In the August edition of NAG we ran a feature on Early Access-type games. The method of crowd funding has become increasingly popular among indie development teams needing to scrape together further development funding. Opinion was split among NAG writers as to whether or not paid for alphas and Early Access options were a good thing or not. One of the biggest concerns was what would happen if development suddenly stopped before the final release. What would happen to backers, pledgers and early adopters then?
This big concern looks like it’s just happened with the dinosaur inspired game The Stomping Land. In May of 2013, the developers enjoyed a successful Kickstarter campaign where they gleaned six times more than they had hoped for. This later led to a Steam Early Access build for further financial pledges. Early Access kicked off in May of this year and charged people $25 to play the work in progress.
A few days ago, and after months of silence from developer SuperCrit, The Stomping Land was pulled from Steam.
About two months after Early Access kicked off, updates from the developer stopped. At the time, the developer’s PR person (who was working on a temporary contract basis) was providing weekly updates on development. On 15 July those updates stopped, with the PR representative revealing that their contract had expired months ago but that they wanted to “see this game succeed” so continued providing PR support. A further edit to their post revealed that lead developer “Jig” was “not very communicative” and as such the PR rep felt as if they were “stringing the community along”. They subsequently halted updates and appear to have stopped aiding SuperCrit.
The game has now been pulled from Steam, but it’s uncertain as to whether this was Valve’s doing or SuperCrit admitting defeat.