I’m surprised I didn’t find any discussion on yesterday’s blog entry here. So in case most of you are indeed not yet aware of it, read it here:
Apparently 2017 has been a difficult year for Failbetter for a variety of reasons. As a result
the Fallen London app will be retired within the second quarter of 2018[/li][li]four people are no longer working for Failbetter (FBG didn’t write who specifically but Lottie, Cash and Liam are confirmed from their twitter accounts/websites)[/li][li]Sunless Skies will be a released a bit later than originally planned and[/li][li](this is probably the only good news of the bunch) Fallen London will get a new interface/layout that looks fairly similar to Sunless Sea
For me the news were very unexpected and I’m sad that they are having a rough patch and had to let people go (one of my favourite writers, no less). Hopefully they can sort it out.
Lukily there’s also some good news: Some of you may know that Lottie works for Weather Factory now (Alexis’ new venture and maker of "Cultist Simulator) and Cash is apparently doing freelance work for WF, too. That is at least something, in my opinion.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know. Apologies if this is the wrong sub to post this. edited by rahv7 on 2/8/2018
[color=#0066ff]Liam and Lottie left before the redundancy consultation, and Cash was indeed made redundant. People are still working their notices or on gardening leave, so we’ll leave it to them to announce when they see fit. There will be 12 of us when everything is said and done. Thanks for your messages in the last few days, everyone. [/color]
I posted in the Sunless Skies thread but I’ll reiterate that the news motivated me to finally buy Sunless Skies, and that I’m sad to see Cash was one of the people to leave. The Waltz That Moved The World is one of the more memorable stories to me and though I haven’t played them yet I’ve heard a lot of recommendations for Where You And I Must Go and HOJOTOHO! He really excelled at using the personal stories of a few strong characters to enhance the flavor of Fallen London as a lived-in city. I’ll add to the best wishes for him and the others. edited by Absalom Agenbite on 2/8/2018
This is indeed sad news. In particular, I always enjoyed the Exceptional Stories in which Cash was the lead writer. Hopefully those let go will go on to new and great things, and business will pick up for FBG soon.
My confident prediction, based on some amateur extispicy: Sunless Skies will turn out to be a smash hit and one of the top-selling games of the year, selling digital copies like Rubbery Lumps at the Festival of the Fruits of the Zee. Its success will lure many new and unsuspecting players into the tender clutches of New Newgate, and thence on to Fallen London.
My deepest sympathies to everyone. It sounds like a very tough situation, especially for a small and close-knit team. And although I only maintained Exceptional Friendship for a short time, I loved Cash’s work with HOJOTOHO! It genuinely gave me goosebumps. Best wishes to him, and to everyone else in the future.
[quote=Absalom Agenbite]I posted in the Sunless Skies thread but I’ll reiterate that the news motivated me to finally buy Sunless Skies, and that I’m sad to see Cash was one of the people to leave. The Waltz That Moved The World is one of the more memorable stories to me and though I haven’t played them yet I’ve heard a lot of recommendations for Where You And I Must Go and HOJOTOHO! He really excelled at using the personal stories of a few strong characters to enhance the flavor of Fallen London as a lived-in city. I’ll add to the best wishes for him and the others. edited by Absalom Agenbite on 2/8/2018[/quote]
Cash wrote HOJOTOHO… oh, my! Didn’t play many ES (probably 12), but that was my personal favourite specially the text on the faction card! Such a pity! :( And Where You And I Must Go, damn; even my forum avatar is from that story! :D
Do hope better times will be ahead of FBG and the rest of the crew!
I’m cross-posting from the other thread in case someone has an answer here:
My wife and I are so sorry to hear about the financial trouble that FBG is going though. Fallen London is one of our favorite games, we’re happy to spend money on FL, as and we spend more time here than watching TV or movies.
We do have a question for FBG regarding the purchase of Sunless Skies: What is financially better for for the studio? To buy the game now while it is in Early Access? Or wait and pay full price on launch day?
We’re going to purchase the Sunless Skies one way or the other, but would like to do so in a manner that is most useful for the studio.
On the other hand, when Alexis was talking about price & availability of Cultist Simulator, he was mainly optimizing around having a "pop" on release week, because ranking on the Steam sales charts is an important venue for visibility. It’s probably best to let FBG speak for themselves, because it’s a multi-faceted problem… but I’m going to speculate anyways. Based on what they’ve said, they’ve positioned themselves to have the cash-on-hand they need through release, and improving their fortunes after release is their focus. Which might best be accomplished by having a splashy launch week.
It’s an odd quirk of the video game industry that selling lots of games in advance through a kickstarter can actually hurt your game’s eventual sales.
I wonder if one possible solution would be only having the kickstarter grant a coupon for 90% off the price of the game, so you still have to spend the last buck or two through steam to give the game that release date pop.
[quote=Harlocke]It’s an odd quirk of the video game industry that selling lots of games in advance through a kickstarter can actually hurt your game’s eventual sales.
I wonder if one possible solution would be only having the kickstarter grant a coupon for 90% off the price of the game, so you still have to spend the last buck or two through steam to give the game that release date pop.[/quote]
The issue is Early Access. Letting someone play the game while it’s in development necessarily requires transacting the sale before release week. Structuring the Kickstarter around release week would mean giving up Early Access to at least some extent (you could still make Early Access a separate reward tier).
FBG has historically used Early Access because they value community involvement, and player feedback has in fact had major impacts on the design of Sunless Skies so it’s still a benefit. But they mentioned that the market attitude towards Early Access has changed (I think too many people got burned by studios failing to deliver, or taking too long). They may end up exploring a different route in the future, who knows.
As an aside, in addition to well wishes and hope for the future, I want to offer my sincere thanks to FBG for their transparency about their current state. It’s a credit to how much they value the community that they’re willing to share this very private information with us.
I am a little sad to see mobile application go - I like the music scores (made by same person who did the music for "Sunless Sea", I suppose) accompanying different locations. [strike]Not to mention the 2x as fast action/card refreshes[/strike]
Hoever, given the situation, it is understandable. Hoping that in pursuing "modern look", quite high usability of webpage version won’t get sacrificed… And most of all, hoping for better financial results next year for you, gals and guys.
Best of luck to Failbetter. All small companies go through a rough patch at some point, and they do weather it - it is unfortunately the nature of business. I am making a FB post about how much I enjoy Fallen London and Sunless Sea, and I would honestly like to know what else we can do (apart from spreading the word and spending Fate) to help things along.
I would also like to thank Cash for some of our favorite stories, and I hope to see them back either as freelancers or as members of the studio once again. edited by Jolanda Swan on 2/13/2018
I personally don’t play Early Access games if I care about their story, since you can only experience it for the first time once. I doubt I’m the only one like that, and that may be the cause of the issue.
If Sunless Skies turns out to be immensely successful, I do hope you’ll consider hiring them again.