London-based narrative games specialist Failbetter Games has laid off four employees following the lacklustre reception to its latest title Sunless Skies.
The Kickstarter-backed game was released on Steam Early Access for PC in August 2017 but achieved only 15 per cent of previous game sunless Sea's sales in a comparable time period.
Whilst development is set to continue, the studio’s communications director Hannah Flynn said it “has a lot less cash in the bank than we wanted to have at this point”, resulting in redundancies.
Failbetter has also announced it will be closing the Fallen London mobile app in Q2 2018. Flynn explained that the mobile version was not functioning as the studio wanted, mainly due to “some fundamental architectural decisions that it’s now not practical to change”. The game has also not performed to expectations.
The web version of Fallen London will remain live and is set for a relaunch.
Indie fund closure
On top of this Failbetter is set to close ‘Fundbetter’, the studio’s fund for small narrative games, until its own business improves.
“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,” said Flynn.
“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.”