In an interview with Gamesutra about the signing of DeathSpank to EA Partners (alongside fantastic looking indie bludgeon-em-up Shank), Hothead Games Ian Wilkinson let slip his disappointment in the sales of their recent offering, the episodic ‘On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness’ series, developed alongside Penny Arcade.
The company has had experience publishing the Penny Arcade series. We looked at [self-publishing] very seriously.
We know we’re very good at making games. The Penny Arcade series didn’t sell as well as we would have liked. Critically, it was well-received, but commercially, from our perspective, [it wasn’t]. Most companies would be happy with the performance, but we are not.
With Penny Arcade, yes, a lot of people knew about it, but we just couldn’t transition those people into buyers.”
Sad words indeed for what has been seen as a shining beacon of cross-platform indie development, having not only released two episodes in the series but also been a driving force (alongside PA) behind the Greenhouse, an indie-focused distribution site that, whilst never setting the world on fire, has ticked over nicely, managing to avoid the DRM-trap that its rivals who have tried to capture big publisher interest have fallen into.
Whilst the Penny Arcade Adventures series was well received, unique and fundamentally very well made, it has followed Valve and numerous other episodic producers lead in failing to produce quality work within a acceptable time frame. Nobody is expecting work to be released month-on-month, but at least Valve have done other work, including Left 4 Dead, Portal & Team Fortress 2.
There’s been no word of Episode 3 of PA:A – infact, Hothead have been very quiet on the subject, having been hard at work on DeathSpank, itself seemingly in development hell until 6 months ago.
Rumour says we will hear something at the next PAX, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Source – Gamasutra