Zombie Cow Studios, the indie developer behind top adventure games Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please!, has announced that it's scrapped a third game in the series "after a year of off-on development" lest it churn out "a sub-par game."
Zombie Cow explained that it saw Time Gentlemen, Please! as "the ultimate Adventure Game satire" and Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican would add nothing new:
Writing Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican, it felt like we were going over old, worn ground. Again and again. We've done all this. We've seen it all before. There's nothing fresh or new and exciting about it - it's Dan and Ben using items and collecting things and being wry and cutting about them. It felt a little like making Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican would only wind up diminishing the impact and memory of the first two games, and no one wants that. Least of all us.
Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican's cancellation won't be the end of Ben and Dan, Zombie Cow explains, but for now it's seeking something different.
I'm extremely keen to revisit Dan and Ben, the fictional ones. But not like this, not in a way that makes me unhappy, and not in a way that's anything less than utterly amazing. We've wrestled with dozens of plots and setups and ways of keeping it interesting, but ultimately a third Dan and Ben adventure game right now just feels rather flat.
I should point out that this is an insanely difficult decision: as an indie with nigh-on zero money, I can't really afford to look at hundreds of man-hours work and just laugh it off. As someone who loves games and only wants to make brilliant ones, I really don't want to release something that's leaving me so cold.
"I've currently got no idea what the next big game from Zombie Cow Studios is, which is terrifying," the dev said. "But I'm 99% sure whatever it is will be completely brillo."
Zombie Cow most recently released the apparently education side-on shooter Privates. DLC for the free game has also been announced, due around Easter 2011.
If you fancy knowing more about the game that will never be, those chaps at Rock, Paper, Shotgun bugged the Zombie Cow office and managed to learn a little.
Don't these guys get how the industry works? You get a good idea and then you iterate on it indefinitely.
They are artistes, not soulless cash sucking corporations that dilute their IP and trust with every subsequent release.
A lofty aim, fo' sho. But if it's funny and it's good, I don't see a problem with more of the same. I didn't personally play the first two as ahhhht but as well written, badly drawn, awesome games.
If it was shit on the other hand, hats off to them for such ballsy quality control and pride in their work.