The developer behind the recent short horror game Summer of ’58 is ending development on the game, which he attributes to the “large number” of refunds given by Steam.
As the PC-only horror game is less than two hours long, any Steam user could receive a refund even if they completed it.
Summer of ’58 is the latest first-person horror title from independent developer Emika Games, which was released in July and features a video blogger investigating an abandoned and supposedly haunted Russian children’s camp – which, of course, goes very wrong.
Per 5.69€ on Steam it’s a cheap purchase, even at full price, and is currently 23% off. The game’s Steam page makes it very clear that the summer of ’58 has an average playing time of around 90 minutes.
However, according to Emika Games, the summer of ’58 received “a great number of returns” – despite being rated “very positive”. The developer blames the fact that their game “doesn’t reach two hours of play” – according to Steam’s return policy, any game with less than two hours can be refunded.
No funds, no development
Whatever people’s reason for refunding the game, single-developer studio Emika Games says “no [ganhou] nothing to create a new game”, so it’s “leaving game development indefinitely”.
Friends! Thank you for your support! I’m leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/q93NxWjyUI
— EMIKA_GAMES (@EmikaGames) August 26, 2021
As she doesn’t have enough funds, Emika’s next game, From Day To Day, has been put on hold for “the near future”.
It’s certainly sad and worrisome news, and it’s a disturbing loophole in Steam’s refund policy, meaning that creating a game less than two hours long runs the risk of players returning it, even if they’ve completed it.
Even if that’s not the case here, it’s disturbing that a promising indie developer feels he has to get out of the gaming industry because he made a short game.