Scavengers Studios, the studio responsible for creating the beautiful but underplayed SEASON: A letter to the future, recently had to lay off around 2/3 of its 40-person staff due to the game’s underperformance, as reported by gamesindustry.biz.
According to the CEO of the studio, Amélie Lamarche,
While Season received critical acclaim, it did not meet our commercial expectations,” Lamarche’s message read. “Despite our efforts to boost sales through content updates and discounts, the game only sold 60,000 copies during its first five months, which falls far short of what the studio needs to survive.
Given the current global economic context and Season’s financial results, we have been left with no choice but to make the difficult decision of downsizing the studio to a smaller, sustainable group of game developers. Unfortunately, this means parting ways with all but approximately 16 members of the Scavengers Studio team.
SEASON received overall positive reviews, with an 80 critical rating and 7.0 user score on Metacritic. Critics generally praised the game for its deep story, beautiful aesthetics, and excellent voice acting, though some users complained about game design choices and pacing.
I played through half of the game when it was initially released, on a busy slate of game releases, and I can say I generally liked the game and even loved some aspects of it. Certainly a chill ride, and maybe a bit slow for some, it certainly deserved more than 60K purchases.
Although claims of a toxic work environment detract from what would otherwise be an amazing game made by a smaller studio, it may serve as a cautionary tale to other smaller studios that, sadly, sometimes innovation may not result in sales.
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