No Survivors: Jasper Byrne’s New Game Canned

By Nathan Grayson on November 13th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

The one on the far left will forever be stuck in a state of mid-roll, unable to attain the closure it so desperately seeks.

Oh, hm. Well boo. If you’ll remember, Lone Survivor maestro Jasper Byrne recently announced that he was leaving behind the cobweb-coated confines of survival-horror to enter a realm one part Dark Souls and one part Zelda. I quite enjoy both of those things, and Lone Survivor pushed all of my most precious of buttons in highly sensual ways. I was, then, quite excited about Byrne’s latest and (potentially) greatest. But now, I am markedly less excited, because it’s somewhat tough to get my hopes up for something that no longer exists.

Over on his Internet word journaltron, Byrne explained why New Game + won’t be seeing the light of day – at least, for now.

“I have decided to abandon the project. It’s been a very tough decision to make, quite heartbreaking really, but it IS the right thing to do. It was too big for a single person to make. This is the root of the problem. It wasn’t that I fell out of love with the idea, just that I can’t physically do it.”

“I reached a point where it was getting very frustrating: the game demanded a lot of animation, very detailed level design, and a huge amount of gameplay code, all of which were taking so long that it felt excruciating. I’d like to say sorry to any fans who were looking forward to it – it’s still a game I’d love to play, and should I ever have a team to work with in future, it’s definitely an idea I’d like to come back to.”

So it’s a fairly heartbreaking turn of events, but clearly, Byrne had good reasons. I do hope he gets the chance to revisit it someday, though. I had the privilege of learning a bit more a while back, and this one really did seem to have some strikingly fascinating ideas underpinning it. As he said in the blog entry, all most certainly is not as it seems.

Time will tell, though. In the meantime, I still haven’t gotten Lone Survivor’s red ending. I should go do that!

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34 Comments »

  1. Beanchilla says:

    I hope he adds more endings to Lone Survivor or starts another project soon.
    I am happy that he got Lone Survivor ported to the PS3 and Vita. Hopefully those turn out amazing so we can see more original work from this guy.

    Lone Survivor was amazing and I think his music background allows him to bring something interesting to the table. I love the art style of this cancelled game as well so it is certainly a shame.
    All I can say is MORE JASPER! MORE!

  2. Anguy says:

    Lone Survivor was incredible, I haven’t been as freaked out and unsettled by a game in years (Silent Hill 2 and 3 might have done that to me the last time).
    I was really looking forward to the New Game+ even though it would have been nothing like Lone Survivor

  3. unangbangkay says:

    Not that you lot care, but on the off chance that some naive soul who does wander in here, it’s worth knowing that Lone Survivor will be ported to the consoleboxes, the PlayeringStationator-branded ones, specifically. Yay!

  4. Memphis-Ahn says:

    More like Jasper… Burned?
    I was kinda looking forward to this one too.

  5. Miltrivd says:

    I’m actually quite happy with this. Is nice to see developers knowing when to stop, take a break, or change directions instead of going into long development cycles and then have to “give up” or deliver something they are not really happy with.

    I wish him the best for this next project, and I’m quite sure we’ll know about this again sooner than we think but later than we hope, but nonetheless I bet it will be awesome.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yes, quite! And also, though it may never see the light of day, it’s somehow nice to know that the game was too ambitious.

  6. Didero says:

    Kickstarter

    • spindaden says:

      My thoughts exactly

    • Kaira- says:

      Open source it.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      This is a problem that money alone won’t solve, you know.

      • fish99 says:

        You mean to say the problem of needing lots of animation, lots of levels designing and lots of coding can’t be solved by hiring an animator, a level designer and an additional coder?

        • ChrisGWaine says:

          Building a decent development team certainly takes more than money.

        • vonkrieger says:

          It would be a completely different game if you added even a single other person to the team.

          • fish99 says:

            It can be better, it can be worse, all depends on who you hire. Or are you suggesting no good game is ever made with more than one person?

          • vonkrieger says:

            I just get the impression that he has a very clear vision for the game. Adding another person would lead to compromise on that vision which he’s decided is unacceptable.

          • Guvornator says:

            “I just get the impression that he has a very clear vision for the game. Adding another person would lead to compromise on that vision which he’s decided is unacceptable.”

            Honestly, and I’m not trying to be rude, but that seems to make no sense. That’s like saying every book of The Shining is compromised because Stephen King didn’t print it it. If he makes it clear he’s looking for someone to work FOR him rather than WITH him, how does that compromise his vision?

          • vonkrieger says:

            Take it from somebody that works in software. Make a spec as detailed as you like but that’s NOT how it’s going to get done if that spec lands on somebody else’s desk.

            Human beings leave marks on the work they do, good and bad.

            Also, I think you would have a better analogy if you said that somebody wrote the book with king. And yes, of course that would lead to compromises even if King had the final say on every decision.

          • ScubaMonster says:

            vonkrieger – I’m pretty sure your situation wouldn’t apply here. We’re talking about an indie game developer. He has say over everything and how he wants it done. If someone isn’t willing to do that (which seems ridiculous) he can give them the boot and find someone who will do it the way he wants. You can’t compare this to regular software development.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    First of all, it takes guts to do what he did, and I assume he is admitting with that that he feels himself not ready to lead a team by himself.

    Secondly, Jasper also made the Hotline Miami “theme” song. Go and buy it.

  8. MichaelPalin says:

    So, if the problem is that he needs more people, why not hire more people? I assume he has the money after Lone Survivor, wouldn’t he?

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      it’s probably more expensive than we realise to hire an entire team of people to work on such a project for a substatial amount of time, and would fairly drain the funds available that lone survivor generated. i wonder if it would have been feasible to release all the completed assets/design outlines to the world tho, and see if the mod/design/bedroom programmer peoples would be able to finish it or turn into into a game of some sort tho?

      • MichaelPalin says:

        I don’t think it’s the kind of project you want to put in the open before it’s complete. It probably has some sort of twist that would be ruined that way.

        You may be right, but I wonder if hiring a couple of graphic artists or something would be that expensive. Lone survivor was supposed to be a success and now with the ports I would assume hiring a very small team for one or two years should be doable. But, who knows?

  9. vonkrieger says:

    This guys a true professional, takes guts to accept that he is only one man.

    Loved Lone Survivor even as it creeped the bejazus out of me, would like to see more of the same.

    Mmm, blue pills. You can taste the despair.

  10. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    He should get his ass on kickstarter and hire a small team.
    He has the rep after Lone Survivor.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    You do know that the red ending is almost the same as the blue ending, yes?

    I have to confess – I got the green ending, and just watched the others on Youtube. It’s an amazing game, but I never liked playing a game several times in a row, just to get a different ending.

    • vonkrieger says:

      *Spoilery*

      The blue pills represented aggression didn’t it? I suppose I just felt that it was the most depressing ending as it presented a guy lashing out at the world around him and I was very violent in my play-through so I felt responsible. Imagining that I had been murdering people the whole time as I descended into madness was harrowing. Plus the guy you meet when you down the blue pill creeped me out most by far.

      Was a little disappointed in the lack of variations in endings but the poignancy of the pill theme ran through the whole game and amounted to more than what we got to see, I felt.

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        I was very suspicious of the pills in my first playthrough, so I tried to avoid them. In the end, I managed to play thorugh the whole game without taking even one (yes, this means that I missed all the dream sequences with the man in blue and the man wearing a box). However, I then started a new game and just took pill after pill, to see what happens.

        I agree, the blue pills represent aggression, but I think there is more to them. I think the two people the protagonist meets in his dreams each represent aspects of his personality, and the man in blue stands not only for agression, but also for self-loathing and despair.

  12. gekitsu says:

    aww, bummer. but these are good reasons – make compromises because you have to do it all alone, or make compromises because you are working with someone else. kudos to him for seeing them as what they are.

    still, bummer. :(

  13. neolith says:

    Awww… :(

  14. Phantoon says:

    I hated Lone Survivor.

    There, I said it. But I really did.

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    He needs a reliable Art Partner to handle the art load while he focuses on the programming. Like with Braid and such.

  16. LeeTheAgent says:

    Aw man, this sucks. I REALLY loved Lone Survivor, even though I never could wrap my head around the map of the basement and haven’t gotten passed that damned chase scene. As for hiring an art team or whatever, he seems to be the kind of developer who likes to work at his own pace. When spending money employing others in that situation, costs can escalate incredibly quickly.

    sadface?
    SADFACE!!!!!