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Stray Souls developer shuts down following publisher’s closure, cyberbullying and poor sales

Stray Souls developer Jukai Studio is shutting down. The decision to close was in light of its publisher Versus Evil also shutting down, but the studio additionally cited cyberbullying, Stray Souls’ poor reception and bad sales as contributing factors.

The studio announced it was closing in December, the same day Versus Evil closed, via a social media post (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz). “We are aware you had high expectations for Stray Souls, but we never informed you that only two core individuals, along with contracted personnel, were working on the game,” it said.

“We did everything in our power to bring the project to completion in the best possible form, but throughout the entire duration we, our publisher staff, other publisher dev teams and our close ones were constantly attacked by a cyber persecutor, and some of you, as our community, were also tormented with unwanted messages and emails.”

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The studio continued: “We understand that you did not wish to continue actively supporting us for the obvious reasons mentioned above. The matter is now in the hands of our lawyers, so we cannot speak about it any further, but know that we will not abandon [Stray Souls] despite the studio’s closure.”

Jukai Studio went on to thank its community for its support, despite the “adversities” faced. It also noted that none of its staff had been laid off as it “never functioned as a large corporation”. Rather, the team members “decided that each of us will go their separate ways.”

The Stray Souls team now hopes 2024 will be a better year for many across the gaming industry, with 2023 seeing multiple other studio closures and layoffs across the board.

Our Bertie covered the impact last year had on the industry in his feature, You can’t talk about 2023 in games without talking about layoffs.

“I can’t balance this equation – I’ve been trying all year and it gives me a headache,” he wrote in December. “We should be talking about 2023 as one of the years that will go down in history for games, like 2007 did. We’ve had Baldur’s Gate 3, Zelda 2, Cocoon, Alan Wake 2, Banished Vault, and – genuinely – so many more. We’ve been giddy all year at Eurogamer at the relentless quality on show.

“We ought to be celebrating now during this end of year period, and we will celebrate. We can’t do that alone, because there’s another story we cannot ignore: layoffs.”

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