Airtight Games Closes Weeks After Releasing Murdered: Soul Suspect
The pressure on developers to take big budgets and turn that into far bigger revenues has been crippling the games industry over the last few years. As budgets grow, innovation stagnates as developers and publishers have become far too scared of financial failure to try new things.
The latest victim appears to be Airtight Games. Having just recently released new IP Murdered: Soul Suspect, Airtight has closed its offices and is selling off its equipment four weeks after the game shipped.
Although an independent developer, Airtight had worked most recently with Square Enix. Its last two releases were Quantum Conundrum and Murdered: Soul Suspect which were both published by Square Enix. The company’s first release, Dark Void, was published by Capcom in 2012. Airtight also self-published three games, two on iOS and one on Ouya.
Rumours of troubles at Airtight had been circulating since the developer laid off 14 employees in April. At the time, corporate leadership told the press that it was standard procedure for companies in that stage of developing a game. While no then-current or ex-employees of Airtight indicated any financial issues, reports indicated that there may be cause for concern and that turned out to be fact.
No official statement about the state of Airtight has come from the company or current publishing partner Square Enix. However, GeekWire visited the Airtight offices to find the office closed with a sign for an equipment sale out front and a collection of past awards sitting on a table, most of which were E3 2013 awards for Murdered.
Given the lack of commercial and critical success of Murdered and Square Enix’s almost ridiculous expectations of major releases, as evidenced by them calling Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution commercial failures despite having respectable sales numbers, it seem as though this news was inevitable. A little more money, polish and not being shackled to some triple-A gameplay expectations could have saved this game and studio. Couldn’t we say that about every game, though.