Stained developer halts Steam key distribution to Indie Royale buyers, wants them to re-buy it instead

Andy Chalk at

Stained developer RealAxis Software has decided not to distribute Steam keys to people who purchased last year's Indie Royale Debut 3 bundle, despite earlier promises to do so. In a message posted on the Steam forums, RealAxis said the game isn't selling and the studio is probably doomed, and encouraged fans to buy it again instead of expecting a Steam key from a cheap bundle.

The Indie Royale Debut 3 bundle launched last summer with a selection of five games, including the side-scrolling action-platformer Stained, that were all in the midst of the Steam Greenlight process. The games were all available through Desura and while nothing was carved in stone, the site noted that "developers have almost always provided Steam keys for Indie Royale games that have subsequently been greenlit and then appeared on Steam."

That appeared to be the case with Stained, as RealAxis said as recently as July 16 that it would distribute Steam keys directly to Indie Royale buyers via email. But those keys were apparently never sent, and in a follow-up message posted on Sunday, RealAxis announced that they aren't going to be.

"This may come as a shock to you guys, but we have decided not to distribute the keys any more to the IR bundle purchaser. The game is not selling at all and there is no hope. I think we are already doomed so we are abandoning the process of distributing the keys," the studio wrote in slightly rough-hewn English. "We will continue to do what is required to make the living and provide support to game related questions twice a week. If you really love this game you should consider buying it on steam else I think you already had your share of enjoyment when you purchased the game via IR-Bundle for 50 cent."

The message states that there's "no need to send any emails," presumably to either inquire or complain about the situation, and posted a brief FAQ addressing some of the more obvious questions. It says the studio has earned about $3000 from the game in total, including 300 copies that sold on Steam during the first week of release, but since then, sales have apparently trickled off to nothing.

Yet while the promised Steam keys won't be delivered, RealAxis isn't actually abandoning the game: The intent seems to be to convince people who enjoyed Stained in the Indie Royale bundle to purchase it again at full price.

"We will support stained for as long as it takes. There is this level creation scripts that runs in blender, so I also want that script to be out and into the hands of the game owner," the FAQ states. "Game will be updated on desura with all latest fixes, in a coming month and all future updates will also come to desura build. So those user can enjoy the game directly from there."

As for the possible—okay, virtually certain—angry backlash from people expecting Steam keys, the studio said it can't make things much worse. "I think we already have a reason to regret," it wrote. "And trust me with just 300 copies sold and sale is complete dry we are already rotting into the hell."

Stained emerged from Greenlight earlier this month and is now available on Steam for $8—$2 less than the Desura price.