Stray Souls Developer Has Closed Alongside Its Publisher

  • Sophia Robinson
  • Jan 04, 2024
  • 265
Stray Souls Developer Has Closed Alongside Its Publisher

The independent game development scene recently witnessed the unfortunate shutdown of Jukai Studio, the creators behind the horror title Stray Souls. The small-scale operation, which primarily consisted of two main creators supported by contractors, has been silently shuttered amid a series of setbacks. This unfortunate turn of events closely follows the closure of its publishing partner, Versus Evil.

Jukai Studio's farewell message to its community addressed the lofty expectations that players had for Stray Souls, a project wrought with passion yet limited resources. Despite the fervent effort invested by the team, the game did not resonate well with audiences, incurring scathing criticism and floundering sales that led to monetary woes. Further exacerbating the studio's distress was the relentless cyberbullying targeting the team throughout Stray Souls' development—a factor Jukai Studio disclosed with dismay.

In the face of adversity, the team at Jukai Studio expressed their gratitude to their loyal supporters and pointed out that mass layoffs were avoided as the studio was never a corporate giant. Opting to dissolve the studio, individual members have decided to tread different paths. Jukai assured that they are not giving up on Stray Souls, indicating their intent to pursue legal action against the cyber harassment inflicted upon them.

Similarly, Versus Evil met its conclusion in December 2023 when its parent company, TinyBuild, unexpectedly let go of the entire 13-person team just before the holidays. The individuals affected by the layoffs clarified that this decision was precipitated by TinyBuild and not the leadership at Versus Evil.

These incidents reinforce the fragile nature of the game development industry. Even amidst a year celebrated for several successful games, the fates of Jukai Studio and Versus Evil epitomize the daunting risks involved. A heavy reliance on the success of a single release to support a studio is a perilous strategy—one made more evident when the project in question does not meet expectations.

As we take in the news of these closures, it is a pivotal moment to reflect upon our interactions with developers and publishers, emphasizing the need for civility and support. With these entities disbanded, it is vital to extend empathy toward those affected and encourage them as they step into new ventures beyond Stray Souls and Versus Evil.

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