Just two months after the third-person action-horror game Stray Souls came out, developer Jukai Studio abruptly shuttered its doors, citing myriad issues including poor game sales and multiple cyberattacks from an unknown perpetrator.The developer took to X/Twitter on December 22 to announce the sudden closure. Part of the problem, Jukai Studio said, was Stray Souls’ abysmal reception and sales, which made the team “completely unable to sustain the company.”
Stray Souls, the studio’s debut project about a man uncovering the secrets of a haunted town, launched on October 25 to scathing reviews on Metacritic and OpenCritic. Despite just two core folks and several contracted individuals working on the game, according to Jukai Studio, things were ultimately too untenable to continue as is, particularly because of incessant cyberattacks.
“We did everything in our power to bring [Stray Souls] to completion in the best possible form, but throughout the entire duration, we, our publisher staff, other publisher [developer] 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,” Jukai Studio said in a statement. “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 it despite the studio’s closure.”
Jukai Studio’s closure came the same day as its publisher Versus Evil, the company behind excellent tactical RPG franchise The Banner Saga, which also shut down on December 22, just three months after its 10-year anniversary. As a result, everyone who worked at Versus Evil was laid off, according to GamesIndustry.biz. Interestingly, despite Jukai Studio closing its doors, no one has technically been laid off because, as the team said, the developer “never functioned as a large corporation.”
Kotaku reached out to Jukai Studio and Versus Evil for comment.
Both Jukai Studio and Versus Evil recently thanked everyone who supported them over the years. “We hope that 2024 will be a year of positive changes in the world of game development,” Jukai Studio said. I hope so, too, especially as multiple individual developers were fired last year and an bevy of studios closed up. It was truly a devastatingly tumultuous year for the games industry.
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