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Legends of Pegasus: Novacore Studios Filed Bankruptcy

By on October 8th, 2012 10:53 am

Legends of Pegasus

Kalypso Media, Legends of Pegasus’ publisher, announced in their forums that Novacore Studios, the game’s developer, will most probably not provide more patches to Legends of Pegasus because it had to declare bankruptcy. Kalypso’s full announcement was:

“Developer Novacore had to fine for bancruptcy this week. We assume there will be no further development of patches for Legends of Pegasus but cannot make any statements on the state of the bancruptcy.

It is also legally not possible for us to just hand out the source code of the game for further community development as the code also includes software that is not open source.

This situation is very unsatisfactory, for us but of course especially for you. But it is all we can say for now.” ~Kalypso Media

The developers also made a statement on their website:

“We very much regret to inform that the Novacore Studios UG has to quit the operation and further development work because of insolvency. We thank all of our employees and partners for their cooperation during the last two years.” ~Novacore Studios

Very sad news. But, after what happened with LoP’s rough release back in August this year, not totally unexpected news one has to say.

Kalypso Media promptly admitted that the release was “very rocky and totally not what we wanted it to be. The flood of problems has really surprised us.” ~Kalypso Media Forums (“Kalypsochris” nickname).

The concept seemed strong, the videos put out were interesting and we even did two (very satisfactory) interviews with the Novacore’s CEO. However, Legends of Pegasus was barely playable at release time, mostly due its instability, with many crashes, but also due to some parts of the game that were still unfinished, like the skirmish/sand-box mode where you could only play against one AI for example.

Later on, Kalypso announced that they were providing a “free loyalty bonus package” for customers affected by Legends of Pegasus “technical issues”. They apologized for the problems and the overall disappointment but showed commitment to both the game and the community. “We will continue to work on future updates to [Legends of Pegasus] using the incredibly helpful and constructive feedback provided by the great community on these forums.”. ~Kalypso Media Forums (“Timo” nickname).

But, now the developer has declared insolvency, and so, it looks like this will be the end for Legends of Pegasus, and a very sad day for the 4X genre also. On the bright side of things (I always try to find the bright side) I guess that all the people who were involved in the game’s development and publishing have learned a lot from this process. After all, you only fail if you try. I’m sure that whatever people involved in this project will do in the future they will do it much better.

Good luck to the Novacore developers’ new adventures, and, better luck next time.

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52 Comments


  1. RandomBlue says:

    That’s unfortunate though not unexpected given the state of the first release. However, I expected them to last longer than than did, it hasn’t even been two months since release.

  2. Kyle Rees says:

    This is very depressing news indeed. LOP and other news of developers giving up on this genre goes to show that it is not easy. I can imagine all the development challenges for designing a modern 4x game where you need the ship designer, tactical combat, strategy side, diplomacy, and AI. That is like 4 games in one.

    We are also out of luck with the fact that major studios do not see profits in this genre.

    Really depressing news indeed.

  3. DeLastOne says:

    And this is the story on how a publisher have pressure the release of an unfinished game and sink one of the most promising studios to come…

    this is how the industry has been dealt for many years now.
    And I do not honestly think this is the fault of the developpers or studio (what kind of devs would like his work to be so badly buggy ?) but mostly about how publishers rush to release product for obscure financial reason… that is not the first time and that won’t be the last time it happen…

    Kalypso Media, despite a great products catalog, is solely responsible for this situation.

    • RandomBlue says:

      And no doubt they probably still won’t refund customers. Thankfully I did finally get Steam to refund my purchase.

    • DeLastOne says:

      Should have wrote : “And I honestly think this is not the fault of the developpers or studio”…

      was too upset to read myself back…

  4. Da-Fort says:

    Very sad this happened. I could not buy the game as money is tight right now, so I lucked out. But I did want this game to do well. When I read the forum I had the same feeling I had when Sots ][ was released. Luckily Kerberos is patching the game even a year past release. I think its because Paradox supports its games. What ever the case may be it is a sad day when a good 4X title dies.

  5. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Thank God on whoever mentioned distant worlds on Kalypso’s LOP forum. That guy/gal saved me from this

    • Adam F5ing says:

      I’ll mention Ai Wars too, though its more of a space dungeon game /with supreme commander rts elements, then a 4x but I really like the difference, its got a ton of mods and game options to make it more enjoyable too

      • Towerbooks3192 says:

        I am not the RTS kind of person but I will tolerate slow paced/pausable ones but the thing is with AI war is that you are an ant among gods with the AI and I can’t get over the fear of trying to challenge them.

        I mean with games like supreme commander, you are on even ground with the AI however with AI war, the odds are stacked against you.

        I must admit that despite its graphics, AI War is one of the best AI I have encountered in a game that would keep on surprising you. I have to say that AI War is the dark souls of space RTS and yes I applaud the devs for instilling fear on me whenever I play the game. I sort of hate the feeling of fear and hoplessness in AI War but its great nonetheless

  6. Garmine says:

    2nd this day… what is happening ?!

  7. Adam C says:

    Quiet the ethical dilemma, all in all I believe Kalypso Media to be totally wrong with how they did business with Novacore. Should a publisher push out a game just before a developer declares insolvency? NO! Everyone who brought Legends of Pegasus was cheated, I for one.

    I am going to be very careful now with Kalypso Media games not to mention quiet a few other publishers!

    • DeLastOne says:

      Could not agree more…

    • SQW says:

      What ethical dilemma? Novacore signed to the contract with Kalypso to delivery X by date Y in exchange for $Z development cost. Novacore failed to deliver a proper product, failed to meet expect sales and revenue target and folded due to cash flow problem.

      Why are you blaming Kalypso and not the company that didn’t even have the most basic project management system for this fiasco?

      • DeLastOne says:

        @SQW

        Maybe because Kalypso did decide anyway to release the game on the market hidding all the flaws of the game, giving pre release interviews without telling the real state of the current game…

        Maybe because at the end of the day they should just have close the studio and fill bankrupcy instead of thinking players are just cow milk ?

        If the studio fail to deliver what the promised to Kalypso, that is a story between themself. When Kalypso start to release the game knowing all about the problems, bugs and flaws, then it become our problem and their mistake, not to say “criminal” decision.

        • SQW says:

          I’m not excusing the asshole move by either party but Novacore is just as much at fault for all the points you raised. Frankly, I wouldn’t touch Kalypso titles with a clown pole after Dungeons but don’t paint Novacore as the poor little dev being bullied by a big publisher.

          The publisher’s first goal is to make money, and failing that, recover as much investment as possible. That, at least, is cold hard business logic I can sympathise and also the reason gamers should ignore hype surrounding a new release.

          What’s Novacore’s excuse?

        • DeLastOne says:

          Well I am not excusing anymore…

          Really my point was to say than Kalypso took the players for cow milk and have been really dishonest by releasing this crap… They should just have pull the plug earlier and assume their bad investment instead of letting “us” pay for their mistakes…

          :) I hope we can agree on that :)

      • Evil Azrael says:

        You know the contract? Can you tell us a little more about it? Or are you just guessing the contract was done in this way.

        • DeLastOne says:

          Does it really sound like anything else to you ? Just answering the question : who decided to release the game ? You do not need any contract between the studio and the publisher for a release date.

          Publisher probably ask for delivery deadline- That is obvious.

          But at the end if the game is not finished and with a lot of flaws, do you really believe they weren’t aware ? If this is the case then they should just fired the project manager for this game.

          What they actually do is no different from a book publishing house.
          Games publishers aren’t going anywhere. They control the nexus between the content creator and the content consumer

          Typicaly how publisher works is very well explain on the wikipedia article . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_publisher.

          I don’t see how we could argue on that point and how Kalypso could be not held responsible for the release on market. If Novacore did not commit to their contract with Kalypso, this is not to me to judge. They are paying it the high price already.

  8. Mark says:

    This is so unfortunate. The game was coming along and was becoming much more stable by the end. I can’t say how much longer would have been needed to implement the skirmish AI, fleet management, and trade. Why did Novacore go bankrupt under two months of release of LoP? Lack of publisher support?

    My trust in Kalypso is nonexistent now. You can read through the LoP forum at Kalypso and see for yourself the blatant dishonestly of the moderators before, during and after launch if anyone cares to verify for themselves. LoP was pushed out the door without regard for the developers or customers. The whole situation looks like such a desperate act that I can’t help wondering if Kalypso won’t be far behind Novacore. Time will tell.

  9. harry says:

    OFF.. they lied in the beginning..

    Sorry.. but if you publish a game without any AI.. comon.
    They realy hard deserved it. I hope Kalypso really lost some money on this. They have to learn it on the hard way!

  10. Ashbery76 says:

    I recall being frustrated by the lack of info about A.I and no videos showing real gameplay pre launch.I am glad I did not buy it.

    It seems stupid that they put so much work into a campaign when the base game was half finished.

    Shame as the game looked good in theory.

  11. Evil Azrael says:

    There is still one question open: Who earns all the money from future sales? Who owns all the rights to the game and its assets? Kalypso?

  12. zigzag says:

    It’s extremely disappointing to see a game with so much potential fail completely. LoP promised many interesting and innovative features – seamless transition between a TBS strategic layer and an RTS tactical layer, asymmetrical factions, etc. – even if the final product didn’t implement these features as well as it should have. I hope that these ideas aren’t lost, and that future 4x developers look back at LoP for inspiration.

  13. Walter says:

    This situation with this game is disappointing as I feel robbed market may say something like that and then the company went bankrupt? kalypso that lack of respect and seriousness to the players is that neither Sword of the Stars II because at least kerberos responded and put the game in a state of at least being able to play decently but this news is extremely bad and disappointing as re-buy a game promoted by kalypso with similar backgrounds???

    Wait almost eight months this game was anxiously among the first to buy it and now come with this??? not very, very disappointing. I played Distant Worlds Legends from matrix games and let me tell you that is a very very good game but has made an almost perfect with this game distant worlds legends speak of Distant Worlds is a masterpiece but Legends of Pegasus is a great super disappointment….

    Let me tell you distant worlds legends is a modest game in 2d from matrix games but i am surprise with this game is very deep and i played more or less during two weeks two hours every day and never never SEE A BUG…this is that i call quality in a game !!! sorry but is very very disappointment…. this situation with novacore and kalypso… i know what i suppose that i do with the game legends of pegasus ??? Delete from my pc ???

  14. Jeff P says:

    Every signal was present that Legends of Pegasus was going to be a turkey:

    – Very complex and ambitious game concept from an unknown design house and second-tier publisher.

    – Secrecy surrounds the project: no gameplay footage, no open or public alpha/beta testing, no pre-release reviews, no demo. Publisher handles all PR, designers are shielded from public comment.

    – Publisher forum peppered with over-the-top supportive posts, suggesting publisher was posting anonymously.

    – Pre-release updates contain screenshots that suggest game design is still in flux up to the launch date.

    I’m very glad I didn’t get this mess, and I sympathize with anyone who was stung.

    Perhaps we can memorialize Legends of Pegasus by making it a verb, as in “I was LOP’ed by this worthless game”, or “That developer is LOP’ing their game into the bargain bin.”

  15. lammaer says:

    This is the rare cases in the real life when someone gets what he deserves.
    Jeff is right, it was never intended to be a good game, they lied all the time. I dont care what it could be, I do care what they said and what they did – two completely different things. I can also dream a perfect game, but I wont get the money from the people if I know I can’t and won’t deliver it.

    Now they are closed – and that is what should happen with all the compaines/devs like this one.

    ps: I’m working in the software industry as a QA leader (million dollar project), and even ther I have the right to say the business if something will fail and they will listen. It’s a BS that a gamedeveloper can’t do the same.

    • DeLastOne says:

      Lammaer,

      With all due respect I must disagree with you. The publisher is solely responsible of the situation. They are the financial asset of the game studio. They knew the studio was financially a disaster and that it was going to bankrupt if there wasn’t something out now.
      So they pushed the release to make some money out of it and to make it less a disaster for their wallet.
      Do you really believe the devs and QA guy had any word to said about it ? Bullocks. They may have raise their concerns but at the end they must just shut up and listen to the boss, so to say the investor, Kalypso.

      No matter what, I am sure than those developers wanted to continue to perfect the game, to work more on it, to work on the AI… but life is hard on those than have high expectation in a world run by deadlines and finance… C´est la vie.

      • killias2 says:

        I can’t blame the publisher for doing what they had to do. If it was a studio owned by Kalypso or something, that would be one thing, but, in this situation, the publisher’s job was to release a finished product.

        The developer failed to provide said finished product.

  16. lammaer says:

    Well… of course we never will find out what was behind the scenes. But we can agree, this release was carefully orchestrated to steal the money from the eager players (not a single minute of actual gameplay was shown before the release, only teasers, preorder was enabled) and I’m pretty sure it’s not just the evil publisher who participated in it.

  17. Robert says:

    I purchased the game rewarding aspects I considered very good for the kind 4x.
    To my extreme disappointment I must say I was struck by the lack of transparency of Kalypso.
    They went on to say that they were working with the developers to fix the game … so it was not!
    I will think 10 times before buying a new game from Kalypso, and probably the tenth time
    I will remember Legends of Pegasus and I will not buy the game.

    Many companies have gone through disastrous launch: ex. WOM, Sots 2.
    But they persevered and released patches to make the game at least playable.
    This is something that those who buy games will remember.

  18. Jennifer says:

    And this is why I will never Kickstart a computer game.

  19. Sigurdur says:

    Oddly enough, the game is still available on Steam and on Kalypso’s website.

    http://kalypsomedia.com/en/games/legends-of-pegasus/index.shtml

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/205590/

    • Adam F5ing says:

      35 * 30000 = 1.05mil im guessing the game didnt sell that much likely with units much less then that im guessing that kalypso pulled the plug when novacore failed to net one million, however how the devil they can still sell a broken now unsupported game over steam and other places is the worst example of gaming business possible. Can you imagine when this game goes on sale! GG Steam!
      Who would buy a TV with a cracked screen? with its electronics fried and a lost remote? anyone? Buyers beware :(

  20. salvo says:

    btw on desura there is a new TB 4x project for alpha funding

    seems rather hardcore but may be interesting

    http://www.desura.com/games/solar-war

  21. JohnR says:

    I hear you Adam about “looking on the bright side of things” and being a good politically correct politician and not criticizing anyone. Still in all, a lot of consumers who bought the game in good faith got screwed, and IMHO it’s hard to sugar-coat that.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I hear you John. And I thank you for your comment that I will use to explain my position.

      My primary job here is to review games, not judge the people who developed or published them. I’m convinced that close to nobody would buy the game after reading my LoP review (lowest score to date), and I was not the only one warning people about the game’s unfinished state.

      My position is that people should avoid (or never) pre-order games when there’s no first-hand information available about a particular game, especially when they are expensive. That was the case with LoP as it was the case with SotS2 by the way. When there’s no open or closed beta, and you don’t see hands-on previews anywhere, that’s the first warning sign that you should be extremely careful about jumping into a high-price game.

      No matter how many interviews or trailers you read and watch nothing compares with an hands-on preview. It’s not a review but it’s a way to know if things are “ok” and in-line with what was advertised. Because the preview’s objective (in my view) is exactly that. To describe what the game has to offer trying not to judge. Clearly things were NOT OK with LoP but the publishers didn’t send out preview copies, so, there was no way to tell. And that’s another clear sign (although not fact) that something could be wrong.

      My official position on who’s to blame on this failure if fairly simple (and obvious). With probably a different degree of blame (we don’t know, we can only speculate) both the devs and the publishers are to be blamed. The developers for not delivering and the publishers for releasing a clearly unfinished game, that required more testing, polishing and development. Consumers who pre-ordered the game were caught in the middle.

      One may argue about “what needs to be done needs to be done” in favor of business. I disagree. I put morality and ethical behavior above anything material any day. Even if not today or tomorrow, someday you must find a way to compensate the people who were not happy with your product because it was unstable or unfinished. Or you do that or sooner or later you’ll go under. It’s with games as with a bakery or any other business. Leave the bread half-baked and sell it same price and the next day you have half the customers. Leave it half-baked again and in 2 weeks you need to close doors.

      One may question if consumers are also to be blamed or not in this equation. I think we are talking about a different kind of blame here. It’s not the consumer’s fault that the game is in the state it is, and you cannot ask for people’s patience till a product is finished because the game was not advertised as an alpha or beta product, but a full game (to my knowledge). So, people who pre-ordered were unfortunate yes, but they are not to be blamed for the process outcome.

      So, what to do now?

      Novacore is bankrupt. End of the line for them. Kalypso says that further patching work is unlikely. They suffered a major reputation hit. Consumers may decide to accept the setback or try a refund (I know that some people managed to get a refund, even from Steam).

      I say, it’s time to move one and learn the lesson.

  22. Josh Thomson says:

    Urgh i may actually try to get a refund now. I pre-ordered, it came out, it was buggy but had potential. I thought ‘okay im not gunna flip out, loads of games are buggy on release and ill give them a chance’ They went mad and churned out patches near the start but after no patches for a while and seeing this im pretty disappointed. Im not so much angry with them because stuff like this happens (second time for me with Kingdoms of Amalur) but i will be trying to get a refund. Kudos to Novacore for making what could have been a decent game though

  23. Walter says:

    I will think 100 times before buying a new game from Kalypso

    Many companies have gone through disastrous launch: for example Sword of the stars 2.
    but the kerberos team and paradox support the team and help to put the game in a playable state
    But they persevered and released patches to make the game at least playable.

    and i agree with other friend from the forum:

    This is something that those who buy games will remember.

    Kalypso is probable that i never buy a game from you never …!!! this is a disaster the way that you handle this with legends of pegasus

  24. McyD says:

    I think a law needs to be put into effect that any company that files bankruptcy must release its source code for any products sold.

  25. Adam F5ing says:

    I’ve emailed both Steam and Kalypso Media, Kalypso pasted a email reply within a day asking to provide steam username and proof of purchase (as the TB video indicated), just mention your countries consumer protection law in its the Sales of Goods ACT, they seem to be taking the motions of honouring though i’ve yet to know if the refund has been completed.

  26. Saracen says:

    The problem with this game wasn’t that the 4X genre was dying anyways, and that it was hard to create a new game. Rather, the biggest obstacle was obvious: they released an alpha version that was marketed as a full release. Hell, it was even buggier than most alphas of other games. The developers should have learned lessons from Endless Space and Sins of a Solar Empire, and it’s interesting how they are now eating their own words (“Forget your Sins!”). LOL.

  27. absorbentgene says:

    Sword of the stars two, is the only game that had me absolutely enraged to the point where I wanted to return it. I fought with them and they never paid me back and I will probably never touch the game again because of just how awful of a betrayal it was.

    Legends of Pegasus leaves a bitter taste instead of making me rage. Pegasus had no grand history that SOTS did, and it was from an unknown developer, so you didn’t know what to expect. So while it is disappointing that it didn’t turn out that great and finally fizzled out, it at least was not as bad as SOTS 2 was.

  28. Daniel says:

    Not great news but also a lesson for current developers and warnings for those who have themselves shipped uncompleted games. it seems to be a growing trend for developers to ship product before completion. At least in my experience with games that I’ve brought in the last 2 years.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Unfortunately, your perception seems to be correct.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      This is probably more the problem how the business is run today. Wrong project management, too tight schedules or budgets and too optimistic developers.

      • Adam Solo says:

        I agree.

        I don’t know so well what’s happening outside the strategy realm but in strategy I guess people started to take advantage of the “evolve with the fan base” approach, like Stardock started to do with GalCiv games. And what usually happens with Civilization games too, and others.

        Strategy games are hard games to balance. They are difficult games to get right. So, Stardock and Firaxis and others release and then commit to balance the game right, many times fixing stuff and even introducing new bits of content here and there. We all know this. It’s still controversial of course, but if the games are playable and enjoyable enough, and companies are recognized as trustworthy, people usually accept this model, as it even has its advantages, since the fans have a word on the final development touches. In other words, it works when it’s done in good faith.

        However, today we are witnessing a new wave of strategy developers and publishers that try to follow this new development strategy and decide to release games by date X, whatever the state is, and hope that people accept their “game” in the meantime they finish it with the generated sales (some during pre-orders) and possible DLCs and expansions.

        See? The strategy is the same, but it only works if people are in good faith and do their work properly, following the book, going through all the software development stages, including the critical Q&A phase (testing).

        What happens is that some developers and publishers were not up to the task (for whatever reasons) and they deliver miserable products and still hope they can in some way be accepted because, hey, strategy is more niche, right? So, we’ll be fine. WRONG!

        The best I see is for all developers and publishers to follow things by the book. Alpha, Beta and then, and only then, release officially. There must always be a thorough beta phase, if possible involving the customers. Look at Elemental. Look at how Stardock now goes with lengthy beta stages involving the players after their debacle with Elemental: War of Magic. This is the way it shall be done. I’m not saying people are in bad faith, sometimes sh*t happens, so the best is to do things by the book and be honest. If things went wrong, and you still need to cash in badly, then the best is to announce it publicly. Say that your game isn’t finished and you need more time. You’ll be surprised by how many people that would still be willing to help you and buy your game.

        The rule of thumb would be. If there’s no word on a preview copy being released for early assessment by gaming sites; there’s no word on how the beta testing went; and the company and/or the developers don’t have a solid record, then the best is to stay away from pre-orders and wait for a couple of reviews to come out before buying.

        Of course, even the giants fall, so, even if the company is respectable the best really is to always wait for a couple of reviews to come out before buying, unless there’s an open beta going on for considerable time and people have access to a few hands-on previews of the game.

        And, my personal suggestion: Don’t pre-order digital games that are already finished (or close to being finished) if they don’t offer beta access. It’s too risky. Pre-orders were and are used to assure you got a copy of your physical box game and for publishers to have an idea of how many copies they needed to print. If the game is digital, what’s the point? In that case it’s always better to wait for the game to come out officially, read a couple of reviews and then decide to buy or not.


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