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Behaviour Interactive ceased development on the brutal survival shooter, Deathgarden: Bloodharvest Friday after nearly half a year of triage. The makers of Dead By Daylight are punting the idea of a dour funeral, though. Instead, every feature the team have been working on was pushed out the door for players to enjoy. It’s Deathgarden: Bloodharvest’s wake, and everyone is invited because the game has now gone free-to-play.
Deathgarden, which may be the most wonderfully pure videogame title since Bonestorm, launched into Steam Early Access last year, and it looked really promising: We called it a "weird, exhilarating game of lethal hide-and-seek" in our August 2018 preview. But according to Steam Charts, it was never able to find an audience. A "relaunch" in May of this year, with the even more awesome title of Deathgarden: Bloodharvest, turned things around briefly, but after a few months the average concurrent player count had sunk back to double-digits.
Today developer Behaviour Digital announced that after working through various scenarios and possible solutions, it has decided that "none of them would change the fate of this project," and it is therefore halting development.
"Two years ago, a handful of passionate game developers at Behaviour got together to develop a new game concept. This paved the way for great talents to join the team, and we want to acknowledge the work of every single person who took part in this soulful adventure," the studio wrote. "Deathgarden was, and still is today, a project of passion. A game that we wanted to make for ourselves, but also for players around the world to enjoy."
I don't think it really qualifies as "good news" under the circumstances, but the Deathgarden servers will be kept online until at least the end of the year, so players can continue to garden their deaths "as long as matchmaking is viable." As of today it's also fully free, as are the soundtrack and lore book, and all in-game cosmetics have been reduced in price to 1 Blood. The Terminator Set DLC will remain at regular price, however, in accordance with its licensing deal.
Behaviour said it's going to "give the game a meaningful last breath by finalizing every feature we've been working on," and a final "Play With the Devs" livestream will be held at 3 pm ET on December 12, on Twitch. Anyone who purchased the game within the last month and has fewer than six hours of playtime is also eligible for a refund, which can be requested directly from Steam. Details are available in the final update patch notes and FAQ.