Over the past few weeks our main focus has been, and remains, on finding a way to continue development of Chronicles of Elyria and securing any help we need to do that. However, we know you have questions and concerns regarding the state of Chronicles of Elyria. To that end, we have come up with a list of some of your most frequently asked questions and will update these as we can. We are listening and doing our best to answer questions and provide information as things become more clear.
CEO & Founder
Soulbound Studios, LLC
A: Our intention was and continues to be to deliver Chronicles of Elyria. While we have met many challenges and made mistakes during the development of this unique game, our efforts continue. All the monies we raised for development, including a significant amount of the founder’s personal money, have been spent by Soulbound in good faith on the game, primarily for team salaries, software licenses and studio overhead. We will continue to provide you honest updates regarding our progress and setbacks, both to comply with Kickstarter’s terms of service and our own obligations for transparency and honesty.
We have never worked harder to deliver the game we promised, and we ask for your patience as we navigate this particularly difficult time.
A: Kickstarter’s terms of service specify that backer refund requests are solely between creators and backers. As Chronicles of Elyria’s creator, Soulbound is responsible for its own refund policy. The buck stops with us. As answered in the above question, we are continuing the development of Chronicles of Elyria and have no plans to shutter the company or stop development as long as we have the ability to continue. We are not issuing refunds at this time.
Xsolla provides processing services on behalf of Soulbound. Since Soulbound intends to deliver Chronicles of Elyria as promised, we have informed Xsolla that we are not prepared to issue refunds at this time.
A: Soulbound readily admits that it is facing difficult circumstances. We are doing our best to continue development of the game and are in promising discussions with individuals and companies to help us deliver what we have promised to you.
In the meantime, I am committed to disclosing our progress and setbacks to you as often as we can. As you know, we tried to answer your questions immediately following our March 24th post but, until we get more definitive answers to the many questions we still face, we can only ask for your patience. Our days are filled with code reviews and development strategy discussions with our advisors and partners with the single goal of developing and delivering Chronicles of Elyria.
A: 100% of the funds we raised through Kickstarter, our stretch goals, and direct contributions went directly to support the game’s development. Building games, especially games of this scope, is an expensive venture that is a combination of software development and art where things are bound to go wrong. We are no exception. Like many developers over the years, we have found ourselves way behind schedule. We are solely to blame for our mistakes.
No one has purchased a Ferrari. No one has taken a world tour on your money. All salaries were within the norm for a company of our size in our industry and region. In fact, our founders are our biggest investors by far.
So, where did your money go? Our costs can be broken down into payroll expenses for approximately 20 people, numerous contractors, health insurance, operating expenses (such as our lease, computers, electricity, Internet services), software licenses and associated royalties, legal costs, accounting, training, and marketing. Our run-rate has averaged nearly $2M a year over four years and every penny can be accounted for.
A. Those claims are not true. I have lived in the same house since 2010. In fact, I sold property in 2015 to fund the initial development of Chronicles of Elyria. The money you paid has been used for game development, not elaborate vacations or luxury homes.
A: When we launched our Kickstarter campaign, we believed we could release a playable version of Chronicles of Elyria for $900k with limited features designed to keep the costs within that budget. We always intended to continue to develop the features of Chronicles of Elyria. We believe we clearly communicated on our Kickstarter campaign, on our website, and on our forums, that additional development was going to require additional funding.
A: Our intention was never to shut down the game or the company. We used the word “shutter” incorrectly and regret ever writing that.
We expected that our Settlers of Elyria event would bring in enough additional cash to fund development for another year. However, that event was an abject failure and we had to lay off our staff.
We reacted hastily and our words were not carefully chosen. What we should have done is what we are doing now. We are clearly and unambiguously letting you know where our development stands: it is precarious, but we are determined to do everything we can to deliver.
A: We need additional funding to deliver a fully realized version of Chronicles of Elyria. Like any business that finds itself in our position, we are diligently looking at ways of bringing on a long-term partner who can provide a stable funding source and the management skills necessary to finish Chronicles of Elyria.
A: We are in the process of re-mapping our development plan, and many of the factors are still undetermined, including the size and composition of staff we can hire. We will show you a plan as soon as we can.
A: We are not sure. What we do know is that other large MMORPGs have found investors. According to Forbes, in 2018, Cloud Imperium (Star Citizen) received over $40 million dollars in private investment. We are not looking for nearly that much. We have a small team turning over every rock we can find because we have made a promise and we intend to keep it. We are also much further along in development than when we last sought a publishing partner or investors.
A: This is one of our biggest challenges. We understand and appreciate that our community has concerns and are actively listening and working to address these as best we can. As game developers, and as important as these issues are, they distract us from doing what we do best, which is to make the game we promised. These legal issues and threats poison the well for potential investors, publishers, and buyers who might otherwise be interested in partnering with us.
A: No. We have not been contacted by any law firm representing a class of litigants.
A: Several. We are answering each one as honestly and thoroughly as we can while still focusing the majority of our efforts on the future of Chronicles of Elyria.
A: We are working with attorneys. Given the many issues we face, our lawyers are an important part of our process and solution. Not only do they provide us insight into the law, but they are able to negotiate investment and development agreements on all our behalf. Working with lawyers is the responsible thing for us to do given our obligations and commitment to our community and partners.
A: No. Development on the game is ongoing and we will keep you informed as it progresses. We will also let you know if we have any success with potential investors.
A: The removal of transaction histories was unintentional. We apologize. We understand that this was alarming.
Our website was custom-built. When we took down the store page—by disabling the store controller—we unintentionally took down the transaction page, which was something we were not expecting. We are working on restoring the features you need but understand that all our efforts are focused on code assessment and working with our partners on investment and development strategies. Additionally, your transactions are still visible on your account’s influence page.
A: The short-term answer is that we don’t know. We are evaluating the code, assessing our development strategy, and simultaneously looking for partners to help us. It is a lot of work. Once these pieces are better known, we will be able to give you a more accurate completion date.
A: As written in our March 24th post, we laid off our team because we lacked the money to pay them. We opted for lay-offs over furloughs to give our employees a better, clearer, and quicker opportunity to find and accept other jobs. I continue to work on the game alone and several former team members have expressed interest in continuing development. We promise to update you on this as soon as we have more news.
A: There are six or so former team members who have offered to volunteer their time to help continue development until additional funding or a buyer can be secured.
A: I am the only one working on code right now, and I am not receiving a salary.
A: This is one of the first decisions we are trying to make, and we do not want to get it wrong. We are looking deeply into the code and art assets and trying to determine what we can deliver to you to show you that your investment is not vaporware. Presently, we are discussing a plan with a potential investor/partner to provide a playable proof of technology game to you.
A: Our developers and moderators were responsible for answering questions and enforcing the code of conduct to ensure our forums are a safe and protected space for our community to interact. We have taken our forums temporarily offline because these people are no longer working for us. We recognize that the forums are important, but we are focused on the game at the moment. We’ll get to this as soon as we can.
A: The forums are custom-built and do not support a “read-only” function, which makes it very time-consuming to manage. Since we do not have the bandwidth to respond to questions at the moment, we have elected to limit access. It looks bad, we know, but there is a tremendous amount of misinformation circulating. As a result, we have temporarily detached our Discord channel. As mentioned earlier, though, we are focusing on the game and figuring out the best way to deliver it to you. Until then, we do not have the bandwidth to answer the flood of questions we are receiving.
A: Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to have a team member answering questions in Discord. It is our hope that, as we move into a productive position again, we can restore the community’s ability to communicate through our official channels, including Discord. Until then, we will update these Q&As as necessary.
A: This Q&A, for one, is meant to show you that we’re not hiding the ball. We’re not trying to be evasive. Instead, we are focusing on the thing that matters most: trying our best to deliver the game we promised you. We will continue to use forums such as this because, frankly, they are efficient. In issuing these Q&As, we promise to be as open and transparent as possible.