Trine 3 Developers Dispute Complaints That They Released An Unfinished Game

Trine 3 Developers Dispute Complaints That They Released An Unfinished Game

The Trine series of fantasy platformers is beloved, especially on Steam. Trine 3, however, has longtime fans furious.

In addition to basic mechanical quibbles, many Trine fans think the latest game — which recently emerged from Early Access — feels unfinished, with a gaping hole of non-ending that only magic (or DLC) could patch up. In a recent Steam post, Frozenbyte VP Joel Kinnunen explained that this isn't a scheme to fleece players out of their hard-earned doubloons. Rather, Kinnunen feels like his company bit off more than they could chew, but they still released the best game they could.

"Back in late 2012, we set out to do Trine 3 in full 3D — bigger, badder, better. We took a big risk with the 3D gameplay implementation — it was to be a massive improvement over the previous games in several areas. We have always been ambitious and this time our ambition may have gotten the better of us."

"Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has ended up costing nearly triple that of Trine 2 — over 5.4 million USD. We have squeezed everything we could into the game, there's nothing left on the table. We initially had a much longer story written and more levels planned, but to create what we envisioned, it would have taken at least triple the money, probably up to 15 million USD, which we didn't realise until too late, and which we didn't have."

"So we did not intentionally make the game 'short' as many have said in order to make money off of future DLC or whatever. We tried to make something too ambitious, and it ended up financially impossible. What we sold on Early Access was the 'realistic' vision and what we promised is what we have delivered, in our opinion."

So, in short, Frozenbyte hasn't suddenly transformed into the sort of shady developer that, in some cases, Steam users are right to be wary of. Instead, they ran up against a problem that has become increasingly common as small developers have gained the tools and resources necessary to tackle projects of greater scale: too much, too soon. Frozenbyte realises they might have backed themselves into a corner. Kinnunen wrote:

"As for the cliffhanger ending and DLC — there are no plans for a DLC. Continuation of the story is a different matter however, but we have released everything we had and everything we aimed to release since the beginning of the Early Access. The future of the series is now in question, as the feedback, user reviews and poor media attention has caught us by surprise."

However, they plan to support the game on the technical side of things (bug fixes, support, etc).

Players were, predictably, saddened by this news. It's not like they hated Trine 3; they just wanted more of it. It strikes me as a bit odd that Frozenbyte would reply to that criticism by putting the series on deep freeze forever. It could be a financially motivated decision, though — in which case this is all just very unfortunate.

Regardless, it's a difficult situation. "Feels unfinished" is a criticism that's frequently lobbed at modern games, especially ones that spent their diaper days on Steam Early Access. Frozenbyte's honesty about the situation is refreshing, especially in light of the fact that some Steam developers choose to say nothing at all or, worse, moderate their Steam forums in ways that squelch negative feedback.

It's never fun to watch a beloved series fall on hard times, though. And, explanations aside, Trine 3's brevity and ending (or lack thereof) still have players feeling like they got an unfinished game. That's no good. Here's hoping Trine's developers turn things around.


    Anti Aliasing crashes my graphics driver in this game....It's quite annoying

    So the story just stops, and they don't know why people would call it unfinished? Do I have this right?

      Yeah, that was what I got from it too. They are saying its not unfinished, its just not finished... lol

      Last edited 25/08/15 6:03 pm

        Hmm... time was, game-makers would call it "part 1" and hope for enough sales to finish it.

    Trine 3 Developers Dispute Complaints That They Released An Unfinished Game

    We initially had a much longer story written and more levels planned, but to create what we envisioned, it would have taken at least triple the money, probably up to 15 million USD, which we didn’t realise until too late, and which we didn’t have.

    Not much of a dispute there, they ran out of money and didn't finish the amount they wanted to.
    That's an interesting story lurking in those scary numbers though - if it was 5mil for new engine, base assets, ramp up time, end polish and *some* content, how much more content would have been in the other 10 mil? 3-4 times as much?

    I don't know really what to feel about this. On the one hand, not pulling a Ubisoft and cutting content then releasing it later as DLC is a good move. On the other hand, realising the game can't be finished within the original scope and pushing it out in its current state to start making money off it isn't always that much better either. Obviously I don't know the particulars of the situation and I have enough industry experience to know that releasing a product prematurely isn't necessarily a bad thing. I guess "disappointing" would be the best way to describe it all.

    Sounds like poor project management to me, which is extremely common in the industry, but harder to mitigate when you're not backed by a big publisher or treat your staff like humans.

    yay more complaints from entitled gamers, it must still be 2015., yawn. How much do people seriously expect from $15 dollars.

      Trine dev spotted
      "What are you complaining about!!? you got the meat and the bun, so what if it didn't come with the sauce, lettuce and tomato its only 5 bucks Stop being so entitled!!"

      Something that isn't an admitted cause of "We budgeted wrong, so here's half of what we meant to do... sorry about the non-ending" would be nice.

      Didn't people learn anything from that Dark Matter game?

      When you pay for a product, you are entitled to all of it... because ya know... thats what you are paying for. You don't pay to see a movie, and have it end three quarters of the way through, no matter what price you pay for your ticket. Unless it clearly states, 'this movie isn't finished'.

      Last edited 25/08/15 5:59 pm

    I think I'll manage to survive if there isn't another Trine

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