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Neal Stephenson's swordfighting game is officially dead

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But Kickstarter backers can at least get a refund

One year ago sci-fi author Neal Stephenson announced that his Kickstarter-funded swordfighting game Clang had been put on hold while the development team searched for additional funding. Today the game is officially dead.

Stephenson revealed the news in a Kickstarter post, made exactly one year after he announced the Clang hiatus. According to the author, his Subtai Corporation studio wasn't able to get that extra funding needed to turn the prototype into a complete game. "The prototype was technically innovative, but it wasn't very fun to play," he says. "This is for various reasons. Some of these were beyond our control. Others are my responsibility in that I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment."

"It wasn't very fun to play."

Clang raised more than $525,000 in 2012 through Kickstarter to build a motion-controlled swordfighting game, which Stephenson originally pitched as a "revolution" for the genre. "It's time to step back, dump the tired conventions that have grown up around trigger-based sword games, and build something that will enable players to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real swordfighter," he said at the time.

With news of the cancellation, Stephenson says that backers who have requested a refund will receive one, and in fact about two dozen have already been processed. As for the ideas that were destined for Clang, Stephenson says that they may show up in "non-obvious" ways through future projects from the various team members. But we probably won't hear about those for some time. "Future announcements can then happen in their own good time," says Stephenson, "giving any new projects a fresh start."