Sun Sets on Tale of Tales
Tale of Tales, the studio which just recently released Sunset after a successful Kickstarter, have posted that they will no longer be making videogames after the poor sales of their latest release.
Sunset only managed to sell slightly more than 4,000 copies inclusive of Kickstarter backers and Steam summer sales. The studio spent more money than what they had on the game (the post states that they spent an extra $40,000) on an advertisement on the Rock, Paper, Shotgun website and even hired a PR company to market their game.
At the end of the blog post, Michaël Samyn & Auriea Harvey mentioned that they were now free. They had tried their best with Sunset to make a "game for gamers" but failed so that is something they would never need to do again.
From some of the discussions on reddit that I have gone through it seems that some of the posters had never heard of the game or the studio before which would indicate that the game did not have enough publicity despite the advertisement and PR activities. The studio also mentioned that funding for artistic video games in Belgium has dried up.
Was Tale of Tales too ambitious with their last commercial release? Would the money that they had spent on advertisements and PR be better used to make the game slightly more interactive? As a Kickstarter backer I do have the game installed and have played through around 3 hours, the game does provide a decent narrative experience but could have had a few minigames to give players something different to do other than waiting for a progress bar when choosing to do their household chores.
Games like The Stanley Parable and Gone Home are proof that interactive adventure games can sell well and do have an audience. The commercial failure of Sunset does continue to show that even if a game receives critical acclaim it does not guarantee that it will sell.