Failbetter Games has revealed that they have been struggling financially which has led to layoffs at the developer who is currently working on Sunless Skies.
According to Failbetter, the Early Access sales have been a lot lower than they expected and are currently 15% down on Sunless Sea in a comparable time period. Failbetter cites a number of reasons why they think the sales performance is lower than expected adding:
“The marketplace is also hugely different to the last time we launched an Early Access game (in 2014), and Sunless Skies just isn’t as visible as Sunless Sea was. The success of our Kickstarter probably also led to fewer people buying it at EA launch, which will have made it less visible on storefronts; thousands of people had already picked up their copy.”
The Studio had had to make some tough decisions to keep it alive including making changes to their business model and also making four of their staff redundant. Despite their internal problems, the team is determined to deliver the Sunless Skies project.
“Development is progressing rapidly (check out our latest Exploration build if you want to see more), and there’s no danger of us failing to deliver the project you backed. But the business has a lot less cash in the bank than we wanted to have at this point. Late last year we made some hard decisions to ensure a couple of things: that we don’t reach launch in a financial state that would put the studio in danger of closing before we can make another game, and that we continue with a better structure for a business making games of our kind.”
Failbetter will not release Sunless Skies in May as originally planned but it has meant scaling back on some plans and canceling other altogether. The update concludes:
“We’re keenly aware that, like all indie studios, we are a small and vulnerable vessel. We’re committed to keeping this studio open and making games. We’re in no danger of failing to deliver Sunless Skies, and never have been. The decisions we’ve made over the last few months will enable us to make more games after Sunless Skies and be around for many years to come.”