Working in the video game industry can be rough in numerous ways, and so often, we hear examples of how it simply didn’t pan out for a developer / studio, no matter how well-received their catalogue. Come next Monday, that’ll sadly be the case for Arcen Games, as almost their entire staff will be laid off then. Hot off the trail of a successful Starward Rogue launch too, which makes it a tad puzzling?
Or rather, that’s what I thought, given the overwhelmingly positive (98%, with 92 reviews) rating it’s currently sitting at on Steam. But apparently, as is often the case, that didn’t quite translate to actual sales. Some may not be overly surprised by this and at this point, I really shouldn’t be either, but what can I say – I’m an optimist!
Arcen Games has after all been on a bit of a hit-spree, in my books, ever since Bionic Dues (79% positive) in 2013, which was then followed by The Last Federation in 2014 (75% positive), and last but by no means least, Starward Rogue in 2016 (98% positive). So what went wrong? Why the need for a massive layoff? Essentially, as I mentioned earlier, sales just weren’t there. Or rather, there weren’t enough of them to keep the lights on, or the boat afloat, in spite of also having been featured in their very own bundle. Ah, bundles…
Ain’t the first time they’ve had issues either, albeit never before on such a scale. Back in 2010, when AI War (which saw yet another expansion in 2014!) and Tidalis were the only titles attached to the Arcen Games brand, financial woes were ever-present too. Thanks to a wealth of word-of-mouth, press coverage and similar, that was taken care of, however. Exactly what’ll happen following this latest skirmish remains to be seen. But hey, positive thinking!
They do still have an upcoming title (Stars Beyond Reach) after all, and one that is planned for a Q2 2016 launch… albeit with a major overhaul. Can’t be helped really, but at least it hasn’t been scrapped (pending further troubles), ya know? Silver lining and all that. Silver lining indeed. Fingers crossed for better times ahead.