At any rate, I fully expect that Shadowbane will see some form of release. But I’d also be lying if I said there wasn’t reason for valid concern. With a WolfPack staff that’s beginning to burgeon, a lengthy beta process still ahead, server costs that have to be paid for hosting…you get the picture.

Some games are able to be financed privately. PIGs are not among them, with TREMENDOUS costs for bandwidth, web-based promotion, extensive programming…the list goes on. Not to mention the added burden WolfPack faces of programming for two different platforms simultaneously.

And you have to know that the money from the sale of a database company, which financed WolfPack until the GoDGames pickup, will have to start running thin at some point. Keeping nearly 20 people in the tech industry on staff in Austin, Texas is not a cheap proposition. Much less after you’ve already done it for a year before a publishing deal.

Having a break with one of the most visible (I hesitate to say best)publishers in the industry two months before E3 is not a prosperous situation. The saving grace is that Swing! Entertainment is still in WolfPack’s corner. But if WolfPack is relying solely on Swing! at this point for publishing, that’s a scary thought in and of itself. Putting all your stock in an unproven European publishing house is a risky venture for a game that mainly appeals to bloodthirsty Americans. And one Scottish weirdo.

With all that said, I still believe Shadowbane will be released.

I believe in the product. I flew down to Austin last October with the sole objective of meeting the minds behind a revolutionary product. (UO Faire was decidedly second in mind.) They have some bright, if twisted, minds in their favor. They have an incredible passion for their project. If Warden had to burn all the Shadowbane CD’s himself, I think he’d do it. But all the passion in the world won’t make dollars fly into your pocket.

Summary? Shadowbane will not be the game it could be without an American-based publisher, ASSuming another isn’t picked up before release. Testing will be hurried. Release will be sporadic. Shadowbane has a lot to offer: but the entire product could be spoiled if balance is not dead-on or at least reasonably close come release.

But I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Warden’s cheshire grin doesn’t show up in some other publisher’s camp at E3, just to make me look like a blatant idiot. It’d be just payback for that whole Taco Cabana thing.

Oh, yeah, and Vosx…I don’t even drink coffee, goddammit.