In a move that is distinctly saddening for the time of year, Pixelmage Games has announced that they are shutting down and ceasing development on Hero's Song.
It's too bad, because even though there have been warning signs from the beginning, Hero's Song was a game with a lot of potential. However, it seems their Kickstarter failure and subsequent Indiegogo campaign has finally caught up to them, as Pixelmage Game's reasoning for cancelling their title is quite simple: lack of funds.
The initial Kickstarter campaign asked for around $800,000 in funds, which while a lot, was not the end of the world for Hero's Song. However, after a week it was taken down because of "mistakes," such as a lack of shown gameplay and physical goods for backers who would want to put down more than the asking price of the game. Essentially, while the concept was sound, there weren't enough reasons for potential backers to actually back the title.
Because of this, after a week they took it down, which is standard practice for a Kickstarter that launches with issues or mistakes. Typically, if a title is clearly going to fail, you will pull it off the market and keep working on it until you are ready to show it again. Of course, the time and place of another campaign is vital, which is why Pixelmage Games' choice of Indiegogo as the place to fund their campaign 8 months later is important.
Indiegogo is always an option for developers to crowdfund their games, as flexible campaigns allow people to utilize backer funds even if they are below the 100% threshold, but it's worth looking at the difference in size between both Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
The screenshot was taken from Indiegogo's website a few minutes ago, at around 6:00 PM EST.
While Indiegogo does have many benefits, the main detriment of the site is that it isn't nearly as popular as Kickstarter, which had 975,000 gaming backers in 2015 compared to Indiegogo's 2.5 million backers for the entire website for 2015. These statistics put things into perspective and can explain why the game ended up making less then half of its $200,000 goal on Indiegogo. At this time, it doesn't appear they'll make the jump back over to Kickstarter and try again, but it's been done before.
For those interested in the full message from Pixelmage Games, check out the message that was posted on their page:
Hello Hero's Song Players,
It's with a heavy heart that I have to report that Pixelmage Games is going to be shutting down and we have ceased development on Hero's Song. For the last year, our team has worked tirelessly to make the game we've dreamed about making, and with your support, and the support of our investors, we were able to get the game into Early Access. Unfortunately sales fell short of what we needed to continue development. We knew going in that most startups don't make it, and as an indie game studio we hoped we would be the exception to that rule, but as it turned out we weren't.
We sincerely value our customers. You’re our most important focus and have been from day one. We’re going to offer 100% refunds to all of the people who bought Hero’s Song.
For our Indiegogo customers, please email [email protected] with your name and information about which one of the packages you bought so we can make sure you get your money back. Our team will respond to confirm we received your email and we'll make sure you get your refund quickly.
For players that purchased via Steam you will be able to claim your refund through the normal Steam refund process. Go to https://help.steampowered.com and you can get your refund right away.
Thank you for all the support you showed us. We're sorry things worked out the way they did, but we feel strongly that we gave it our all and we're proud of how far we came with the game. The fact that we weren't able to finish the game is painful, but the journey of making Hero's Song has been a great experience for us and we’re just sorry we couldn’t take it all the way.
The Hero's Song team
Quick Take:It really is too bad that Hero's Song failed, but it also serves as another warning to those that who want to develop their dream game: either you go all-in or you don't. That isn't to say that those working on Hero's Song didn't, but it does show that even if you do there is still many things that can go wrong. I was looking forward to this game's final release, but I guess I will have to try and forget this game ever existed. Overall, I hope those at Pixelmage Games land on their feet and create more games, which is all that anyone can ask for in this industry.
What do you think of this news? Are you disappointed that you will never be able to play the final version of Hero's Song? Let us know in the comments!