Painterly adventure game Beyond Eyes will soon be delisted from digital storefronts. This is happening due to a dispute between developer Sherida Halatoe and Team17, with the developer choosing not to renew her publishing agreement due to problems she's having with the company.
Why is Beyond Eyes being delisted?
In a Twitter thread, Halatoe outlines her problems with Team17 and confirms that Beyond Eyes will soon be unavailable to purchase. She says that Team17 redefined parts of their publishing agreement without her consent after Beyond Eyes' launch in 2015 and that the publisher either communicated poorly with her or did not communicate at all. Halatoe says this was a "common frustration" with developers who worked with Team17 around the time of Beyond Eyes' launch. She says the process took "a huge toll" on her mental health, and that she and many other developers were "flat out broke" and "industry rookies", which meant they didn't know how to deal with Team17.
Halatoe says there's pretty much no chance of her re-releasing Beyond Eyes outside of Team17, as the original demo was remade into the finished game "in collab" with some of Team17's development staff. Beyond Eyes will therefore be retired, which means you'll still have it in your Steam library if you've already bought it, but you won't be able to buy it anymore. As for Halatoe's upcoming project Trails of Life, she says that she's since quit game development altogether, but will be releasing the story and dialogue from the game as a novel. The chapters of this novel will be made available for free sometime next year.
Have any other developers raised complaints about Team17?
Halatoe's issues with Beyond Eyes aren't the first time indie developers have struggled with Team17. Allison Road developer Lilith Ltd split with the publisher back in 2016, less than a year after the launch of Beyond Eyes. Lilith Ltd's project subsequently appears to have died, with no mention of it being made since 2016. Before that, This Is The Police developer Weappy also parted ways with Team17, citing "disagreements". It's worth saying that Team17 is still publishing indie games; the studio is publishing Animal Crossing-style indie title Hokko Life, and has also published '80s throwback action game Narita Boy and pirate RPG King of Seas this year, among others.
The Beyond Eyes situation is also reminiscent of a number of other developer-publisher disputes in the gaming industry, although none of these situations are identical. The Sinking City developer Frogwares is embroiled in a bitter dispute with publisher Nacon over the rights to distribute the game, while Life Is Feudal: MMO developer Bitbox was forced to close the game after publisher Xsolla didn't issue due payments. There are, it seems, often some real problems with the ways in which the publisher-developer interaction takes its toll on devs. In the unlikely event Beyond Eyes reappears in any form, we'll let you know.
Do you own Beyond Eyes? How do you feel about the game being delisted? Let us know in the comments below!