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Defense Grid studio halts development of Early Access game

Hidden Path, a studio best known for its work on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the Defense Grid tower defense games, has halted development of its Early Access title Windborne due to lack of funds.

Bellevue-based Hidden Path Entertainment, a studio best known for its work on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the Defense Grid tower defense games, has halted development of its Early Access title Windborne (pictured) due to a lack of funds.

"After much business development around the title with no positive movement in funding...we will be delisting Windborne on Steam," reads an update post published this week by a company representative. "There is no money with which to refund players. Every dollar spent on purchasing the game has gone into development of the game and Hidden Path had invested 10 times more money than the game has earned into the development."

This is the latest in a series of examples of how developing your games on Early Access can lead to a less-than-ideal conclusion, though it's not quite in the same league as notable Early Access failures like The Stomping Land, which was seemingly abandoned by its development team without explanation.

The story of Windborne is more akin to that of Towns, which was abandoned in 2014 after its developers ran out of money. Failures like these led Valve to update the Steam Early Access FAQ with a note that games may never be finished, and later added guidelines for Early Access developers that included a prohibition against launching a game on the service "if you can't afford to develop with very few or no sales."

Hidden Path launched Windborne into Early Access before Valve made those changes, and the studio seems to regret that move.

"We have attempted to secure the needed funding to finish the game in various avenues and unfortunately what was once a not-so-completive market has now been flooded with games of this style," reads the aforementioned (lengthy) cancellation announcement. "Early Access as a means to fund the completion of a game is not something we would advice [sic] to anybody. This was not clearly outlined when we entered into EA, it has since been changed to illustrate this." 

For further insight into developing games on Early Access, check out our feature on the topic, which includes advice from developers who have found success on the platform.

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