What just happened? It’s a sad fact that even if a project surpasses its Kickstarter goals, there’s no guarantee it won’t collapse before it's released. Such is the case with Limit Theory, a procedurally-generated sandbox space sim which, six years after a successful campaign, has been canceled.
In an update on Limit Theory’s Kickstarter page, creator Josh Parnell said he was canceling the No Man’s Sky-like title due to physical, emotional, and financial exhaustion.
Back in 2012, Limit Theory hit the crowdfunding site with a $50,000 target and a promise that every mission, event, and asset would be unique, thanks to its use of procedural generation technology. “Limit Theory will have the ability to keep providing you with new experiences. No matter how long you play, there will always be more to explore, see, learn, and conquer!” Parnell wrote.
With claims of no two games being the same and gameplay elements that include asteroid mining, trading, landing on planets, and commanding entire fleets, funding cruised past the target, finally reaching $187,865.
But while Parnell released several videos over the years showing how Limit Theory was progressing, it seems that being the sole developer on such an ambitious title took its toll. He was even forced to use his personal saving after the Kickstarter money ran out.
"Every year that passes sees me becoming more desperate to make good on the dream with which you all entrusted me, but each such year I grow less and less capable of doing so as my mindset falls further away from that bright, beautiful hope that powered me from the beginning," Parnell wrote in a backer update. "I am not what I once was."
“It has been the most painful, difficult decision of my life, and I’m sure that there will be no shortage of blowback. But I simply cannot continue to destroy myself in search of a feat of which I am not capable. When I began this project, I felt that anything was possible. Here now, at the end, I must swallow the painful reality that: I, too, am human. I am limited by time, I am limited by finances, and I am limited by mental & emotional stamina.” he added.
"Some days I think to myself 'how absurd that a game should make me feel this way,' and I realize just how unfit I have become to build a source of joy. I wanted so, so badly to make you all proud. To bring you all joy. There are no words to properly convey how sorry I am that I have failed you all."
While other canceled crowdfunded projects have seen backers turn their wrath on the people behind them, the overwhelming majority of those who supported Limit Theory have offered Parnell their support.
While the game's source code will be released, Parnell warns it’s far from a working game. "But releasing it is the least I can do. I don't imagine it will be of any use to anyone, other than as a monument to a failed dream."