Despite being a fan of the strange and macabre, zombie stories have never really appealed to me. Perhaps it’s because most games feature just you, and maybe a few friends, taking on hordes of these undead without any real substance beyond getting gooey rotting bits all over the place. With the rare exception I tend to shy away from these type of games, which is probably the main reason why The Dead Linger has escaped my notice. Until now at least. And, unfortunately there’s a lot of not so good news to report on this front.
Okay, so let’s get the giant putrid elephant out of the way first. Despite raising roughly $155k on Kickstarter in 2012, and being released on Steam Early Access in 2013, The Dead Linger has officially been shelved indefinitely. After three years of development and apparently very little to show for itself they’ve put the game on the back burner. They may, or may not, be returning to it sometime down the road but for now all that they have to show is what’s currently on Steam Early Access. As such, they’ve discounted the price considerably to around five bucks. If you’re interested in an unfinished alpha build you can get it on the cheap.
The update released on the site a few days ago goes on to say why they’ve made this decision. I’ve seen a good number of games either go MIA or just decide to close shop after some controversy or another so this news doesn’t shock me. It’s the story behind it all that I find somberly interesting. One reason for doing this was that the sales weren’t good enough to keep the team afloat. In fact, developer Geoff Keene came clean and stated that they were hemorrhaging money and that it didn’t make any sense to continue to go deeper in the red, especially with such lackluster numbers. I haven’t been following the development so I can’t comment on how well or poorly it’s been doing.
The other major contributing factor towards the decision to cancel ongoing development for The Dead Linger is in regards to some claims that Geoff just took the money and ran to some secluded island. I honestly can’t comment on any of these allegations as I’ve not been privy to any of the inner workings at Sandswept Studios. As I said, I didn’t even know the game existed until now. This is pretty much a case of one person’s word against others and I hate to speculate about something as sensitive as this. At either rate, this has negatively impacted the game and those still working on it.
Based on the news release the most likely reason for these claims is that they had to really penny pinch their way throughout the development of The Dead Linger. Some people weren’t even being paid at all, which is a much more common occurrence with indie games than you’d think. Which would definitely leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth that was expecting some sort of compensation for their time and effort.
In short, The Dead Linger is lingering dead with pretty much only an early release build to show for it. That said, at least Geoff came clean with everything as far as I know. Which while certainly not good news to fans and backers of the game at least we know why.