In a forum post, Soulbound Studios CEO Jeromy "Caspian" Walsh posted a recap of its State of Elyria post, talking about the latest alpha release, Settlers of Elyria - and dropped a bombshell: Soulbound Studios is shuttering with Chronicles of Elyria being shut down.
In the post, the developer detailed the latest events and releases, as well as where Chronicles of Elyria's development has been going - however, this all essentially buried the lede. The Chronicles of Elyria developer detailed that due to the lack of crowdfunding dollars coming in, as well as the failure of their Settlers event, the studio unforuntately has to shutter, laying off all its employees as a result.
But to our great sadness.... with the failure of Settlers of Elyria, and five long months of only limited crowdfunding revenue coming in, Soulbound Studios has officially run out of money. Last night I was forced to do something I never thought I'd have to do. I closed the online store, put the SoE map back into read-only mode, and laid off all the employees...
Caspian notes that Chronicles of Elyria was almost fully crowdfunded and would have likely relied on its community to come to its aid as well, but due to the uncertainty in the world right now he didn't want to put that burden on their backers.
While we had no doubt that our backers would come to our aid, we're living in a volatile period in our world's history. With unprecedented changes to society caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, and with economies beginning to suffer all around the world, I made the hard decision not to try and get additional crowdfunding. I knew doing so would mean having to close the studio. But it was the right thing to do. I'd rather people spend their money on games they can play now, or better yet, food and shelter, rather than on the continuned development of Chronicles of Elyria.
Caspian mentions in his post that the team early on had many publishers looking to invest in Elyria, but that the team wasn't ready to show them the game. As a result, much of the investor interest waned and Caspain mentions that the "our inability to get a large influx of several million in cash meant development was going slower than we'd have liked."
Caspian says in his post that this hopefully doesn't mean the end of Chronicles of Elyria, but right now it's simply moving "Into the Abyss."
So the next obvious question most of you are asking yourselves, immediately after thinking, "way to bury the lede!", is "is this the end of Elyria then?". The answer is, I hope not. Continuing on with the Hero's Journey, the stage right after the Ordeal or "The Abyss" is Metamorphosis or Atonement.
This news has undoubtedly upset the community, with reactions ranging from dissapointment, disbelief and outright anger on the official forum post. Many fans are left wondering what happened to the $8 Million crowdfunded for Chronicles of Elyria, especially since this recent demo was the first playable version of Chronicles to finally be released to backers. Many backers who just recently spent money on the Settlers of Elyria event are also asking for a refund - as this news comes right as the Settlers event closed. It should be noted that not all the responses have been negative, with many willng to wait till the team can get something together - but those posts are few and far between on the thread.
You can read the full post on the Chronicles of Elyria forum where Caspian goes into more detail about the Milestone 0.5.0, the Domain and Settlement selection, as well as the full statement from Caspian and the Chronicles of Elyria team on their website.