updated 06:30 pm EDT, Sun May 11, 2014
Over 200,000 copies of game sold before official release, no mention of refund
Troubled indie game Towns has met its end a second time, as its latest developer Florian Frankenberger announced his departure from the project, citing compensation concerns. Frankenberger had taken over the project from SMP after former developer Xani Canal gave notice that he was ending development in February.
Frankenberger states that his reason for ending the game was based on a financial decision he was faced with. In a post on the game's message board, he outlined the initial agreement he had signed up for, which was 15 percent of the game's revenue after taxes and fees paid to Steam. While it was an agreement that saw him take a hit financially to work on it, the game had been declining in sales, unbeknownst to him.
The game had been losing about 33 percent of its sales per month says Frankenberger, a number that he couldn't survive on. "To be completely honest, I can't work for that little amount," he says. "I have to pay for the rent and food and this doesn't really suffice for any of it. I also settled for the 15 percent of the minimum of X copies, which is already well below my normal salary."
In July 2013, the game was said to have sold 200,000 units with an estimated gross revenue of more than $2 million, due in part to its success as one of Steam's first successful Greenlight titles before the Steam Early Access program was put into place. Where that money has gone hasn't been addressed in any of the statements regarding the end of development. Questions about a possible refund, and negative reviews, have begun to trickle in with the announcement on the game's Steam page.
Even though development of Towns will end, Frankenberger added that he is in talks with former developer Canal "about a possible Towns 2." It is unclear what would happen to compensate customers who purchased the first game, but Frankenberger says that fans would be rewarded in "some way, when [and] if the new game is released."
At the time of publication, Steam still lists Towns for sale at a price of $15.