As we expected yesterday, the Rock Band 4 PC Fig campaign has failed to reach its goal of $1,500,000. This means the game will officially not be receiving a PC port, and no backers will be charged for their pledges. In an update about the failed campaign, Harmonix laments the failure while making some very sad and bold claims about the project.
“How do we feel about the end of the campaign? Disappointed, obviously,” reads the update. “There’s no shortage of people at Harmonix who love Rock Band, and some of us got extra excited at the prospect of bringing back RBN, and even more about getting the chance to expose RB to a brand new audience.”
As far as what can be learned from the Rock Band 4 PC project, Harmonix says “we learned exactly what we needed to learn: there doesn’t seem to be enough of an audience to make Rock Band for PC a viable project for us right now. We’re committed to supporting and improving RB4 on consoles. To be clear, we raised nearly $800,000 via backers and investors; it’s an impressive showing of support from our community and for our brand. But as an independent developer we have to be careful about how much money and development time we risk on a project we’re not sure has a big enough audience, and crowdfunding allowed us to (among other things)* judge the market fit for Rock Band PC.”
Later on they answer some frequently asked questions about the campaign, including the seeming audacity at asking for $1.5 million in backing for a port of an already existing game. ”
Virtually the entire budget (and remember, that included $500,000 from Harmonix on top of the 1.5 million raised by the campaign) went directly towards game development and testing. We have substantial experience scoping and developing games; we know fairly accurately how much work we need to do (in fact, we wrote up a more detailed list of the work required).
“Since we’re using our own engine, it’s not a simple matter of flipping a compiler switch and building the game for the PC. There is no benefit to us attempting to artificially reduce what we think it will cost to build this game. We don’t want to release a PC game that feels like a half-baked console port, and we have to be very realistic about the time and effort it will take, or we will no longer be a successful game development studio.”
It is definitely unfortunate that so many people seemed interested in Rock Band 4 on PC, and yet they won’t receive it. Maybe the massive support will prompt Harmonix to try again, or allow them to get funding from another source.