Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries developer GriN Multimedia—not to be confused with Bionic Commando developer GRIN AB, even though I find it all very confusing—has announced that it has ceased operations. “It’s done, there is no way back. We tried, we failed,” founder Wim Wouters wrote in a new blog post. “The team is now dismantled and we have requested bankruptcy unable to pay outstanding bills.”
Grin successfully funded Woolfe, a dark and gritty take on the Red Riding Hood fairytale, through a 2014 Kickstarter that earned more than $72,000 on a $50,000 goal, and released the first episode in March. But the response was mixed, adding up to a Metacritic average of just 55/100, and an anemic 62 percent positive rating on Steam. And, as Wouters acknowledged, it just didn’t sell very well.
A big part of the problem was simply that the studio overestimated its capabilities. The move from 2D to 3D gameplay had an unexpected impact on the cost of development and caused significant technical headaches, and also, Wouters believes, led to unrealistic expectations. The freedom of movement “gave players the sense that Woolfe was no longer a platformer, but an open-world type game,” he wrote. “Not to mention the combat… OMG! How much more work it turned out to be having enemies follow and engage with the player in the semi-open environments we had grown to love.”
The end of the studio obviously means that the second episode of Woolfe will not be released. Worse, however, is that Kickstarter backers who pledged at physical reward tiers are not going to get them. “The crazy thing is, that we have most of the rewards ready for postage. All the backer stickers and letters of enlistment just need a stamp. All the poster sets printed, signed and ready. The artbook is ready to be printed, the soundtrack is ready for distribution, the DVD case is ready for production,” Wouters wrote. “But we have literally no money whatsoever to pay for stamps, let alone print the artbooks and dvd-cases.”
The rights to the property, as well as the source code and all assets, are now up for sale, and so it’s possible that Woolfe could be resurrected at some point in the future. But as Wouters noted, the low ratings of the first chapter has pretty much killed any interest among publishers, and even if it were to bounce back, Kickstarter pledges would remain unfulfilled.
The game was made by Belgian company GriN Gamestudio (not to be confused with the defunct Swedish video game developer GRIN) and was partially financed thanks to the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) which gave 60,000 EUR and a Kickstarter campaign which gathered 72,139 USD. It was released on Microsoft Windows on March 17, 2015,while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were planned for the next quarter of 2015, however they’ve been cancelled following the closure of the studio on August 2015.