Despite having a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Bear Simulator developer Farjay Studios is now calling it quits on the game, blaming “drama.”
In 2014, one-man developer Farjay Studios (John Farjay) took to Kickstarter to gain support and funding for Bear Simulator. Instead of a destructive farmyard animal (Goat Simulator) or a less than cuddly pet (Catlateral Damage), in this FPB (First-Person Bear), players would instead lead a realistic forest-dwelling life. Gameplay was set to include exploring (there would be “lots to discover” promised Farjay Studios), fishing and naturally, it would allow players to swipe their hairy paws at “anything that dare stand before your might”.
Despite Bear Simulator’s rather silly premise (it also hoped to combat the “tyranny” of the “fat cats in Washington” that “don’t want us playing as bears”) it was a huge success. But having raised just over $100,000 from almost 4,00 backers and having been officially released on Steam last month, Farjay now says that he is walking away from the game as he doesn’t want to deal with the “drama” anymore.
In addition to this drama (which Farjay says he can’t ignore or do anything about because “it causes more drama”), the developer also cites Bear Simulator‘s poor reception. 78% of the game’s 145 Steam reviews do appear to be positive, Farjay says that Bear Simulator has “a stigma against it’s [sic] name” and that “there’s plenty of other problems so making any updates or going further is basically a lost cause now”.
While Farjay’s Kickstarter update doesn’t point to it specifically, that ‘stigma’ likely comes from a video from YouTuber PewDiePie which heavily criticized the game and had been viewed by over 2 million people before being made private. PewDiePie is one of the Internet’s most influential people, which perhaps explains why Farjay has reacted this way to his opinion.
Before the game and its playerbase are left to their own devices, though, Farjay is planning one more update. This update will include player-requested bug fixes along with the addition of Kickstarter Island which is a region “similar to an amusement park allowing for the creative freedom to host plenty of nonsensical things” and will also include backer submitted content.
Although many will glad that Bear Simulator did at least make it to release and wasn’t one of thetwo-thirds of Kickstarter games that never make it that far, understandably, some backers will be disappointed. Farjay promises to “work on fixes and features until you’re all happy and content then stop” but if any bugs crop up after this, then Bear Simulator players may have to come up with an unofficial community fix as it seems unlikely that Farjay will sort that out.
Moreover, with Kickstarter campaigns now making big bucks (in 2015 they made over $46 million), those who pledge support for games or hope to do so in future may ask that some sort of reform takes place to stop this kind of thing happening in future.