Developer Tale of Tales
is ending game development, saying the
adventure game Sunset (which is
currently on sale on Steam
be their last title (thanks
). Their website
currently down so
announcing the news must be read through
a cached copy
. The tale they tell of Tale of Tales is distressing,
describing all the efforts they made to reach a larger audience, though they
introduce it with ironic humor, saying: "After the barrage of sad tales about
depression caused by indies turning into millionaires overnight, allow us to
raise your spirits with a story about the liberating and energizing effects of
complete commercial failure." Here's word:
So far a little over 4,000
copies of Sunset have changed hands. That includes the copies for our backers on
Kickstarter. That includes the sale. There’s barely enough income to keep our
company going while we look for ways to raise the funds to pay back our debts.
It’s hard to deal with this intense feeling of disappointment in a context of
glowing reviews and compliments and encouragement from players. A small group of
people clearly deeply appreciates what we do and we curse the economic system
that doesn’t allow us to be pleased with that.
Being wrong will set you free
- We studied successful games and applied our
findings to the design of Sunset. And while the inclusion of certain
conventions seems to have helped some people enjoy the game, it didn’t
affect the size of our audience much.
- We spent a lot of money on a PR company who got us
plenty of press, took some work and worries off our shoulders, and found us
other marketing opportunities. But it didn’t help sales one bit.
- We even took out an advertisement on Rock, Paper,
Shotgun, where we figured the people most interested in Sunset would be
gathered. They must all use AdBlock because that had no effect whatsoever.
- We worked hard on presenting a gentler Tale of
Tales to the public. Which basically meant that Michaël was forbidden to
talk in public and Auriea often just smiled at the camera, parroting words
whispered in her ears by communication coaches. Didn’t make a difference.
So now we are free. We don’t have to take advice from anybody anymore. We
were wrong. Everybody whom we consulted with on Sunset was wrong.
We are happy and proud that we have tried to make a “game for gamers.” We
really did our best with Sunset, our very best. And we failed. So that’s one
thing we never need to do again. Creativity still burns wildly in our hearts but
we don’t think we will be making videogames after this. And if we do, definitely
not commercial ones.