Dark Matter developer InterWave Studios says the game’s abrupt “wall of text” ending, which has attracted a lot of attention on YouTube, is the fault of a failed Kickstarter and a blown budget.
About four hours into Dark Matter, a “2.5D side-scrolling survival horror game” that launched on Steam a few days ago, something surprising happens: it stops. Utterly without warning, it just comes to a halt; the character steps through a nondescript door and suddenly several lines of text appear on the screen, literally telling the player that they have reached the end of the game. It is bizarre, to say the least.
It turns out that there’s a pretty good – or perhaps more accurately, simple – explanation for the sudden stop. “No, the full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldnt finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing),” developer “Viper” explained on the Steam forums. “So, we choose to go with a 6-8 hour game instead to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter.”
InterWave ran a Dark Matter Kickstarter over the summer but only managed to raise £6,227 ($8523) of a £50,000 ($68,433) goal. So apparently, with no money remaining, the team decided to just throw up a stop sign and throw the game out on Steam – which, good intentions notwithstanding, turns out to be probably not the best move it could’ve made.
“Viper” clarified in a later post that a successful Kickstarter would have meant a longer game and expanded story, although it probably would have ended up costing more than $14.99. “The current Dark Matter on Steam is a complete game in itself though,” he wrote. “There are many things to explore and many ways to go through and many things to discover. If people just run through it then yes it will be less then those 6 hours.”
He added that the team plans to change the “to be continued” part of the closing message “to make sure this will be the end of the game as is in a clear msg to everyone.”