Clang, Neal Stephenson's swordfighting simulator, is officially dead

Neal Stephenson's swordfighting simulator Clang didn't get a lot of coverage here when it hit Kickstarter in mid-2012, but it did manage to pull in quite a bit of cash, to the tune of more than $526,000. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to get the job done, and the developers said last year that they were settling into "evenings and weekends" work on the game until they could find another source of financing.

That effort has come to naught, however, as Stephenson yesterday posted a " final update " acknowledging that the project has been shut down completely. Members of the team, including Stephenson himself, "absorbed significant financial losses" in trying to complete the game, he wrote, but in the end, "Additional fundraising efforts failed and forced the team to cut their losses and disband in search of steady work."

Stephenson said the Clang team has processed roughly two dozen requests for refunds received through email and Kickstarter comments, totaling about $700. "We think that is within the normal scope of a Kickstarter project and we don't think it sets any precedents that would give other organizations misgivings about using Kickstarter to fund their projects in the future," he added.

Predictably, the confirmation that Clang will not be completed, coupled with Stephenson's acknowledgment that some people have already been given their money back, has triggered a large number of new calls for refunds. Whether or not that's going to happen isn't clear; Stephenson invited backers to join a new mailing list for future projects, but said nothing about the possibility of future refunds.


As lead news writer during ‘merican hours, Andy covers the day-to-day events that keep PC gaming so interesting, exciting, and occasionally maddening. He’s fond of RPGs, FPSs, dungeons, Myst, and the glorious irony of his parents buying him a TRS-80 instead of an Atari so he wouldn't end up wasting his life on videogames.
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