You'd be forgiven for not knowing that a sequel to Xaviant Games' initially successful battle royale, The Culling, launched last week 24 hours after a stealth announcement. Now, you may never see it at all, as Xaviant is pulling the game from storefronts and returning to work on its predecessor.
The original The Culling was released in early access in 2016, but fully launched in October of last year. Unfortunately, support for it ended in December, while Xaviant went on to work on its sequel. The Culling 2 received no lead-up to its launch on July 10 save for a trailer the day before it appeared on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Its abrupt release and lack of marketing (likely coupled with general saturation of battle royale titles and other gameplay factors) had an unfortunate result: after 48 hours, the game's player count was so low that people were struggling to find matches at all.
Two days later, an official tweet from Xaviant indicated that the studio was in trouble. "It's time for us here at Xaviant to come together for some much needed soul searching and to have some admittedly difficult discussions about the future of our studio," it read. "We'll talk soon."
In a video blog today, Xaviant director of operations Josh Van Veid addressed The Culling 2's launch difficulties as well as the future of the games and studio. Van Veid acknowledged the launch was "not successful," reflecting that it wasn't a game its audience had been looking for in the first place. As a result, Xaviant is currently contacting Sony, Microsoft, and Valve to get the game removed from storefronts entirely.
Rather than rework The Culling 2 for a re-release, though, Van Veid goes on to reflect on the decision-making process that led to its creation. He notes that the studio wasn't happy with either the game or its relationship with the community on launch, but "turned it off" instead of working on the game further after its October full launch. Xaviant, Van Veid says, has learned its lessons, and will be revisiting The Culling to rework the game.
But the team won't be working on The Culling in its October 2017 form. Instead, Xaviant is turning back the clock entirely and starting from the March of 2016 build of the game from when it first launched in early access. The Culling will be available in two forms: the original, March of 2016 build downloadable in perpetuity throughout the game's continued development, as well as the free-to-play version the studio will start working on again.