Under The Ocean, an island surival indie, is the first game to voluntarily drop out of Steam’s Early Access program.
Lead developer Paul Hart made this announcement after he and the game’s programmer, Michael Reitzenstein, decided to part ways. The game will continue development, but due to the major setbacks the situation has caused, Paul feels that he will not be able to meet his obligations, at least in a timely manner.
Paul will refund backers when he gets the money, and move development and purchases of the game outside Steam, presumably DRM-free.
Paul explained his rationale for the decision to Kotaku via email:
(sic) Firstly, I am way too stubborn to quit, but secondly, we promised the player-base that a game would be delivered—not a broken alpha product. It isn’t even about money or lack thereof at this point. It’s about pride and finishing what we started. Despite Mike leaving, I still feel strongly about what this project could be, rather than what it is currently.
I emailed Jason at Steam to take it down. I can’t in good faith keep the store page up without something decent to show. Jason was very understanding, and I just told him if/when I have something worth selling I’d shoot him an email again to ask to revive the store page. But until that time, I will be starting again by myself, and the game will not be available until I am happy with it.