I really shouldn't comment this much in this thread since I have no financial vestment. I think John has such a high level of standard after building 3 great tables for williams, so he feels like it has to match or exceed that. The more time he spends on it, he builds up the expectation even higher (well, if he's worked on it for 4 years, it MUST be awesome!). Problem is, the expectation is so high at this point, nothing can possibly match that expectation. It's like when duke nukem FINALLY got released, everyone thought it HAD to be good, and it pretty much bombed. And I'll bet John thinks about this too, so he feels like he needs to step up his own work, and then the lebowski pin shows up and looks so polished and plays so good, and he's probably now thinking to himself (well, if a couple of new dutch pinball designers can build something this good for $8500, I need to make magic girl twice as good since I'm charging twice as much.
This just feels like a slippery slope, and from reading from customers it seems like most are willing to settle for anything at this point because their fear is either this project is never going to get done, he's going to run out of money, or god forbid he ends up dying.