It looks like Shaker, the ambitious yet decidedly old-school roleplaying game project created by industry veterans Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall is now dead. Games not being finished isn’t anything shocking, but what is surprising is that Shaker has been canceled despite attracting over 7,500 backers on Kickstarter and raising nearly $250,000. With 13 days left before the Kickstarter countdown ran down Shaker could have pulled in even more money, but in a short message directed at fans Brathwaite and Hall do their best to explain why Shaker had to be scuttled.
“In the industry, games are pitched every day. Some make it to the next stage, but many don’t, like those named above. We regret to announce that we’re adding Shaker: An Old-School RPG to the latter list,” the Kickstarter update reads, before thanking the thousands of people who turned out to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars in roughly a month.
“Ultimately, our pitch just wasn’t strong enough to get the traction we felt it needed to thrive,” the update continues. “Sure, it may have made it. We could have fought our way to a possibly successful end. In reading your feedback and talking it over internally, however, we decided that it made more sense to kill it and come back with something stronger.”
“In game design, mercy killing is the law.”
The obvious question at this point is what might happen to all that money. Fortunately for all 7,000-plus of those backers, the Shaker project was canceled rapidly enough that they will simply not be charged by Kickstarter for their pledge. Had Shaker’s Kickstarter funding period wound down completely, Brathwaite and Hall would be on the hook for refunding every backer’s cash (or somehow delivering the promised game), but in this particular situation everything works out nicely as no money has actually changed hands.
With that established, our only remaining question is where the Shaker project goes from here. Based on everything the Kickstarter fundraiser listed as features for this title, it seemed like the kind of thing that would perfectly appeal to fans of classic roleplaying titles and the amount of cash raised by this project certainly seems to indicate that there is some kind of market for the game. Brathwaite and Hall however, are being coy on what their plans might be. “Expect something more soon” is the only hint we’re given of what to expect from this game.
We’ll keep you updated as information appears regarding Shaker or whatever project Brathwaite and Hall opt to work on next, but if we had to make a guess, we’d likely say that this is probably the last we’ve heard of this video game. Maybe we’ll see some of its concepts altered to fit future titles, but Shaker as originally envisioned seems to be kaput.