Dark Matter has been pulled from Steam after players complained the game didn't have a proper ending.
Last week one InterWave developer took to the Steam forum to address the complaints, arguing that while a failed Kickstarter left the story unfinished, the game itself was complete.
Publisher Iceberg Interactive also admitted there were problems with the ending, but that his company is working to give the story a more satisfying conclusion and that claims the title is incomplete or unplayable are simply untrue.
“We would like to stress that the game is exactly as described on Steam (including that it contains 14 levels) – it is simply not true that the game is unfinished, or unplayable,” said CEO Erik Schreuder.
“Some people have misquoted the developer as having admitted that the game is incomplete; we should reiterate that what was meant was that this is not the $30 full-priced game, but the episodic budget version (currently selling at $13,49 at 10% off).”
A new report from Gamasutra cites sources claiming that while an outside team is working on a patch to bring Dark Matter some resolution, most of the original InterWave team was let go between July and August.
One source described InterWave as a “sleeping company”, operating under a skeleton crew of managers and without enough developers to finish the game.
Another source said there aren't any of the original developers working on Dark Matter; it's all been taken over by an external company. According to this account, only two managers still work at Interwave.
The decision to make Dark Matter an episodic series – confirmed in Schreuder's letter to the community – was made in the hopes the studio would be able to rehire these employees after the first episode launched.
Unfortunately that plan has backfired, and the chances the studio will be able to re-form and finish the series don't look good.
Update: InterWave's Michiel Beenen has confirmed that the reports of layoffs are correct, but tells Gamasutra that neither management nor Iceberg were aware of the problems with the game's ending.
"We had to make a decision, either we polished up what we had, or just throw it in the bin, and that's it," he said.
"We chose to keep everyone on for another two months, and use the money we had to make the game as complete as possible."
The staff were laid off, and in the rush to get the game published, apparently no one checked to see how it ended, and says that the situation is "total bullshit".
"I want this to be solved... We need to fix it," he added.
A small UK team is putting together a cinematic to bring the story to a close, with the new ending due for release next Friday.
Beenen hopes that people won't overlook the passion put into the project because of problems caused by a lack of funds, and that players will give Dark Matter another go when it's relaunched.