Luke Crane, former head of community for Kickstarter, quit his position and left the company March 26th after posting what appears to be a final update to the controversial – and cancelled – crowdfunding campaign for The Perfect RPG.
Polygon reported that Crane’s departure from Kickstarter was an amicable one, all things considered.
“After a discussion about what is best for Kickstarter and our team, we came to the mutual decision with Luke Crane for him to leave Kickstarter,” the company told Polygon in an email statement. “We recognize the many years of work Luke has done to help bring creative projects to life at Kickstarter and we are committed to ensure continued support for our team and for our backer and creator community through this moment of change.”
Crane launched The Perfect RPG on February 27th as a collection of smaller games from a roster of independent creators, including Dungeon World co-designer Adam Koebel. Koebel faced widespread criticism after roleplaying a non-consensual sexual assault scene with fellow player Elspeth Eastman during a livestreamed session of their Far Verona actual play series in 2020.
Since the incident, Koebel has been removed from developing player safety tools for the Modiphius-produced Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and largely ostracised by the online TTRPG designer community.
Once news of Koebel’s inclusion was made known (their name had been relegated to the bottom of a long list on the Kickstarter description page) Crane responded by removing theirs and other names from the list. As Dicebreaker previously reported, several designers had no prior knowledge that Koebel would be involved and consequently left The Perfect RPG. Crane eventually updated the list to read, “Redacted to reduce future harassment”.
The crowdfunding campaign was completely canceled later that same day, and Crane explained part of his reasoning in a post visible only to backers. “Many designers withdrew or were harassed to withdraw due to my including Adam Koebel as a designer of one of these games, he said.”
“I did not fully understand what was at stake and what had happened—in the shock of the moment my communications were insensitive and desultory,” Crane said in his March 26th apology.
“There was no deceit, deception or bad faith in any of my actions around the project. I understand that I should have disclosed the participant list to all contributors beforehand, and I feel terrible that my poor planning placed some creators in a difficult position. Likewise with the unusual order in which contributors were listed—I was seeking to highlight the first creator on the list, who was my primary playtester for this project. In hindsight this was a poor idea that came off as duplicitous, for which I apologize.”
While Crane calls his actions leading up to – and immediately following – the launch of the campaign a “series of missteps and miscalculations”, he makes no explicit mention of Koebel, their prior relationship or why they were included in the project from the jump. Nor did Crane address his claim earlier in the month that contributors were being harassed by the public into cutting ties with his project. The campaign update wherein he said that is still viewable by backers, only.
Before acting as head of community for Kickstarter, Crane worked as its head of games since 2015. During that time, he created the Zinequest initiative, now in its third year, and oversaw the explosive growth of both analogue and digital game projects on the platform. He is also the designer and publisher of The Burning Wheel, a fantasy RPG system last updated in 2016.