Auran Looking For Fury Funding, Oz Sales Better Than Bad?

fury_box_small.jpgAuran is still alive and so is its MMO Fury, despite its parent company Auran Developments throwing in the towel late last year. Even with this setback, Auran was able to produce a hefty content update, Age of the Chosen, that it believed would rectify most of the original criticisms of the game, including its steep learning curve and dodgy performance. For good measure, it removed the subscription fee.

Shortly after the release of Age of the Chosen, Auran was able to confirm that it had even more updates in the pipeline, but surely, three months on, what developers are left have to be operating on two cornflakes and half a can of Red Bull?

Apparently not. MMORPG.COM managed to get a hold of Auran's CEO Tony Hilliam at GDC 2008, and Hilliam was able to reassure the site that the 13-year old company is committed to Fury. Yet, my eyebrows couldn't help but elevate at a few of Hilliam's comments:

Tony informed me that the game has done pretty well in Australia, and wasn’t far behind their expectations for that region.

According to previous comments by Hilliam, Australian sales surpassed that of the States, which the man himself conceded was far from a good thing. It also seems that Oz sales have been upgraded from "okay" to "[have done]pretty well".

Obviously the game isn’t going to go much farther without additional funding or a sale, and Hilliam says that Auran has a few options:

Tony said that there were several interested parties, but he couldn’t say much as nothing had been finalised at the time of the interview.

I'm surprised there's any activity at all after the sledging Hilliam gave the Oz development scene not long ago. Still, you have to give the guy credit for not giving up on his baby.

Catching Up With Fury [MMORPG.COM, via Blue's News]


Comments

    Half a can of red bull? They need to switch to V. Haven't they seen the ads? It could turn a slug into a Blizzard designer overnight.

    I do like V the best personally, but seriously, I think the problem here is that the game didn't have enough time in the testing and modification stage before going to shelves. But I'm trusting others here, my download for Fury is at 90% and I'll probably play tomorrow - and post my opinion on the next Auran\Fury story. My point however, is that they simply didn't test the game enough. That might not have been any one persons fault, they were probably on a tight budget and schedule for such an ambitious project, but it's just what I think happened. Take a look at Portal - it was a very ambitious project - it was an FPS-style game that came out amongst BioShock, Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (on the same DISK even) and still was probably the most talked about game of the year. No doubt it had huge advatages over Fury - the company that made it had much deeper pockets, it had more promotion, and was bundled with something sure to do well. BUT, here's the thing: Despite being packed in with Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and Team Fortress 2, which were 2 SEQUELS to popular games, it was talked about far more than the other games. Why? Because it had *enough* promotion and opportunity to do well, and it was BRILLIANT. The point? Just play it with the commentary on. You'll constantly hear 'during testing, we changed this', and 'our play testers said...'. I'm all for preserving artistic integrity, but I'm sure that wasn't the reason Auran produced a game widely considered inaccessible - I think they just didn't have the money and\or time. And time is money.

    Now don't get me wrong with the whole downloading Fury on the free to play model thing. I'd LOVE to support Australian game development. Just about nothing could hit closer to home for me than the failure of Fury - It's the kind of game I like: a big, ambitious MMO project, not scared to take on the big guys, and it was made right here. And I could have said that quite LITERALLY this morning, I go to Deakin University in Burwood (Today was my first day actually. Things are looking good.), which is where they have the motion capture studio they animated parts of Fury in. But it's hard to buy every game you just *want* for some reason when you're a student. I got Bioshock (they did technical work on it in Canberra), and if Fury is good enough I WILL buy the full version, because 1) It's a good game, and 2) I want to support Australian game development. But 1) is most important - I want to support GOOD 'local' development, not poor local development. That being said, as long as I see they have genuinely TRIED, I will probably buy it - I understand that it's a difficult thing to make - I'm not looking for another Bioshock or COD4 quality game here, just NOT something cheap and half assed like one of those cheap movie to game adaptations.

    The point of this super long comment that makes it relevant to this story is to give you a possible idea of why (I personally think) it did well here, but not so much overseas. It got promotion in local places and events like Deakin University, Egames Expo, and Kotaku Australia, because it was a big, ambitious local project, but not a huge amount outside the country, for one simple reason: It wasn't excellent. I'm not saying WoW's popularity wasn't a part of it, but remember, WoW is NOT the most popular MMO in the world - there IS room for other games. People play Second Life, EverQuest, RuneScape, etc., and WoW was far from the first MMO.

    I think the *main* reason this flunked was that *people didn't love it*. The solution? Time. I think they needed to get themselves more time. How? I have no idea, time is money I understand, so I honestly can't give more than that. Sometimes a great idea just isn't enough, and it needs to be refined more. Perhaps it wasn't an option, but *perhaps* some of the higher-ups could have given it a better chance. The thing is, gamers aren't idiots - some bad games do well and some good games do poorly, but overall, quality is what gets sales. Gamers are a picky bunch - especially with prices as they are, and ESPECIALLY for a subscription MMO - pickier than movie goers, so we need refinement and quality. I think Fury has quality in it, but hardly and refinement. I'm not trying to be negative and all 'Auran failed' here, I think they've got alot of balls and alot of potential, and I hope, and BELIEVE the people involved in Fury can go onto something excellent AND succesful. That just wasn't Fury. This being said, I will play this game *tomorrow* when my download finishes, and if I think the game's fantastic, I will gladly eat my words.

    None of this is designed to brush off Fury's Australian success. It earned something, at least for its guts, if not super fine quality. It's just that it wasn't *enough* to crack the other markets. The good news? Being an MMO, they still have a chance to refine it without everyone having permanantly written it off. People expect MMO's to change, so the positive side of what I'm saying is this: The people in charge of Auran; the high-ups, I ask you to give Fury as much chance as is feasible for a project in this state. It has potential.

    I apologize for making a comment longer than the original story. But it was a good article - this story is close to my heart, and I've got alot of general and practical interest in the Auran saga. It's nice to see some 'local' stuff, too. It's informative. Thanks guys. Now I'm done, and I *promise* that this is the last sentence.

    Tony said the game has done pretty well, he did specifically say sales. Those 1000 copies that were given away by Palgn possibly could have helped things.

    OMG! why isnt FURY online anymore and not working? everytime I go to the launcher it says checking for client updates and never moves, i left it goin for 2 hours :( wat happend?

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