Usually when a game is funded through Kickstarter it’s a long and arduous process. Deadlines come and go. Problems arise along the way. And more often that not issues crop up that can see games delayed by years which has resulted in project cancellations or at least some platforms being dropped from the end product. Hamsterdam: Paws Of Justice seemed to be different…
What Was Hamsterdam
Funded in August 2018, Hamsterdam was a 2D beat-em-up by established developer Muse Games. Intended for a range of platforms including the Vita it looked promising. It offered a novel mix of platform action, with swipe and button based mechanics. The game was perfectly suited for handheld and mobile gaming making the Vita an ideal platform to launch on.
Developed in Unity it allowed for easy porting to a range of systems quickly. It also meant that Muse Games could include the Vita as standard in its modest funding goal of £$8,000. In fact, using Unity allowed Muse to keep costs down to the extent that backers were offered every version of the game for a single pledge – incredible value by Kickstarter standards.
The game was delayed slightly from its target date of March 2019. Not greatly by Kickstarter standards, and was eventually released at the beginning of August 2019. Well, mostly. As with most good Kickstarter campaigns, work had already started on the game prior to it’s launch in mid August 2018. Muse already had partially working versions running on iOS, Android, Mac, PC and the Switch. So at that time the only version that didn’t exist was the Vita. But using Unity still didn’t give any cause for concern.
But as the other versions were released in August 2019, Muse confirmed that it was no longer going to happen. In a backer update two months earlier, the Vita version was scrapped. On 13th June the developers said this in a public statement:
“With Sony and Unity both ceasing support for the PS Vita since we launched the Kickstarter, it has put us in a real bind over how we can continue with Vita development, and this lack of support has created an array of issues for us, not least from a development standpoint.
Because of this uncertainty, we decided to not list the PS Vita as a release platform when we announced the release dates for the other platforms in order to try to be safe and responsible.
However we did not do a good job communicating specifically to the backers, or players who backed us because they wanted a Vita version, about the latest situation with the Vita development and release plans, and for that we want to apologize.
As a studio and gamers ourselves, the PS Vita has a special place in our hearts. As devs though, the discontinuation from Sony’s side brings worries and concerns such as online store functionalities being stopped and no longer supported. With our ability to support and update the game being uncertain at best, we’re currently not confident that the final Vita experience would be one we could be proud of.
Therefore, we are making the difficult decision to not include the PS Vita at launch on August 1st, and instead focus on all the other platforms which we do still have control over.”
Future Of The Vita Version
While the developers went on to say that they were still hopeful to work out something with Sony and Unity, they did admit that this was most likely just wishful thinking. As such they offered all their backers the opportunity to have refunds (as their pledges already offered them the other versions of the game as standard).
Whether Hamsterdam will ever make a final appearance is uncertain but at this stage we’d say it’s unlikely. We don’t understand the workings or requirements of Unity or whether games need to be created with the latest version in order to be published. If that is the case then any games that were in development may face the same fate.