Steam game Towns has turned into a cyber ghost town, being officially abandoned when developers ceased production after the game had already been released for some time. The game grew in popularity, promising to create a sim like RPG game. Since its release in November of 2012 it has sold over 200,000 copies, and amassed a large fan base. Towns’ attempted to combine several elements of gameplay. This may have contributed to their trouble with completing the game.
The game developers were inspired by games such as Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress. Instead of playing a hero that explores the dungeon the player controls the hero’s town, which is on top of a dangerous dungeon.
When the highly anticipated Greenlight game was released for $15, a number of bugs came with it. Granted it came out before Valve launched Steam Early Access, which would have allowed them an “alpha” or “beta” stage to work out the kinks, but they sold their product without even mentioning it was an incomplete. Making a game is known to be no easy task, but players were furious that the company failed to announce that the game was a work in progress (for possible fear of sales loss). On top of that there was a number of reports of failure to properly refund unsatisfied customers. Naturally Towns was slammed with bad reviews, but bad press alone is not enough to completely turn a Steam game into a ghost town.
The game itself is very innovative and addicting. A management / strategy / RPG makes for an interesting experience and hours of unique game play. Users get to play god and control a town of people and ensure their survival. They can make their towns people build, explore the dungeon underneath the town, and fight beasts along the way. As they progress they can attract more townsfolk and new heroes. With its isometric–view there is nothing special about the graphics, and the controls are easy to get used to after some time. The game is very similar to Dwarf Fortress so players familiar with this game will get the hang of Towns right away.
Overall this game is not very difficult, but it can get frustrating. Even without the glitches players spend a majority of the game building just to have half their population wiped out by one monster overlooked. Despite it all people were still willing to cling onto the game. With constant updates and additions people were hopeful that everything would polish off eventually.
So what turned such a promising Steam game into a ghost town? Xavi Canal, the lead developer of the team, left in February and handed the game over to Florian “Moebius” Frankenberger. Unfortunately the workload was too much for the indie game developer and after a long decline of game sales he called it quits early in May. Although Frankenberger is sad to let go he hints at a possible “Towns 2” for fans to look forward to. The game is still available today on Steam or the Towns game website.
By Morgan Louchen