It was a surprise all around when Google announced in September that the streaming games service Stadia will be closed in early 2023 (opens in new tab). Developers have scrambled to come up with solutions for Stadia players: The Stadia launch title Gylt (opens in new tab), for instance, is finally going to other platforms, while CD Projekt recently told Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) players how they can move their Stadia saves to other platforms.
But at least one game will not make the transition: Outcasters, the eight-player party shooter released by Splash Damage in December 2020. The studio initially said it needed "a couple of days to evaluate the options for Outcasters moving forward" following the Stadia closure announcement, and with that time taken it has decided to let the game die.
"It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that we do not have plans to bring Outcasters to other platforms at this time," the studio said in a message shared on Twitter. "Outcasters was designed and built exclusively for Stadia, with many of its systems heavily reliant on the platform, significantly increasing the complexity of the work required.
"We still firmly believe that cloud gaming has a bright future in our industry, providing easier access to games than ever before, and we are encouraged to see that other platforms still champion the cause."
Google doesn't share data on Stadia games so it's impossible to know what sort of success Outcasters has achieved, but it's understandable that Splash Damage might decide to let it go if the player numbers are too low. At the same time, bringing the game to Steam, Epic, and maybe PC Game Pass would undoubtedly grow the audience—although perhaps not enough to justify the work involved in the studio's estimation.
pic.twitter.com/7RxOGFadCxOctober 12, 2022
That's all purely speculative, and regardless of the reasoning it's unfortunate that at least one game is going to disappear completely when Stadia goes away. I'm also a little surprised by how upbeat Splash Damage remains about the future of cloud gaming given this outcome for Outcasters: The ease-of-access argument is fair, at least for people with access to the required infrastructure, but the other side of that coin is those games can just as easily be taken away. It's an extremely fragile form of ownership.
Splash Damage is, as far as I know, the first studio to confirm that it won't be mounting some sort of rescue operation for its Stadia stuff: Ubisoft (opens in new tab), IO Interactive (opens in new tab), Bungie (opens in new tab), and Tequila Works (opens in new tab) (and, as mentioned earlier, CD Projekt) have all said that they're working on ways to get their Stadia players to other platforms.