Back in 2013, 2386 backers pledged a total of $39,739 via Kickstarter to a company called Kilobite to create a dystopian tactical RPG called Confederate Express. The game boasted a unique method of post-processing powered by tech known as the “False2D” API, which could “[simulate] 3D conditions in 2D environments.” A tech demo showing off this technology was made available alongside the Kickstarter campaign.
After the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign, the company provided almost no updates about the game, launching another Kickstarter for a brawler called Knuckle Club just over half a year later. The latter Kickstarter was later shut down by Kickstarter itself after accusations were made that suggested that Kilobite founder Maksym Pashanin was an Airbnb squatter. However, before the Knuckle Club Kickstarter was canceled, Pashanin made odd claims that some business choices led to his company being bought out, his previously contracted workers becoming full-time employees, and increasing budgets had pushed both games back. He then claimed that Confederate Express would be released by December 2014, with a Closed Beta occurring in November 2014, and that the next update about the game would be published a week later, which was still before the Knuckle Club Kickstarter was canceled. Even odder is the fact that he made these claims a mere four days after the Knuckle Club Kickstarter began.
More than three years passed and backers assumed that the developer had taken the money and run, writing the project off as a scam that they had fallen victim to—until yesterday. Yesterday, the game reappeared on itch.io and, while some details are still unclear, backers are understandably unhappy. No one seems to know who’s in charge of the game’s development anymore, whether there was any truth to Pashanin’s claims of his company being bought out, or even simply why the game has returned after all this time. Many backers are still demanding refunds through the forums and, while the promise likely holds no weight with them, Kilobite has stated that it is “either delivering or there are refunds.”
Update: During the time that I was writing this article, it was stated that Kilobite is still owned by “the same people.”
There are some oddities to the game’s return, however. The game is currently only available to backers, who have been sent itch.io keys. Hilariously, only a Mac build is available at this time. It is claimed that, in order to “minimize redundant feedback,” the current build has been limited to three levels, two enemy types, and one playable character. No Kickstarter updates have been posted, nor was any explanation offered as to where the developers have been over the past three years. All that was offered is an explanation of how the Aliasing technique produced by the company’s False2D API technology works.
Recent comments on the original Kickstarter campaign indicate that backers are still skeptical. One goes so far as to claim that the build provided is simply the original demo and that it will never be updated. However, no one has confirmed the state of the build that is currently available as of yet.
Update 2: As if they know that I’m writing this article this very second, the team at Kilobite has provided more answers, albeit those answers are light on details. The game is apparently still being developed and it is claimed that 80% of the final game’s content was created over the past three years. The team is allegedly working to “[deliver] everything as promised, including physical rewards.” The game was apparently completely developed on Mac computers, which is why only a Mac build is available at this time. The company also admitted to running out of money to pay rent back in 2014.
Update 3: Due to no one being able to play the Mac-exclusive preview version, a Windows build should be available “early next week.”
It remains to be seen what will happen going forward. For the time being, the game cannot be purchased, but a Buy Now button that appears erroneously on the devlog about Aliasing seems to indicate that it will eventually cost $20.00. A full explanation of what exactly is going on is also missing at this time.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the situation as it progresses.