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Lone Shark Games’ Statement About Kickstarter

Hi there. We’re Lone Shark Games. You may know us from the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and our work on Betrayal at House on the Hill, or our self-published creations The Maze of Games, the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game, Puzzlecraft, The Ninth World, and Thornwatch. Those last five creations were funded on Kickstarter, to the tune of $1.37 million. Also, our sister political company, Basket of Adorables, did a campaign for the book Game Theory in the Age of Chaos. Kickstarter dubbed each of those projects a Project We Love, and we’re deeply grateful. To say that Kickstarter has been essential to our team undersells it. We would not be a publisher at all without them.

With our last campaign entering fulfillment, we’re ready to launch our next campaign tomorrow at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern, for a game people have asked us to publish since we dreamed it up in 2013: Paul & Storm’s Sausage Party. It’s a light and silly game that our fans have loved at conventions and JoCo Cruises. For boring reasons involving trademarks and printing schedules, we can’t delay our launch. So, even though we’re making a silly game, we have to make a serious statement about it.

In the last few weeks, Kickstarter has engaged in activities that we can charitably characterize as “not union-friendly.” We won’t go deep into detail about those activities, because it’s difficult to do so without getting really angry. We’ve been asked to sign several letters of condemnation for these activities, but they didn’t sound like us. We needed to express our feelings both behind the scenes, which we did, and in public in our own voice, which we will now do.

We have many friends at Kickstarter, at all levels of the company. Some are managers, some are rank-and-file employees, all are awesome. We want them to prosper, and, if they want to make a pro-union declaration like they made today, to have the right to unionize. We have talked to several Kickstarter employees, and they do not want a boycott. Boycotts can lead to layoffs and firings and other catastrophes. So, we’re not boycotting Kickstarter. We’re not pulling our campaign off the platform, because the employees at Kickstarter have been great to us, and they don’t want us to leave.

However, we are doing something else. We’ve come to our conclusions, but we don’t think YOU have to agree with those conclusions to get our game. You should make your own decisions about whether to give Kickstarter money when you give us a pledge. So, we’re guaranteeing everyone the ability to pledge for a copy of Sausage Party and all its rewards on our upcoming pledge manager, for the same price as on Kickstarter. There will be no differences in offerings or exclusives between the two sites; you can get the same things for the same amount even if you don’t use Kickstarter. If you want an announcement of when we push that live, jump on our mailing list.

We would never do this if Kickstarter was behaving in a manner we condoned. But we feel we’ve been left no choice at all. We have values, and until this month, we were 100% certain Kickstarter shared them. We still think we agree on most things, but this has shaken us. We don’t like being shaken. 

So, finally, about that letter to Kickstarter. We said that the ones we’d seen didn’t quite reflect our tone on the subject. This next paragraph does.

Kickstarter, if you’re listening, we need you to stop setting yourself on fucking fire. You are a crucial part of the game industry. You are nearly single-handedly responsible for the recent bloom in tabletop creativity. We have grown up with you. We need you. But we also need you not to betray the community’s ideals. So, kindly fix yourself right now. Call your employees together, say you fucked up royally, and put yourself back on the healing path. Otherwise, when we run our next campaigns for games we think your audience will want—including our first release for Lords of Vegas in half a decade and our first traitor game since Betrayal at House on the Hill—we might have to split between sites again. Maybe we will just split entirely. So, figure it out. Please.

Thanks to everyone for reading this. We hope you enjoy Paul & Storm’s Sausage Party, wherever you back it. And we hope never to have to write another letter like this again.

The team at Lone Shark Games

P.S. Here’s the game. You can click this link to find it on Kickstarter.