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Kickstarter funded Bear Simulator abandoned by its creator

"Must be doing this PC game dev thing wrong because it is way too hard to stay happy and productive"

The developer behind Bear Simulator is abandoning the project, despite completing a successful $100,000 Kickstarter campaign.

John Farjay, the owner of Farjay Games, raised $100,571 from 3,871 backers in March 2014, but this isn't another example of a developer failing to honour its Kickstarter commitments. Farjay has shipped the game to his backers, and he has pledged to add the last of its promised features - an "island" - in a final update, yet he still wants to leave it behind.

In an update on Bear Simulator's Kickstarter page, Farjay pointed to several different reasons for his decision. Chief among them is the apparent belief that his game met a frosty reception, going so far as to claim it has, "a stigma against its name." A subsequent Kotaku article referenced a video made by Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, in which the enormously popular YouTuber capped his Bear Simulator play session by attempting to get a refund, and then giving Farjay Games the finger. That video received 2.5 million views.

"Was really hoping the Steam release would go well but why would it, should have just gave the game to backers and not bother with Steam"

Farjay didn't offer any specific information regarding this "stigma," but there are other aspects to his decision. In the last update, he said he was "not skilled enough" to improve the game from its current state, and that he didn't want to "deal with the drama" of continuing its development.

"Can't ignore it because that causes more drama and can't do anything about it because that causes more drama," he said. "It was really fun making the game, trailers, updates, websites, tutorials, blog posts and stuff, hopefully you all liked those things."

Farjay's concerns seem to be rooted in everything that happened when his game stopped being a project in development and started being a consumer product - open to feedback and criticism and the lessons of objective data. Bear Simulator was released on Steam on February 26, and while it has 79 per cent positive user reviews, Farjay suggested that his hopes for the launch hadn't been realised. According to SteamSpy, Bear Simulator has amassed 2,372 owners in the time since its launch.

Farjay closed his update by thanking his backers, for both their support and the communication with them throughout Bear Simulator's development. His parting shot, however, was more sobering.

"Must be doing this PC game dev thing wrong because it is way too hard to stay happy and productive."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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