Former Sony Online Entertainment CEO, John Smedley, cancels Early Access game Hero’s Song and shutters indie game company Pixelmage Games due to lack of funding.
After making headlines last year for his Twitter confrontation with well-known Lizard Squad hacker, John Smedley again made the headlines when he left his position as CEO of Daybreak Game Company to start his own studio. At the time, Smedley and his crew at the new studio, known as Pixelmage Games, were excited for the future of their fist title, Hero’s Song.
Unfortunately, as often happens in the gaming business, Pixelmage Games was unable to secure enough funding to keep the game and studio going, and have announced the closure of Pixelmage Games and the end of Hero’s Song.
Hero’s Song, an “open-world roguelike fantasy action RPG” was playable as either a solo game, or multiplayer title with up to 25 other players. The title made it to Early Access on Steam, but unfortunately didn’t make enough sales to keep the game going.
In a statement on the company website, Smedley shared a heart-felt message about the company and game’s fate. Smedley said:
“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to report that Pixelmage Games is going to be shutting down and we have ceased development on Hero’s Song. For the last year, our team has worked tirelessly to make the game we’ve dreamed about making, and with your support, and the support of our investors, we were able to get the game into Early Access. Unfortunately sales fell short of what we needed to continue development. We knew going in that most startups don’t make it, and as an indie game studio we hoped we would be the exception to that rule, but as it turned out we weren’t.”
Those who purchased Hero’s Song can claim a full refund via the source of their purchase. Early Access players will need to go through Steam’s refund system, and those who purchased the game via Indiegogo will need to email the team at Pixelmage Games using the directions provided on the company’s website.
The outcome for Hero’s Song isn’t too surprising considering the lack-luster excitement the game received during its crowdfunding phase. Pixelmage Games originally launched crowdfunding on Kickstarter, but canceled the campaign after a rough start. At the time, it had raised around $137,000 during its first week, making it unlikely for the game to reach its $800,000 goal. From there, the company switched to Indiegogo, where it only reached 47 percent of its $200,000 goal. While the company did have $1 million of other funding to help get the game off the ground, Pixelmage was heavily dependent on Early Access sales to keep development going.
In addition to sharing the company’s sad fate, Smedley offered appreciation for those gamers who supported the game both through Indiegogo and Early Access. Smedley said:
“Thank you for all the support you showed us. We’re sorry things worked out the way they did, but we feel strongly that we gave it our all and we’re proud of how far we came with the game. The fact that we weren’t able to finish the game is painful, but the journey of making Hero’s Song has been a great experience for us and we’re just sorry we couldn’t take it all the way.”
There’s no word yet about where Smedley will land next, if he even continues in the gaming industry. After his time as CEO with Sony Online Entertainment an Daybreak Game Company, he may still have opportunities with some of the industry’s biggest game makers. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next.
What do you think about Hero’s Song and Pixelmage Games shutting down?