Woolfe dev calls it quits, can’t deliver Kickstarter rewards

By Brenna Hillier, Tuesday, 11 August 2015 06:42 GMT

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries has not been the triumphant indie success story its creators had hoped for.

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Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries developer Grin has called it quits, shutting up shop and revealing it is incapable of delivering on promised Kickstarter backer rewards.

Kickstarted in 2014 to the tune of $72,000, and further funded by a Steam Early Access release in January, Woolfe has not sold well enough to keep its developer solvent.

“The team is now dismantled and we have requested bankruptcy unable to pay outstanding bills,” founder Wim Wouters said in a blog post.

Wouters said negative response has scared off possible publisher support, and Grin will not be able to develop the promised second volume. It is offering the project’s source code, all assets created to date and the Woolfe IP for sale in the hopes that someone else will continue its dream.

Grin cannot even afford to post those crowdfunding rewards it has already produced such as stickers and posters; to manufacture the artbook and and DVD case; or to distribute the soundtrack.

“We have literally no money whatsoever to pay for stamps, let alone print the artbooks and DVD cases,” Wouters said.

As for what wrong, Wouters didn’t spin a sob story: Woolfe didn’t sell because it wasn’t good enough.

“At first we could not believe that our baby was not more successful, in our emotions we started looking for explanations not related to the game,” he said.

“Maybe gamers are just spoilt brats, bashing on everything, maybe there is an oversaturation of indie market, maybe all the free-to-play games by big studios are giving players a false sense of value. How could less than $10 be to expensive for a beautiful game like Woolfe? How could this be our fault?

“Of course none of the emotional excuses above are the reason of our mixed Steam rating. We can only blame ourselves.”

The full post is a really interesting – and painful – read, as it paints a picture of a studio which bit off far more than it could chew, and a team that is heartbroken over an ignoble end to its aspirations. There’s also discussion of some of the primary criticisms aimed at Woolfe and how they relate to design and development difficulties, although Wouters humbly accepts their legitimacy.

Grin Studios was a Belgium team established in 2002, and should not be confused with the similarly named Swedish team responsible for Bionic Commando, which shuttered in 2009.

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