Spicy Horse Sheds Light On Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Stumble

Spicy Horse Sheds Light On Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Stumble

Akaneiro Demon Hunters gameplay

Spicy Horse says Akaneiro: Demon Hunters was plagued by a number of unexpected complications that left it unable to sustain itself while development was completed.

Spicy Horse announced yesterday that the development team on Akaneiro: Demon Hunters has been reduced to just two people, a change necessitated by loss of roughly $1.7 million on the game. That led to questions about how such losses were possible, given that last year's Akaneiro Kickstarter stated that most development was already complete and that the risk that it would fail was "quite low."

Akaneiro hasn't exactly "failed" yet, but neither does it have the co-op multiplayer or tablet editions that were "guaranteed" by the Kickstarter. So how did it suffer such a huge shortfall when the amount of money needed to complete the game was supposed to be so relatively small?

"The idea that $200,000 would finish everything was arrived at under the assumption that Akaneiro would sustain itself. It didn't have to be a runaway success but it needed to cover costs," Kelly Heckman of Spicy Horse explained. "Unfortunately, what we found upon release was some architectural problems (this is why co-op is behind); issues upgrading our GUI - the one we used was compatible with Unity 4.0 but not Unity 4.5, which required redoing the entire GUI; and feedback that told us the game simply wasn't fun. All of this needed to be addressed before we could implement co-op or tablet."

Heckman pointed out that Spicy Horse has delivered all Kickstarter backer rewards, digital and physical, and has been "transparent about this entire process." She also refuted the suggestion that taking the game in its incomplete state to Steam Early Access might have done more harm than good in the long run.

"The game not monetizing has nothing whatsoever to do with Early Access. It has been nothing but a boon to us," she said. "We've earned enough income to get a substantial patch out that puts us in a much better position for the remaining team members to move forward. Had it not been for that, Akaneiro would have remained in the state that it is in indefinitely."

As for when it will come out of that state, Heckman said there's no "calendar schedule" yet but putting one together is the next priority. "We've just pushed out the patch, gathered feedback, downsized the team, and it's Chinese New Year," she said. "Once the team gets back their first job will be to build a calendar that we can share with our backers/community," which for the most part, she added, is standing by the studio.

"Our backers are taking this well; our community on Steam has been supportive," she said. "What more could we ask for?"

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I really don't see what they could do at this point to actually save this game. I've played it for a bit and the fatal truth is that it's just plain boring and no amount of patching and GUI updates will ever be able to fix that. It's sad too because I felt that Spicy Horse had a lot of potential as a company, with their focus on dark fairy tale retelling and distinct visuals. Oh well...

1) Basically I start to think that Unity is a mark of death for more or less large budgeted project. It eats time and money without actually providing fine enough graphics and adequate optimization.
2) There are people who called me "imbecile" for judging game by pre-release screenshots. Maybe I am. I've never heard of this game before this message, but screenshot provided did not attract me to this project. While colours are interesting, we see empty flat "floor" surrounded by rare decorative elements like rectangular rocks, crudely modelled trees and torches. Effects are eaten by the ground and look unnatural. If this project was close to completion it would be mediocre at best. Of course, unknown variable is gameplay, but approach to design usually applies to all its parts, so, usually, one can induce graphical design on other aspects like leveldesign or game mechanics.

Rastrelly:

2) There are people who called me "imbecile" for judging game by pre-release screenshots. Maybe I am. I've never heard of this game before this message, but screenshot provided did not attract me to this project. While colours are interesting, we see empty flat "floor" surrounded by rare decorative elements like rectangular rocks, crudely modelled trees and torches. Effects are eaten by the ground and look unnatural. If this project was close to completion it would be mediocre at best. Of course, unknown variable is gameplay, but approach to design usually applies to all its parts, so, usually, one can induce graphical design on other aspects like leveldesign or game mechanics.

Well, here is why: The game mechanics are basically diablo. But it feels... more deadly is the best way I can describe it. It's very easy to die in this game, last I played. Which was quite a while ago. you had to be on your toes, even if you were playing a melee class, you still needed some way to quickly dispatch of your enemies. So at one point, you did start to grind in order to actually get further into the game.

What's worse, is that stuff is level restricted from what I recall.

Anyway, it's bittersweet news. I think Mcgee is better at making a dark but colorful art direction than he is at making a game. I hope this game underlines that thought to him... Also, what I meant with bittersweet is that the art direction is something cool, but the game is just not picking up at all. It's a shame too, but if people don't like how it plays, then that's the end of that.

Just goes to show, a game's can be broken by many parts of itself.

I read this as "Extra! Extra! Steam Early Access Is Actually A Terrible Fucking Idea!"

It is a shame what's happening with this. Having said that, I felt it strange that Spicy Horse has been constantly dipping into the Kickstarter Well these days.

 

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