American McGee’s Akaneiro tumbling down the Kickstarter rabbit hole

Steam Early Access game Akaneiro: Demon Hunters has cost creators Spicy Horse $1.7m, owner American McGee has revealed.

The game successfully won $200k worth of backing on Kickstarter and has to date raised a total of $300k in revenue. However, with development costs of nearly $2m that has left the studio $1.7m in the red.

As a result Spicy Horse is turning its attentions elsewhere, with a two-person team now tasked with ensuring the game fulfils its Kickstarter pledges. McGee says that if the company’s other title, The Gate, is a success they may be able to return to Akeneiro at a later date.

We now have no choice but to radically alter the approach we’re taking to maintaining and improving the game,” he said. The core development team has been reduced in size to just two people. They will continue to address bugs and make improvements while working towards goals like multi-player and tablet support, but progress will be slower.

What’s written here quickly in a few paragraphs represents some truly painful internal decisions and adjustments. Our Shanghai-based development team recently underwent downsizing so that all resources can be directed towards the one game that offers the greatest chance of bringing much-needed stability to our studio. If we can achieve our goals with The Gate, then we can bring greater attention to Akaneiro.

Life as an independent developer is filled with the constant threat of failure. This isn’t the first time in our eight year history we’ve faced this sort of challenge. It’s not the first time we’ve had to reduce staff on one of our games. It is different because of the demand for transparency that comes with being a part of Kickstarter. In providing transparency like this, I am asking for your understanding and I am hoping for your support.

As is usually the case after these sorts of painful adjustments, we are now in a better position to survive, build success with The Gate, and re-focus development on Akaneiro with lessons learned from the mistakes we’ve made.”

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