The sequel to Tiger Style's 2009 mobile hit Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor is expected to do a third of the business of its predecessor, a result that its developer described as, "disappointing and even alarming."
The sequel, Rite of the Shrouded Moon, was launched in August, six years after its predecessor became one of the most critically admired mobile games. According to an article on Pocket Gamer, Tiger Style poured more resources into the project than on either Bryce Manor or 2012's Waking Mars, both of which were premium-priced and commercially successful.
Rite of the Shrouded Moon was also sold at a premium price, a knowing attempt to find success through a combination of sky-high standards and cutting against the grain. The game's glowing reviews prove that Tiger Style executed on that aspect of its strategy, but, according to creative director Randy Smith, the company misjudged just how intractable the mobile market had become in the three years since Waking Mars.
"Tiger Style makes very well regarded and highly rated games, and in the past that's always kept us at some baseline minimum income"
"The amount of attention and praise we've seen from players, critics, and press for Shrouded Moon is even more than our other games - both of which won Game of the Year awards, so that's saying something," Smith told Pocket Gamer. "But the sales have been very disappointing and even alarming."
Tiger Style expects to see a third of the money generated by Bryce Manor for, "five times the man-hours," a result that co-founder David Kalina described as, "pretty obviously bad for our company's immediate future and...well under even our most conservative projections."
The company will probably be accused of naivety for making such a big bet on a premium game in the current mobile market, but Smith isn't ignorant of the way the business has shifted. Indeed, Tiger Style would be justified in believing it had the talent and the track record to emulate the kind of success found by premium mobile games like The Room and Monument Valley.
"Tiger Style makes very well regarded and highly rated games, plus we have strong partner support, and in the past that's always kept us at some baseline minimum income," Smith said. "But that no longer seems to be the case."
"We're just at the start of a wave of painful consolidation and reorganization in the market which is likely to eliminate certain types of games from plausibility."
Apparently, that includes the kind of games that Tiger Style has made up to this point, with Kalina effectively ruling out making another mobile game of the same scope again.