Lynn and the Spirits of Inao was an adventure game where players would apparently explore a world inspired by Japanese mythology. Developed by a company called Bloomylight Studio and intended for release on various platforms (Wii U included), the game had apparently been in development for five years and was raising more money as part of a Kickstarter campaign. There’s a pretty nice trailer you can see for it here:
As of today though, it’s no more. The developer has shut down the Kickstarter campaign with a cancellation message, which is as follows:
First of all, thank you to all of the backers who supported Lynn and the Spirits of Inao.
After being deeply affected by the various stories from the past few days, and conscious of the mistakes from the past which are now harming the game, we have taken the difficult decision to end the adventure here. In the face of the violent declarations made to us and the threats uttered against members of the team, we now have to end this project that was born in 2011. It is regrettable that a handful of individuals were able to destroy the work of so many people and that they spent so much energy to cause a relentlessness of incredible violence against our team.
We would like to thank all the people who contributed to the game and got involved in the project. These last five years spent working hard on Lynn and the Spirits of Inao were an unforgettable experience motivated by the passion to create a game of quality and to offer a new experience.
Thank you for your understanding.
But what was the deeper story here? What were the mistakes from the past that got it shut down?
Well, it’s a long story. Basically, the company is said to have a history of hiring interns to work on the game and not paying them for their contributions. This is illegal in France (where the company is based), and apparently it’s even more so if they don’t have any regular employees. As a result, there was a lot of controversy round the game. Facebook pages and Tumblr posts appeared talking about how the game was a scam and how the developer was supposedly mistreating its employees. There was a really interesting Reddit topic about the allegations, which can be viewed here:
And either way, the company (quite rightfully) got hell for this from the gaming community. After all, what did you expect would happen? The the industry’s already got a lot of issues in regards to companies pushing an endless cycle of ‘crunch’, where employees work insanely long hours for fairly little pay and poor working conditions. And what Bloomylight Studio did here seemingly goes a lot further. Indeed, there’s talk in that topic of people at the company being made to sign a document that (wrongfully) said they were being paid for their work when they really weren’t. That’s a pretty sleazy move from anyone if true.
But yeah, as a result the game is cancelled. It’s bad news for adventure game fans (because damn, the game did look really nice in the trailer above), but given the talk of working conditions and pay at the studio, it was inevitable from the start.