It's a true shame when a game doesn't perform as well as a development team hopes, but it can also be a complete disaster with jobs on the line. The Culling 2 is one such disaster, but a huge pivot from the Xaviant team may keep the crew afloat. Director of Operations Josh Van Veld revealed today that The Culling 2 is being pulled from stores, refunds will be given out, and the team is putting the original game back into development. The Culling will be free-to-play once the new updates go into effect as well.
In his message to the community, Xaviant director of operations Josh Van Veld states that The Culling 2 is "not a game that you asked for" and described it as not being the game the community expected as a worthy successor to the original game. That's a bit of an understatement as the sequel completely shifted away from things that made The Culling stand out for an experience that resembled the popular battle royale game PUBG.
Nevertheless, the team is taking full responsibility by giving refunds and Xaviant has a second chance to save face with the community they built with The Culling. Van Veld also apologized for how the team handled The Culling. "We realized that we changed too much too fast and that there was something unique and very special about the personality of that game that we were too eager to modify, balance, and retune," he says about the first game's initial launch. "We took a game that you guys loved and we changed out from under you and I want to apologize for that."
Van Veld is pretty candid from that point on as well, reflecting on how the team wasn't happy with how the community felt about the changes to The Culling and pointing out that they didn't see a path forward. That is what ultimately led to them dropping the project and moving on to The Culling 2.
"In retrospect, that was a mistake," he adds. "What we see is that there's tremendous value in the day one build of The Culling and you've been asking for it. It's been hard for us to accept that that's something that we need to put the work into to get to you, but we've decided it's time."
The day one form of The Culling from the March 2016 launch is coming to test servers. PC players that already own the game can download it and the team is diving into the development of The Culling. The original build will remain in test servers as a reference point. The updated version from the game's launch out of early access will be modified to mirror the day one build as close as possible. It will also be free-to-play once they apply the new update.