It took eight years for developers Grant Davies and Nick Kovac of the Melbourne-based Endgame Studios to bring Fractured Soul to market. Originally created for the DS, a combination of the GFC, publisher apathy and a run-in with the tax office almost brought the game and the company to an unceremonious end.
Now, thanks to their hard work, persistence and the eShop, Fractured Soul will get its chance on Nintendo's latest handheld.
Kotaku briefly covered the game back in 2010, when it was still slated for the DS. Despite enthusiasm from gamers, Endgame wasn't able to secure a publisher for Fractured Soul, which, at the time, was the only realistic way of getting the title onto retail shelves. According to Endgame, DS market conditions had "deteriorated significantly" by 2010. No one wanted to make DS games any more, with talk of new devices on the horizon from Nintendo and Sony.
In the same year, a "massive accountancy error" placed Endgame in the uncomfortable situation of owing $45,000 to the Australian Tax Office. Davis and Kovac could have packed it in right there, but instead, they decided to soldier on:
Again, the company sails perilously close to the brink of bankruptcy. Fixing the error would take more than six months and two accounting firms and repaying the money would take more than a year — of Grant and Nick essentially working for free.
From 2010 to 2012, Fractured Soul made the transition from DS to 3DS. With "sentiment in the 3DS market" increasing, Endgame again considered hunting down a publisher. But, as we've heard before, the eShop is much friendly place for indie developers and so, the company made the decision to go digital and self-publish.
The story of Fractured Soul and its tortured journey from concept to product, is covered in surprisingly open detail on Endgame's own blog and is well worth a read.
As for the game itself — it's an old-school platformer featuring a neat "body-jumping" mechanic that makes use of both of the 3DS' screens. 30 levels across five environments should keep you busy and there's even a demo if you'd like to try before you buy.
$US11.99 will buy you the game and the nice fuzzy feeling you get by supporting local indie developers.
Fractured Soul [Official site]
Fractured Soul — A neverending story [Endgame Studios Blog]