Chronicles of Elyria Canceled, Studio Fires All Staff
In a shocking development, it seems Chronicles of Elyria is no more. Caspian, the founder of Soulbound Studios, made an announcement titled: Chronicles of Elyria: Into the Abyss which starts by chronicling some of the progress the game had made over the years. It isn't until towards the end of the post that we learn that the entire staff has been let go and that Soulbound Studios has run out of money.
Chronicle of Elyria was first revealed on November 16, 2015 and launched a Kickstarter campaign on May 03, 2016. The Kickstarter campaign proved to be a success, raising over $1,300,000. The game continued crowdfunding off Kickstarter over the years, with over $8,000,000 raised to date. Soulbound Studios, the company behind Chronicles of Elyria, put a great deal of emphasis on the lore and roleplaying aspects of the game. Community forums and outreach early in development led to the creation of multiple guilds led by 'nobles' who had pre-purchased in-game land within the game. Unfortunately, little in the way of gameplay was ever revealed to the public during the roughly 4 years of development.
But to our great sadness.... with the failure of Settlers of Elyria, and five long months of only limited crowdfunding revenue coming in, Soulbound Studios has officially run out of money. Last night I was forced to do something I never thought I'd have to do. I closed the online store, put the SoE map back into read-only mode, and laid off all the employees...
The closest we got to seeing any gameplay for Chronicles of Elyria was a short obstacle course style demo released to Alpha testers this month.
The official post does leave the door open to some sort of future for Chronicles of Elyria, and the forums and discord servers will remain online for now. There was no mention of refunds or compensation for those who pre-purchased land and titles of nobility within Chronicles of Elyria. In fact, it seems the company deliberately removed transaction history from user's accounts!
To Soulbound's credit, they made the decision to shut down development rather raise more money from the community:
While we had no doubt that our backers would come to our aid, we're living in a volatile period in our world's history. With unprecedented changes to society caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, and with economies beginning to suffer all around the world, I made the hard decision not to try and get additional crowdfunding. I knew doing so would mean having to close the studio. But it was the right thing to do. I'd rather people spend their money on games they can play now, or better yet, food and shelter, rather than on the continuned development of Chronicles of Elyria.
EDIT: Keeping the official discord server up may have been a mistake. Customers, some of whom had "invested" $10,000+ into their titles of nobility were furious:
Readers should be aware that they can contact their credit card issueing bank directly and request a Charge Back for undelivered services. For more info on charge backs, read this Credit Karma post.
Further Reading: Official Post