On February 14, 2023, French publisher Holy Grail Games announced that it was closing:
On the Holy Grail Games website, the publisher posted a long explanation of how the company got into this situation, starting with a situation that will be familiar to many — Covid lockdowns:
And lockdowns led to container shortages, increased production costs, and other expenses outside of what had been budgeted:
Each time one of these new price increases occurred, we made the decision not to transfer any of these costs onto our backers, as we felt that we were able to absorb them by taking from our profit margins. We continued to hope that we could weather the storm.
As noted above, Holy Grail Games is a French company, and all of its crowdfunding campaigns collected funds in Euros, but the value of the Euro fell against the dollar, going from roughly $1.22 to €1 in Q2 2021 to parity $1/€1 at the end of Q2 2022:
The situation worsened, in Holy Grail Games’ telling, thanks to poor relations with fulfillment partner Bolloré Logistics:
Unfortunately, that turned out to be a huge mistake on our part. The problems began almost immediately. Once our stock arrived in their warehouses in September, they took months to start sending it out, causing massive delays. They also lost tens of thousands of euros worth of games by sending out the wrong packages to the wrong people (sometimes to individuals who hadn’t even backed the campaign) and doing little to nothing to correct their mistakes. Backers waited months to have shipping errors corrected, and in many cases, we ended up sending things out ourselves from our spare parts stock just to get things moving.
Bolloré continued to promise that they would speed things up, agreeing that the delays were not normal. We passed this information on to our backers in good faith. Each additional delay worsened the situation for us, as our backers were understandably furious, causing untold damage to our reputation. We received over 2000 messages on our Kickstarter inbox and Helpdesk between November and January. Our small team struggled to keep up with the volume of messages, forcing us to hire freelancers which drained our finances even more.
Our next Kickstarter campaign (Copan: Dying City) didn’t do anywhere near as well as we’d hoped: we knew that the situation had cost us the support of a large part of our community. The delays also caused us to miss key retail release dates and sales periods such as Black Friday and Christmas.
Unfortunately living up to its name
With little income from sales, no willingness to run another crowdfunding campaign, invoices due for produced crowdfunding projects, and stock held hostage by Bolloré Logistics, Holy Grail Games said:
This has left us with no choice but to shut everything down.
Holy Grail Games has now entered the bankruptcy process, meaning that all of our assets have been handed over to a government official who will use them to pay our creditors. As of this week, we will lose access to all our email and work accounts, and our team will all be laid off.
Michael Mitnik, a backer of Rallyman: Dirt, which has been delivered to some of the Kickstarter backers but not all, created a Discord titled Rallyman Dirt KS Follow Up to try to coordinate outreach to Bolloré Logistics in support of backers who had not yet received their material.
Now waiting in the pits…