By Micheleen Martin | Posted
All players supporting crowdfunded projects have known for some time that this can be risky. Got your direct scams like the 2012 case of Mythical: the story of gods and men, which ended up being more mythical than anyone thought. You have cases where things go wrong and everyone is too busy blaming others to worry about backers, like the sad case of 2016 Merchant of Greed. And then there’s the more recent and bizarre example of TitanReach. Originally a Kickstarter MMO, the game appears to have died its final death, with those who claim to be in the know accusing the anonymous lead developer of fraud.
PC Gamer reports that TitanReach – heavily modeled on the first MMO Runescape – finally died his final death. The studio behind the Kickstarter MMO, Square Root, has reportedly closed shop and its lead developer, going by the name Unravel, has disappeared after allegedly squandering $150,000 of angel investor funds on Tesla and cryptocurrency investments. The allegations come from YouTuber KiraTV, who posted a 22-minute video explaining the situation. You can watch this video below.
TitanReach first landed on Kickstarter in 2020, billing itself as “a skill-based social MMO”. In October of that year, TitanReach fell short of its $420,000 goal by nearly $300,000. PC Gamer says Square Root has seen some success moving to a monthly crowdfunding model, but in August 2021 they simply hadn’t raised enough money and on their Discord they announced that development is going away. stopped. In September, however, Unravel returned to Discord to announce that an angel investor had stepped in to save the day and fully fund the development. In its video, KiraTV identifies the investor as South African cryptocurrency entrepreneur Andre Cronje.
Despite the new infusion of funds, Massively Overpowered reported last week that Square Root had announced the closure of the studio and development on TitanReach was once again coming to an end. According to Unravel’s statement on the shutdown, approximately $1 million was spent on game development, and approximately $200,000 came directly from players. Unravel also explained something that apparently most or all backers weren’t aware of – that the game was designed as some kind of cryptocurrency/NFT implementation.
In his video, KiraTV claims that the reason for Square Root’s closure is that angel investor Andre Cronje withdrew his funding when he learned that Unravel allegedly spent $150,000 on crypto investments and a Tesla for him. -same. KiraTV further claims that when he learned that Cronje had withdrawn his funding, Unravel allegedly tried to bribe him to prevent him from investigating the reasons behind it.
As to whether Unravel still has the money or not, that’s a point of contention. Massively Overpowered notes that in its official statement on the end of development of the MMO Kickstarter, Unravel assures backers that it is “not running away with funding”. He claims this is something he couldn’t do because Square Root was funded by monthly installments. However, the site notes that Unravel claimed to have received all funding from the investor upfront with no strings attached in September. So far, Andre Cronje has not commented publicly on whether or not he is the investor as KiraTV claims. When we know, you will know.