Making video games for a living is hard, but spare a thought for Belgium studio Tale of Tales. Known for their unconventional approach to the medium, the studio's latest title Sunset was warmly received by the press (though we had reservations) but sold poorly nonetheless. So poorly that Tales of Tales will stop developing video games.
Despite investing in professional PR, advertising, and scaling back some of the less accessible aspects of the studio's previous games, Sunset has only sold around 4,000 copies. That figure includes Kickstarter and sale purchases, the studio writes in a blogpost.
"In the end, we spent more money than we had on the production of Sunset," co-founders Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey wrote. "Because we wanted to make it really good and reach a wider audience. Compared to the ambitions we had for the game, the extra $40,000 seemed like a relatively small sum. “Surely we can make that amount back in the first month of sales!”
It's worth reading Samyn and Harvey's blogpost in its entirety. The duo is clearly disappointed their attempt to create a more approachable game was a commercial failure, but they're still proud of what the achieved with Sunset.
"We are happy and proud that we have tried to make a “game for gamers.” We really did our best with Sunset, our very best. And we failed. So that’s one thing we never need to do again. Creativity still burns wildly in our hearts but we don’t think we will be making videogames after this. And if we do, definitely not commercial ones."