Valve Pulls Dinosaur Game From Steam Early Access After Devs Go Quiet

The Stomping Land, which received more than $100,000 through Kickstarter, is no longer available for sale through Steam.

Early Access games have becoming increasingly common, with more than 250 now available through Steam. One such game, The Stomping Land, which has been available for sale since earlier this year has seen its development stall out. As of today, the game is no longer being sold, with no official word on why.

The Stomping Land is yet another game in the increasingly popular multiplayer survival genre, with this one attempting to set itself apart by being set in a world rife with dinosaurs. (Check out our Early Access review here.) It was successfully funded through Kickstarter in June 2013, receiving more than $114,000 in pledges despite only asking for $20,000. The game landed on Steam this past May, being sold as an Early Access game for $25 as developer SuperCrit (led by developer Alex Fundora) continued to work on it.

A quick visit to The Stomping Land's Steam page will reveal it can no longer be purchased. As of yet, there is no explanation from either Valve or SuperCrit as to why the game has been removed, but it would appear it's no coincidence that this comes after several months with no word from the game's developers.

None of the official outlets for the game--its Facebook, Twitter, forums, and Kickstarter page--have been updated in months. The developer's website is effectively nonexistent. The last post on the Kickstarter announced the game's arrival in Early Access on Steam on May 30, and stated, "Even though the game is available, development is still in full force." Whether or not that is the case is unclear, as the game was last updated in early June, with no word since then as to when additional updates would be coming. An online petition went live in July asking that the game be removed from the Steam store and that Kickstarter backers and Steam buyers be refunded. As of this writing, it's received 2,816 signatures.

Even before The Stomping Land stopped being sold through Steam, fans had reason for concern. In July, the game's public relations person posted on the Steam forums, saying they were done working on the game. They claimed their contract had expired on May 31, but that they continued on due to a "desire to see this game succeed." Most concerningly, they noted that one of the game's developers "is not very communicative and the Monday posts feel like I am stringing the community along. I don't want that. You don't want that. So I'm not going to continue doing that."

We've contacted both Steam and Fundora for comment regarding the status of The Stomping Land and will report back with anything we learn.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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MrBlondeX

Chris Pereira

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX
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325 comments
Raptornx01
Raptornx01

though this has been cleared up it seems, situations like this are why I hesitate to support early access. To me, ErAc games are people charging others for a service devs would generally pay others for, and that is beta testing. Instead of paying someone to beta test, they charge the public to do it for them. and worse still this dev had a kickstarter that funded the game (supposedly).


if devs want to release early builds to the public to "help" test a game, then it should be free beta testing, set up that if people want to keep the game upon release they pay for it. but still hire real QA people ofcourse.

Lu_Shen
Lu_Shen

Another reminder to myself to never bother with Early Access games. Thanks!

UKFX
UKFX

Meanwhile for Cube World...

TEOL222
TEOL222

You want an iStupid? Sorry its not done yet, but if you pay for it now, youll get this electric card that everything is going on. Ill just show up and put stuff on in every now and then for the next year or two, and eventually youre going to get youre iStupid. See there is no reason not to trust me! Now, how many can I put you down for?

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Seems the dev came back and replied to Valve, the game is back up on steam. Lots of comments in the forum telling people not to buy it as the game is broken. Still no word from the dev on any progress on the game. I'd say stay far away from it until it is out of Early Access and has good reviews.

so__very__angry
so__very__angry

WHAT!? NO UPDATE IN MONTHS!? HOW ABOUT AUGUST 6TH? HOW ABOUT YOU DO YOUR F***ING RESEARCH GAMESPOT!!

EVEN FORCE GOT HIS STORY STRAIGHT! http://youtu.be/b7SQn2hZyJU?t=2m35s


Shaun Prescott at 03:52 on 06 August 2014

In a statement provided to Kotaku UK, SuperCrit founder Alex 'Jig' Fundora said the reason for the extended silence was a move to Unreal Engine 4. "It has been quiet in The Stomping Land community but that is certainly not the case behind the scenes," Fundora wrote.


"The game is being moved to Unreal Engine 4 to take advantage of technical and creative opportunities, and while the game was so early in development, I didn't want to keep working for years with a game engine (UDK) that had officially lost support by Epic.

"The move has put a bit of more work on my plate, but the already discovered opportunities using UE4 are exciting, and I'm confident fans will be satisfied with the long-run decision."


And you call yourself journalists. You should be ashamed of yourself.

stewbuilderpete
stewbuilderpete

@so__very__angry August 6th.... between then, we have August, September, October, November, and now it's December... Soooo.... Yeah. It's been months.

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

That will be a lesson for the morons who "lend" their money to those nuts and Valve must be held responsable for that. With a law suit for example..:D to teach them a hard lesson , too.

TorQueMoD
TorQueMoD

Early access games are at your own risk. Valve is just a distributor and shouldn't be held responsible. They're giving so many great developers a world wide portal to get their game seen, heard about and known. If they were sued it would only hurt gamers.

made_u_look
made_u_look

@TorQueMoD Right but there should be policing. To many dishonest people out there. Put up a great sales pitch people eat it up and get ripped off. There has to be some accountablility somewhere, can't go laissez faire.

TorQueMoD
TorQueMoD

@made_u_look @TorQueMoD

Sure, but Valve isn't the one that should be punished for it. The developer is the one that's responsible. That's like suing kickstarter when a project doesn't go through. Valve did the right thing by removing the game from the store but fans should get mad at the developer in this case.

Marscaleb
Marscaleb

This is just plain unprofessional.

It's honestly a bit surprising though.  But I mean... scams happen, I know that.  There are many companies that bring on investors and make a pretty scene to look legitimate and hire people and perform a good measure of work to boot, and then the CEO vanishes with a giant stack of investor's cash.  It happens.  It happens in the video game industry, in Hollywood, in pretty much any field.


So it wouldn't be *too* hard to run a scam like this.  Get some professional talent to make some bare-bones art and stuff, collect a big paycheck from Kickstarter backers, then hire some PR guy to keep it sounding like the company is going strong while you slip into the night with all the money and let your tracks gather dust.  The game sounds like it is alive for quite some time after you've bailed, making it harder for folks to track you down.


But yet, I'm surprised.  It sounds like they had a lot already done for this game, with a working playable demo that people have enjoyed.  Quite honestly, that takes a lot of capital to begin with right there, and with that stack of cash, you could have easily finished the game, sold it, and made even more.

Seriously, how hard would it have been to turn this into a legitimate business venture?

Marscaleb
Marscaleb

Oh wow, never mind.  I just looked it up and apparently the early access game was way unfinished.  Totally a scam the whole way.

pinkymvg
pinkymvg

The gaming industry is, we are told, bigger than the film industry. When that kind of money is on the table the least we can do is expect a little quality control. 

I like Steam for its convenience and generally high standards of conduct. But if they've decided to do business with cretins and shirkers they should be called on it.

One way to get Steam's and Valve Corporation's attention is to file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General of the State of Washington, where Valve is headquartered. 

If you do so, take a deep, cleansing breath. Think and write clearly. No flaming. It scares the suits.


https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx


Meanwhile, caveat emptor.



NinjaGaz
NinjaGaz

I mentioned a while back that this new "Pay for Early Access" is a bad idea. Gamers get a game that isn't finished and often then just quit before it's ever actually ready and, worse, the developers get the money they need and a lack of motivation to finish it. If a large portion of your audience has already paid for it... why bother finishing it?


It's not the first time this has happened and it won't be the last. Steam should be withholding or drip-feeding revenue to these developers to ensure that they actually do release the game.

mizifih
mizifih

The hell with it! From now on, I'm only buying games one year after the first official-stable-final release gets out.

mizifih
mizifih

@McGuirex3 @mizifih first it was DayZ, and it's still pretty shitty. Then I pre-ordered Watch_Dogs (PC), and we all know what Ubi did. Actually, first it was WarZ, now called infestation, that was a huge scam, and they're actually developing a new scam, Infestation 2. Anyways, some dev companies actually delivered and keep updating their content, 7DaysToDie for instance, had a lot of stuff added since it's first alpha release, it's still in alpha, but the game keeps getting better.


I got screwed a few times, enough to change my mind. I could pre-order GTA V from g2a, but they don't know what platform they're giving the code to customers redeem their games, so I'm not buying it. Anyways, what I mean is that even GTA V is not getting pre-ordered.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

The game must have been projected to release on the same date as Half-Life 3's release date and they didn't want the competition: Q4 2043.

pimphand_gamer
pimphand_gamer

I wondered when this would happen with all these so called early beta purchases. It's too easy for the developer to just take what money they can and run because really most anyone that wants the game would have already bought it.


I made the mistake to purchase Paranormal like in 2012 I think and the game hasn't really gone anywhere since Beta. The developer still works on it but it's stupid stuff, the game is still much the same...which is total crap btw.


Nexius was the other game on Steam that ripped me off. Wasn't long till they shut down the servers and now it's like "oh well" Valve should at least pay back their consumers when devs do this crap.

b1ank
b1ank

Hopefully Valve takes a stroll around their store and removes some more "games".

nobody490
nobody490

Now, if Chris Roberts is to pull this off as well... ;)

drysprocket
drysprocket

I uninstalled Steam today...and although a bit scary; it felt really good. 

Valve is no officially on the no-fly list until they stop letting their customers get ripped off. If you want to take a stand against this practice- join me.

drysprocket
drysprocket

@entyme53 @drysprocket Yeah, it's sad that a once great company has become a monopoly for PC games....absolute power corrupts absolutely. And agreed, they at least need to do something.

Until then- Strike, strike, strike.

NinjaGaz
NinjaGaz

@drysprocket Personally, I think Steam is great. A huge supply of games of all types at (generally) reasonable prices. It's faster to buy a game on Steam and download it than to go to the shop, buy the DVD and install it!


Steam also doesn't install rubbish on your computer that slows you down or gets in the way. It's a low resource app to buy and launch games - as well as offering lots of forums, etc for feedback on those games. Just as it should be.


The early access thing is a bad direction, though. As a gamer... you can choose what you want to buy. No need to delete it, just control yourself! :)

entyme53
entyme53

@drysprocket I've bought too many games through Steam to do that. I'm kind of stuck with them at this point.  However, I do agree with the point you are trying to make. Valve has the power to stop this practice.  I can't imagine them dropping Early Access all together, as they are making money off of it, but Valve could easily add more quality control by requiring games be at least at a certain point in development before being eligible.  Until this happens, I will no longer be buying games through Steam.  I guess it's back to buying physical discs for this guy.

Psil0X
Psil0X

@drysprocket lol, good luck playing games without Steam! Oh right, you still have the excellent services in Origin and Uplay :P

raxspot
raxspot

@drysprocket Why should steam be responsible for your actions? 


Quoted from Steam early acess information:

"Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development." .


You sound like those people that got in huge debts because the bank "gave" them money. If you are more than 18+, and you were not forced to do something. you are responsible for your actions.

SnappySnake
SnappySnake

There needs to be some method to prevent developpers from running away from development when the work is crowd-funded. People gave their money to see the work achieved, not to see their money wasted and go out in smoke.

coop36
coop36

@SnappySnake Crowdfunding isnt pre-ordering from gamestop. Its a risky venture both to the funders and devs. With risk can often come failure. So ask whats the risk worth to you? Dont gamble more than you can lose imo.

fredericksven
fredericksven

@Relvar @SnappySnake  This isn't an investment though, it's a purchase.  This is part of the reason why Kickstarter and other charitable ventures are so baffling.  You're funding something with real world money off their good will for no financial gain.

Relvar
Relvar

@SnappySnake  No.... people gave their money on the HOPES that it would succeed. Just like any investment there is a risk -  just because those risks are higher doesn't mean that the practice should be stopped - people just need to be made aware that there is a chance a developer might take the cash and run - so they need to do their homework and be sure that the developers are good for their word just like any other investment.

tomscifi69
tomscifi69

@fredericksven Kickstarter is not a purchase - it was never set up or designed that way.  It's goal is to "pitch" an idea to the community and ask the community for support.  It's no different than a company pitching a venture capitalist or a department head asking their boss for more money for a pet project.  When you give to Kickstarter - you are giving to an unproven project by a group of people who have convinced you that their project is worth supporting.  There are many projects out there who are created by good people doing good things and there are those who don't understand business, don't understand workflows and are frankly in way over their head.  You have to figure that out before you decide to give.  You take risk when you give money and the Kickstarter terms of service says that - just be smart when you "donate" and keep in mind that in the end you may not get what you want.  That's the risk of crowd funding and that risk will always remain there.

ripperoni
ripperoni

The early access fad that swept the industry needs to die.  Developers realized instead of actually producing a game, and receiving financial success or failure based on the quality of their work, they could sell an idea for a game and make the same amount.  In the worst case scenario, you have Stomping Land, an actual scam where the dev's fly-by-night with all our money.  


BUT even in the best case scenario, you have a developer who's made a majority of all the possible profit they can make on a game before they've even really started making it.  Most people who were ever going to buy Stomping Land bought it already, in early access.  So even a good, well-meaning developer is going to not gain much from actually working on their game, the financial motivation is mostly gone and them actually making the game is only charity/passion on their part.  And that's a risky thing to bet it all on.  


Can we just go back to the days where developers actually had to produce the game they got paid for?

coop36
coop36

@ripperoni The thing is that big publishers these days dont like taking risks. As that can equate to losing millions of dollars if it doesnt sell well. Game development is incredibly expensive now compared to the 80s or early 90s. Which is why there are so many sequels. Activision knows CoD whatever warfare is guaranteed profit. It has a large installed customer base, they already know the product and will buy what they know. This is low risk profit.

What this translates to is stagnation of creativity and frustrated developers. Thats why you see so many creatives splintering away from places like EA and Activision, so they can do their own thing. But like I said earlier this is incredibly expensive and risky. As most modern games can cost hundreds of thousands if not millions to make and distribute. Remember youre paying everyones salaries for months or years, as well as all of the office rent, taxes, bills, buying new equipment and software, dev kits, etc. So they have to get this money from somewhere.

Early Access is basically a preview of an unfinished product. They make this pretty clear. Thats why you are usually given a slight discount on the full price since its technically unfinished. By supporting these unfinished works you are directly financing some of these smaller devs who are struggling to stay afloat.

But they think its worth it because they are passionate about games, just like you and me. They want to make the games big publishers are too afraid to risk making because of numbers and statistics. The industry is stagnant, its no secret. But if you want to see more innovation its necessary to support these smaller developers. Yeah, you may risk losing $10-15 here and there. But you may also be a part of some truly special games as well. I think thats a risk worth taking.

morfraen
morfraen

@coop36 @ripperoni games haven't cost 'hundreds of thousands' to make since the 90's. You're looking at millions to hundreds of millions.

CygnusRising001
CygnusRising001

If Jig has indeed taken the money and ran, then he should be brought up on fraud charges.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

I just hope people feel like massive suckers for buying and playing a game that was always terrible, and never had any plans to be something more.  At least it'll reduce the number of people who do this again...


Do your damn research people!  I know these aren't major investments, but you still shouldn't part with your cash so easily, based on nothing but promises... 


Early Access as an idea isn't bad, but not all projects on there are created equally... not by a long shot!  Be especially weary of these pitches that ask for a ridiculously low sum of money... they asked for $20k for this game, and that didn't immediately tell you "this is BS!"...?

k41m
k41m

This is crap, Glad I only ever bought Wasteland 2 for early access. That is IT

neonmoss
neonmoss

In the financial industry, which is pertinent to my expertise, this is encompassed in the field of securities fraud. It's fraud, simple, and although it involves products of entertainment, it's not any less serious. Steam should be very careful considering their (partial) liability with enhancing the credibility of any 'Greenlit' developments, different to say- false listings on Ebay.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Early Access is great when used right.


When deciding to buy a game in Early Access or not just look as at the game you get today not the game you are promised.


I will only buy an early game if I know I will be okay if no future updates happen to the game. There have been quite a few that I played and enjoyed in the early state and if they never got updated that would be okay because I made sure I would be happy with the game as it was. Any updates after that point are just bonus. 


Don't buy promises.

coop36
coop36

@Toysoldier34 This. Early access allows devs to take risks and try new things, free from corporate pandering. Sometimes when you take risks you fail. But thats the nature of the beast. Youre supporting the devs vision more than preordering a soon to be finished product. Even on Kickstarter it says "this is not Wal-Mart".

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@coop36 @Toysoldier34 Exactly people see it too much as a store and a consumer when they need to be putting themselves on the same side as the developer.


They are working with the developer to bring this game to life, but too often people put themselves on the other side of the fence and aren't rolling with the punches with the developers when things get rough the way investing does.