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American McGee's Spicy Horse studio downsizes to survive

In an update to Kickstarter backers of the successfully funded Akaneiro, the iconoclastic expat developer explains that his company has taken a $1.7m bath on the title so far.
Though Akaneiro: Demon Hunters was successfully funded via Kickstarter for over $200,000, in an update on the crowdfunding site today, developer American McGee revealed that his studio has invested $1.7 million in the title so far but only recouped $300,000. Consequently, the game's development has been reduced from 15 staff to two, as McGee shifts his studio's efforts toward collectible card/strategy game The Gate. The studio has suffered "downsizing" of an unspecified number of staff in the wake of this decision. "Life as an independent developer is filled with the constant threat of failure. This isn't the first time in our 8 year history we've faced this sort of challenge," writes McGee. "As is usually the case after these sorts of painful adjustments, we are now in a better position to survive, build success with The Gate, and re-focus development on Akaneiro with lessons learned from the mistakes we've made." Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is currently available for purchase via Steam Early Access, or free-to-play via its official website. McGee has spoken to Gamasutra in the past about building his Shanghai-based studio, Spicy Horse, and also about the challenges in the shift away from triple-A development.

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