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Spicy Horse downsizes, Akaneiro put studio $1.7 million in debt


American McGee's Spicy Horse has downsized its Shanghai studio and is focusing its remaining staff on The Gate, a card-collecting, real-time strategy game – in the meantime, the team developing Akaneiro: Demon Hunters has been reduced from 15 people to two. Akaneiro raised $204,680 on Kickstarter in February 2013 and it's out as an Early Access game on Steam.

"In total, around 360 man-months have gone towards development, bringing our investment in dollars to nearly $2 million USD," McGee writes in a Kickstarter update. "In that same period, we've generated roughly $300,000 USD in revenue – this includes funds collected via the Kickstarter campaign, F2P purchases in-game, and one-time purchases via Steam. In simple math: We've spent $2 million, we've made $300,000, we're 'in the hole' $1.7 million."

McGee says the two people assigned to Akaneiro will continue addressing bugs and working toward multiplayer and tablet support, but development will be slower. If The Gate provides the cash flow Spicy Horse needs, it will return attention to Akaneiro, he says:

"Life as an independent developer is filled with the constant threat of failure. This isn't the first time in our eight-year history we've faced this sort of challenge. It's not the first time we've had to reduce staff on one of our games. It is different because of the demand for transparency that comes with being a part of Kickstarter. In providing transparency like this, I am asking for your understanding and I am hoping for your support."

In 2013, Spicy Horse canceled its attempt to Kickstart OZombie, a twisted take on The Wizard of Oz universe, but it successfully Kickstarted Alice: Otherlands, a project that aims to make animated films of the Alice games, to the tune of $222,377.

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