News in the key of D minor: Auditorium Duet cancelled

Auditorium Duet [official site], the Kickstarted sequel to pleasing musical puzzler Auditorium, is cancelled. Developers Cipher Prime say that, despite their best efforts and putting earnings from other projects into it, they simply didn’t have enough money to finish Auditorium Duet. That’s a shame. I quite liked the first game, enjoying bending and reflecting rays of light towards musical blocks by placing direction-altering nodes. It was pretty, sometimes pretty taxing, and pleasing to the ear. But not enough for me to help fund the Kickstarter myself so, y’know, who am I to mope? So it goes.

Cipher Prime announced the cancellation on Twitter then explained more in a Kickster backers-only post, whose text a reader has handily shared with us (ta!). They explain that their 2012 Kickstarter wasn’t seeking a sum large enough to fully fund development–because that wasn’t really done at the time–so they supported it by also working on other, smaller games as well as client work.

“It’s hard to not think the games would have been better if our entire team was on them, and that Duet would be finished if we were just able to focus on it properly. It would have been ideal to be able to focus solely on Duet (or any of our other projects), but keeping a small studio solvent is no easy task.”

They continue:

“We invested all our earnings from our previous games into Duet, hoping we could cross the finish line, and we finally realized that we couldn’t get there. As a last ditch effort, we spent the last year talking to publishers and investors, some of which seemed promising, but all of which eventually fell through.

“Sometimes, no matter how hard you push, trying doesn’t get you across the finish line. The Cipher Prime motto has always been, ‘What would you do if you couldn’t fail?’. We would try; we would try as hard as we could. We did and we’re so damned thankful. It was because of you that we were even able to attempt all of this.”

Remember: backing a Kickstarter is not the same as pre-ordering a game. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it either.

Cipher Prime have given backers access to several work-in-progress builds of Auditorium Duet, along with related prototypes and music and things, so they aren’t left with nothing. Those of us on the outside, well, I suppose we’ll never get to play it. Oh well!


  1. Yachmenev says:

    Kickstarters can fail and are a risk. That they shared what had been done is the right thing to do, and more failed kickstarters should do this.

    The only thing one can ask more of them on top of this is that they shouldn’t have stayed quiet for so long time. It’s of course easy to say when you aren’t the one shouldering the responsibility of the project and the company, but it was the one thing lacking.

    • Merus says:

      I’ve always felt that Kickstarters that promise the finished game should also promise the last working build and all assets created if the game is never finished. I think making it explicit would give pause to people who use it as a pre-order.

      • Shuck says:

        It’s a nice idea but not practical as often there’s licensed middleware, music, and other assets that can’t be distributed outside the game. Also, Kickstarter never raises enough money to fully develop a game – it’s usually a quarter at best – so it’s not like backers even paid for those assets anyways; an asset giveaway would be purely a gift.

    • Oasx says:

      The lack of communication is a recurring problem among kickstarter creators. Sometimes you look at a failed kickstarter campaign and see that the creators have only made 6 posts or so, if you don’t care enough about your project to talk about it, why should anyone give you money?

      The most frustrating thing is that making updates is the easiest thing in the world, and it is really important. Yet so many people seem to not understand that.

  2. Oasx says:

    I like Cipher Prime, but i have always found their games okay but nothing especially great, but they almost always have great music, though i am not sure if they make that in-house.

    • Jalan says:

      Dain Saint, the co-founder of Cipher Prime, composed the music for their games.