Moon Hunters was released last month for PlayStation 4 (our review) in North America – the European launch happens on August 30 – but the planned PlayStation Vita version has been cancelled.
In a new Kickstarter update, developer Kitfox Games explained that one reason for the cancellation is the engine they’re using, while another is the Vita itself, “which is more demanding technically than PS4 or desktop, but I’m loathe to seem like I’m complaining about such a beautiful, well-made piece of hardware.” To get Moon Hunters working on Vita, they would’ve had to permanently remove the character portraits and real-time shadows, and even then, loading times were “absolutely intolerable.”
If you were a PlayStation Vita backer for Moon Hunters on Kickstarter, Kitfox Games is offering you a key for any other platform. “If the only key you ever wanted was a PSVita key, we may even be able to find 2 keys for you, to make sure you can play with a friend, which helps take out more of the sting,” they add. For those seeking a refund, they’ll refund the $15 CAD value of the game key, but since they delivered on all of the other rewards, “we will not refund anything remaining from your pledge.”
Here’s their statement on the cancellation:
We have examined every possible variant of the next few months/years of our lives, and we have sadly decided that releasing the game on PSVita is not going to be a good effort after all. 🙁
Why? Well, one factor is the engine we’re using, but with all of the advantages Unity offers, I’m loathe to seem like I’m complaining about lack of low-level resource control. And one factor is the platform itself, which is more demanding technically than PS4 or desktop, but I’m loathe to seem like I’m complaining about such a beautiful, well-made piece of hardware.
So, the honest and blunt truth is that the only way we could realistically make it work on Vita is to make the game worse. What this means is that when we looked at how to get it running properly, we had to permanently remove the character portraits, real-time shadows, and loading times were absolutely intolerable. And that was just the beginning — we still had a long, long way to go. So we felt that, with those sacrifices already made, it was unacceptable to reduce the game’s quality further.
The upshot is that two years ago, we were arrogant and naive.
I personally apologize, as both the promise and the cancellation are my decision (me, Tanya Short), and ask for your forgiveness. I am sorry.
Please do not harass the Moon Hunters programmers, as they have done their best to work with a difficult situation I put them in.
I hope I have learned from this mistake. I really hope so.
Giving you an idea of how many Vita backers there were, Kitfox Games said on Twitter, “More backers backed/benefit from the art book than backed the Vita.”
Asked why they didn’t outsource the Vita port to another developer, Kitfox Games said, “Most outsourced ports are terrible – you have better odds when the game isn’t very complex, but still risky and expensive.”