Making video games is no walk in the park. Yes, tools these days make it easy for anyone to pick up the development mantle and make their own game, like Bear Simulator. However, the developer found out the hard way that sometimes criticisms can be harsh and the internet harsher, and in result he's decided to quit game development.
Kotaku did a large editorial about the Bear Simulator situation. They recount how developer John Farjay managed to rack in $100,000 on Kickstarter to make Bear Simulator, and after two years of development managed to get the game through Greenlight and on Steam. However, after receiving some criticisms from the likes of PewDiePie and some gamers and backers who weren't pleased with the final outcome, Farjay has decided to hang up his boots.
On Kickstarter the developer made an update, indicating that he was done with game development, writing...
Well the game didn't have a great reception, has a stigma against it's name and there's plenty of other problems so making any updates or going further is basically a lost cause now. Plus not skilled enough to make the game better than it currently is or write better updates than previously.
He mentioned that it would have been better to just give the game away for free instead of releasing it on Steam. Why? Well, if you check the Steam store page for Bear Simulator you will see that the game has a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam. While that's actually pretty good, Farjay is only focused on the people who have not been the most positive.
Out of the 146 reviews on record (at the time of writing this article), 31 of those reviews are negative. While Farjay has focused on those negative reviews, the reality is that they actually aren't that negative. Most praise Farjay for the Bear Simulator concept but note that the game is really rough around the edges and they've encountered numerous bugs and glitches in the game. Many also note that the fighting isn't very refined and they've managed to find other animals and objects stuck in the ground.
Most of the negative reviews contain constructive criticism... the kind of thing that a developer should want in order to make improvements to the game and make it a better overall experience for everyone. A few of the criticisms also point out that Farjay hasn't been the most communicative when it comes to letting financial backers know what was up with development, and that he didn't always explain why the game was delayed or what roadblocks he was running into.
However, the negative reviews coupled with a negative video from YouTuber PewDiePie sent Farjay over the edge. He notes that he's still going to produce some updates and fixes for Bear Simulator but that he isn't enjoying life as a game developer at all, writing in the Kickstarter update...
Will make another game update with Kickstarter Island included and some other fixes, leave a comment below of what you really want fixed. Will work on fixes and features until you're all happy and content then stop.
When it comes to creative works there's really no such thing as pleasing everyone. The fact that Farjay's first game was positively received on Steam – arguably the biggest digital distribution outlet in the world – is something most people would have been ecstatic about. However, Farjay sees it as a cup half full and what negativity he's garnered from his Kickstarter project (which managed to rack up a surprising amount of financial support to be from an unproven developer) has left a permanent scar on his outlook on game design.
Bear Simulator is available right now for $14.99. Based on Farjay's comments, this will likely be his first and last video game.