In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor Pulled From Sale

Arcen Games are primarily known for making interesting (and ugly) strategy games, but last Wednesday, August 24th, the small team released 3D dino-vs.-robots action game In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor into early access. Then on Saturday, August 27th, they announced they were unreleasing it. Now as of today the game is no longer on sale and refunds are available for those who already purchased it through Steam.

A new announcement from earlier this morning explained more details of what’s happening. The game is going to continue to be available through Steam but completely free, though it looks as if there’s currently no way to download or install the game. Arcen had originally planned to refund everyone who had bought it during its few days on sale, but now you’ll need to go through the normal Steam refund process. Refunds are however available to anyone, regardless of how long you’ve played it for.

Arcen founder Chris Park explained in the initial announcement that the game was being pulled essentially due to a lack of sales: “The game is selling extremely poorly, even below what happened with Starward Rogue.” The rest of the post then goes on to posit possible reasons for that, from people dismissing it as a Goat Simulator-style joke game, to Arcen’s audience only wanting strategy games from them, to Steam now being overcrowded “with something approaching the App Store effect that we’ve seen on Apple devices.”

The company still like the idea of the game and hope to one day make a sequel which would include the features once intended for this game, but there are currently no plans to pursue that. Instead Park says that Arcen will turn their attention to something they’re more certain their fans want, a sequel to the large-scale space strategy game that first made their name, AI War. AI War 2: Rise from Ashes, as its currently called, will be a Kickstarter project, to raise funds and better gauge interest before committing months of work to the project.

This isn’t the first time that Arcen have run into bother with the development of their games due to low sales. Back in January the company laid off much of their staff due to low sales of bullet hell roguelite Starward Rogue and the long development of still-unreleased scifi 4X Stars Beyond Reach and as far back as 2010 the company was on the verge of bankruptcy after low sales of a previous game, Tidalis.

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  1. Asokn says:

    I appreciate that I may be missing something but why pull a game from sale if it’s good enough to sell? I can understand why a company would pull a bad game but having released this it seems the two outcomes would be “recoup some of the costs through sales” or “recoup none of the costs”.

    • gschmidl says:

      Possibly to do with negative reviews reflecting badly on the company itself?

    • TΛPETRVE says:

      Simple, because chances are higher people actually play it when it’s free.

    • CMaster says:

      Chris Park goes in to some detail but basically the idea is – this was Early Access. Buyers were buying it with the understanding that a whole bunch of extra features and content would be added (Arcen had specifically described some of the extra stuff they would be doing). However, the sales and reception so far suggested that actually doing this work would lose money. So the options were:

      – Continue working on the game and lose money
      – Leave the game as it was, on sale and in the hands of EA buyers, but stop work. This would be in breach of what was explicitly said in marketing
      – Cut loses, refund players who thought they were getting more than just an alpha. Let people keep the alpha if they really want.

      • jezcentral says:

        So, (very basically) another case of Spacebase DF-9?

      • malkav11 says:

        Nobody should ever, ever be buying a game in Early Access under the understanding that it will be something other than what it is at the moment they are buying it. It’s fine to say, “Hey, here are some things we would like to add to this game as it continues to develop.” It’s even fine to say, “This is the point at which we will consider the game ready to release.” But anyone who is looking to purchase one of those projected versions of the game needs to wait and get that version of the game if it ever actually manifests. Because there simply is not a guarantee that will happen until it does.

        Same thing with Kickstarter. If you can afford to straight up lose every cent that you are putting towards a project without the least bit of return, then go ahead and make that pledge. If you want guarantees, wait until it’s done. Because that’s the only way you’re getting any.

        That’s not to say that the creators of the EA title or Kickstarter project have no accountability or obligation in the matter. They absolutely should attempt to deliver. And I think Arcen is doing about the best possible thing from a customer goodwill position given the decision that this particular project is not a viable investment of their resources. But these are very much caveat emptor situations and it pains me that people go into them without that mindset.

  2. Monggerel says:

    See You, Space Raptor

  3. SBLux says:

    I bought this the day before yesterday because I wanted to support the company. It’s a shame it will not see the light of day because it looked like it would become quite good fun. The silly thing is it has received quite a bit of coverage since being pulled from sale, maybe enough to sell a few copies and get it going!

    • CMaster says:

      Note – if you’d bought it, and then it was mass-refunded, you’d actually have cost the devs money, as they have to eat the transaction fees. As it is however, all good.

  4. ZIGS says:

    It was a “physics simulator” game cobbled together in Unity with pre-made assets. Can’t say I’m surprised

  5. DailyFrankPeter says:

    I have no time left to check out “tier 2” and lower games any more – games that can’t explain convincingly why they may be most innovative or best experience of a kind, or demonstrate any other ambition behind them.
    In this sense this game seems designed to stay completely under the radar.

  6. GWOP says:

    “with something approaching the App Store effect that we’ve seen on Apple devices.”

    Yeah, competition for visibility on Steam has become a lot worse since Greenlight… but it will be a while before it gets smartphone level bad. The number of apps added to the App Store and Play Store daily (over a thousand for each) is roughly equivalent to the number of games added to Steam annually. And your average smartphone audience is unlikely to be willing to pay for your software upfront (around 70% of the apps on either app stores are free) or keep up with the gaming press or YouTube channels to keep track of new releases (so you better get lucky and be featured on the store frontpage).

    Things are still much easier on Steam.

    • Jay Load says:

      You reckon? I think you’re forgetting price differences between smartphone apps and Steam games, which generally range from higher to much-higher. At higher prices the saturation effect might happen with far lower volumes of items on sale. Personally, my mind boggles a little at the sheer amount of games on Steam even before you get to Greenlight. I think the theory bears more discussion.

    • Hidoshi says:

      I do already kind of have the Apple effect on Steam though. I used to buy a lot of games on Steam, but now I can’t see the forest through the trees. I like the Steam sales not because of the prices, but because it usually highlights the ‘better’ games (games that fit me better).

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        The curator program, user reviews, and recommendation queues were all supposed to alleviate this. To some extent they do, but the signal to noise ratio is still unbelievably high.

        • brucethemoose says:

          That’s what RPS is for!

          Just kidding… Though the RPS frontpage often does gave a nice selection of games I wouldn’t normally find.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s already at Apple app store level for me, and reached that point a while ago. I used to scan the lists for popular and upcoming games. I never do that now, because it’s so loaded with anime and indie junk titles.

  7. Eclipse says:

    this is as polite as it is uncommon. It’s sad that the game is not doing well (but honestly expected) but Arcen did the best thing for their customers. Let’s hope the AI War 2 kickstarter goes well.

  8. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    I definitely wasn’t interested in this. Hoping Stars Beyond Reach is still coming out.

    Not currently interested in AI Wars 2, because I haven’t played enough of 1 yet.

  9. TheAngriestHobo says:

    These guys traditionally have a problem with presentation, and this game is no exception. I have yet to see a screenshot from the game that is something other than a stock dinosaur model in a stock cyber-hallway. If they’d budget for a decent art director (and artists) they’d probably have much better luck.

  10. Sin Vega says:

    It’s a shame for several reasons, least of which is that it’s their first game with a good name.

    (no, I will never let go of this bone)

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      That doesn’t strike me as fair. The names they choose for their games are a little on the unimaginative side, perhaps, but they’re by no means bad. Bionic Dues I particularly like, and The Last Federation even manages to be slightly witty.

      Anyway, that aside, I’ll echo what nearly everyone else already said. This is a shame and I wish them better luck in the future. I’ve usually enjoyed their games and I probably would’ve bought this one if it had been available long enough for me to do so. A world without Arcen is a sad thought, to be honest.

      • epeternally says:

        I feel the same. Arcen’s games don’t particularly appeal to me, but they’re still creating novel art; and the gaming scene is a richer place for them being there. When word broke about Raptor being removed from Steam, I scooped it up expecting it to be refunded. Since it hasn’t been, I’m happily letting Arcen keep the five dollars. The game may be nothing I’ll ever play but I want them to continue to exist, and with two titles in a row selling poorly that seems like something which is at risk.

  11. C0llic says:

    I really like Arcen as a company and I loved AI War, but they still need to take a long hard look at themselves. Chris Park is a talented game designer, but he has no Aesthetic sensibility whatsoever. It’s an issue that continues to drag down all of Arcen’s games.

    They are desperately in need of someone who can take the reigns on that, to the point where I’d suggest Chris Park has little to no input on how his games look at all.

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      Harlander says:

      The Last Federation looked all right – nothing special, but good enough to look at.

      That’s balanced out by A Valley Without Wind. Watching that in motion made my skin crawl.

      • Premium User Badge

        bonuswavepilot says:

        Agreed on Vw/oW – I rarely have a strong negative reaction to a game’s aesthetics, but something about that one just… ugh. Still, they do make some genuinely interesting stuff, so I hope this current hoo-hah doesn’t do too much damage.

  12. syndrome says:

    In my humble opinion, this developer sounds like he’s living in a country where it is relatively easy to be a game developer (USA?). Unfortunately for him, his first game was a market exception, and not a rule, therefore he hasn’t developed proper business sense, because from his perspective he did everything he usually does, but somehow things magically happened when he did AI Wars.

    I sort of pity him for turning this important marketing lesson into a feeling of “What I did wrong? Why u no like me anymore” as if his players were his parents.

    Raptor is a bullshit game, made on a whim by an author who’s so pampered he does everything on a whim (and feels entitled to) — most people find it utterly irrelevant for their lives (on the first glance, at least), hence the non-existent purchases, including kids who are much more likely to bash each other with their mother’s dildo, or ADHD-rob a virtual bank while screaming incessantly.

    It’s as easy as reading this
    link to

    Quote from the developer:
    “We’ve made the mistake of misjudging the market in the past […], and we want to make sure that the experience that we’re delivering is something that makes sense to people”


    • Dare_Wreck says:

      WOW, I wish I knew what the British equivalent of “armchair quarterback” is (look it up on Urban Dictionary if you’re not familiar with the term), because that’s exactly what you are.

      Chris Park of Arcen has done plenty of introspection and self-evaluation after the failure of his last handful of games. His full explanation of why they were pulling the game (which you probably didn’t bother to read) linked above at the Arcen Steam forums and also here link to explains as such.

      By no means does Chris have a sense of being “pampered.” I have no idea where you got that idea from. He released this game into Early Access to get a sense of how it would be received before putting more resources into it. Turns out, based on the reception, it would have cost them more than it would have made to keep developing it, so he had to do this to prevent his company, which is already struggling, from going under. This is by no means “doing things on a whim.”

      • savagegump says:

        I believe correct term is Ultracrepidarian. Although it’s not widely known/used I think it deserves promotion. An equivalent British phrase might be “Armchair Pundit”.

    • qrter says:

      Ha ha, this syndrome person is full of shit.

  13. Jay Load says:

    As sad tale, but I wonder also if their release timing was off. I pity any game coming out after No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex:MD have rampaged through the collective gamer wallet.

  14. Hobbes says:

    Goddamnit, and I was hoping to buy this regardless to show support for Arcen. I wonder if I can email the dev and offer moneys somehow for a copy.

    • DrazharLn says:

      From the Arcen blog:

      Should You Request A Refund?

      If you want one, then absolutely: yes! I don’t want to take your money if you don’t want to give it to us. If you like the game and want us to keep the $4.50 or so you spent on it, then we’re obviously grateful. But please in no way feel guilted into it or anything like that.

      If you get the F2P version of the game and want to throw some change our way, we do have a tip jar, but we’d be just as happy to see you try out one of our other titles.

  15. Scrofa says:

    By the way, Starward Rogue is amazing and you should play it if you’re interested in Binding of Isaac-esque games. It hurts me to hear that it’s selling poorly.

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