Skytorn, the procedurally-generated Metroidvania from many of the folks behind Celeste (opens in new tab), has been cancelled, developer Noel Berry has announced.
Berry started working on Skytorn more than five years ago, but he and the rest of its team halted development to make Celeste, which came out in January this year. Just before Celeste released, Berry said that Skytorn wasn't dead, and that the team would finish it off (opens in new tab) in the future. But that plan has now changed—in a blog post (opens in new tab) this week, he revealed that the team has abandoned Skytorn, largely because they "just never figured out what it was".
The game was "broken" at its core, Berry said: it was a procedurally-generated adventure game without permadeath, which "clashed" with the Metroidvania themes.
"Taking out the procedural parts felt like it defeated the purpose of what the game was, so as it shifted towards a more linear adventure, the procedural map stayed but simply got more and more constricted, until the procedural-ness of it didn’t really mean anything — it was just… there," he said.
"And this is a lot of overhead for basically no payoff. Why make a procedural game at all if you don’t really get the benefits of it being procedural?" Finishing Skytorn would require the team to "throw away a lot of the code and gameplay design", he said, which he and others weren't prepared to do.
"I’m really sorry for those of you who were excited about this game. We were too. We poured a lot of time, energy, and heart into the project and we’re definitely sad it’s never going to see the commercial release we were hoping for."
You can watch some 2016 gameplay of Skytorn below.
Lastly, Berry said that the Celeste team would be "sticking together", and would share news about their next game in the new year. That echoes what his Celeste co-creator Matt Thorson said last week while announcing new, free, ultra-tricky levels for the platformer.
You can read Berry's full blog here.