfunding a recreation from an unproven developer, specifically a project as ambitious and high-priced as an MMO.

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Canceled Halo games, from Ensemble’s Halo MMO to Sabre’s Halo Online

Ever since Halo debuted at Macworld in 1999, the franchise has been a staple of the game industry. Master Chief has become an iconic hero, carrying the series on his shoulders for 20 years.

In that time, we’ve heard of quite a few Halo projects that never saw the light of day. That’s far from unique in the game industry, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more attempts that never became public knowledge. To celebrate Halovember, we decided to look back on those we know. From an attempt to see Master Chief on a handheld console to collaborations with director Peter Jackson, the history of Halo projects cut short is vast and fascinating.

Halo MMO

Years before the 2009 release of Ensemble Studios’ real-time strategy title Halo Wars, there was a bigger idea in the works at Ensemble. The team, known the Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series, had been iterating on several potential projects. Most never left the rough prototype stage. Half of the team was focused on finding the next big hit.

Microsoft had acquired Ensemble in 2001, and getting these ideas greenlit was a difficult task. The studio’s founder, Tony Goodman, considered the publisher “pretty risk averse.” All of this led to the RTS concept that became Halo Wars in-mid 2006. But Halo Wars wasn’t the only game in the mix.

Around 2004, Ensemble began development of a PC MMO codenamed Titan. According to the book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, the project started as an original concept before adopting the Halo name and universe — and even then, Microsoft was aware of the project, but hadn’t given formal approval yet. According to ex-Ensemble Studios’ senior software engineer Dusty Monk, Titan had a $90 million budget.

Titan was supposed to be a large-scale MMO set in the Halo universe. It wasn’t part of the Halo timeline that players knew; it was set 100,000 years before the Halos had been set off. The game was in production for several years and presented mechanics that were ahead of their time. One was similar to the cover system in Star Wars: The Old Republic, while another involved public quests where players could join as long as they were in a designated area. Aside from concept art and mockups, most of the team’s progress on the game hasn’t been shown publicly.

Over time, Microsoft kicked off preparations to move the team to a new office that would support the game’s development and maintenance post-release. But the success of the Xbox 360 resulted in a lack of interest on the PC as a viable platform for Microsoft; so Titan was a hard sell.

To the studio, the Halo MMO was going to be a competitor to World of Warcraft. In an interview from IncGamers (now PC Invasion) , Monk attributed that sentiment to the fact that Ensemble’s lineup rivaled Blizzard Entertainment’s RTS franchises Warcraft and StarCraft. But, he said while Blizzard

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