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The Dark Matter debacle: Interwave responds

With the story blowing up around Interwave Studios, the company's managing director has spoken to Gamasutra to give some background on what has been happening at the Dutch company.

Mike Rose, Blogger

October 22, 2013

3 Min Read

With the story blowing up around Interwave Studios, and the company's game Dark Matter being pulled from Steam this week, Interwave's managing director has spoken to Gamasutra to give some background on what has been happening at the Dutch company. The game was released on Steam last week, and players quickly discovered that the game ended abruptly. The studio responded, saying that the failure of the game's Kickstarter forced the team to cut down on the game's content. Soon afterwards, the game was pulled from Steam. After receiving information from sources close to the team, Gamasutra has now talked to Interwave's Michiel Beenen, who explained that the studio was caught in a tough spot earlier this year, and forced to act. The company's first game Nuclear Dawn didn't sell as well as Interwave was hoping, and as such, the company decided to work on a smaller, cheaper title for its second release. Dark Matter was meant to take a year to develop, and was created by a team of six staffers at the company. However, a year into production, it became clear that there was still much work to do, and that the company was not going to have the funds to complete it. Either the studio could attempt to complete the game in two months, or run with a Kickstarter. It chose the latter, which unfortunately bore no fruit -- and this ended up putting Interwave in an even worse situation.

Kickstarter or bust

"We had to make a decision," he tells me. "Either we polished up what we had, or just throw it in the bin, and that's it. We chose to keep everyone on for another two months, and use the money we had to make the game as complete as possible." At this point, Interwave got back in touch with Nuclear Dawn publisher Iceberg Interactive, in a last-ditch effort to secure a release for the game -- and although the studio was forced to let go of its staff, they managed to go ahead with a launch. The idea was that if sales picked up, Interwave would be able to hire its team back, and carry on as normal. Unfortunately, Beenen was not prepared for the case of the missing game ending. dark matter1.jpgHe admits that neither Iceberg nor management knew that the ending to the game was missing -- they were under the impression that everything was in order when the game was released. He calls it "total bullshit" that it was released in this state, and adds, "I want this to be solved... We need to fix it." There's now a small UK development studio working on a real cinematic ending that ties up the story, and this new ending is planned for release on Friday. Beenen is keen to stress that this was not the way that anybody wanted the game's development to go. Heaps of passion was put into the game, he says, and a lack of funds meant that they were forced into a corner. He hopes that players will give the game a chance once it is re-released.

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