If you've been waiting for the third episode in Penny Arcade Adventures, it's not coming. With PAX 2010, the Penny Arcade duo and Hothead team announced the sad news today. Why? The series simply wasn't doing too well, and Hothead Games had other projects to focus on.
You may have heard this morning that Mike and Jerry announced that there won’t be a third installment of On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. Sadly, I can confirm that this news is true. We had a lot of fun working on the Penny Arcade game. I mean, how often in your career do you get a chance to make something that involves robots, uhh, fornicating with fruit? And working so closely with Mike and Jerry, two guys that are at once creative and crazy, was uniquely enjoyable.
We’ve been looking long and hard at a way to get Episode Three done but have come to realize that it just doesn’t make sense for us as a company to complete the next installment. Primary among the reasons for this were the focus we felt we needed to put into DeathSpank and Swarm. With our recently announced EA partnership on DeathSpank we’re more excited than ever about sharing our work with you all.
The first episode of Precipice of Darkness did relatively well, with the XBLA version stealing 45 percent of all sales; PSN occupies 15-20 percent of the entire figure, Greenhouse occupies 25 percent, and Steam came in lowest at 10-15 percent. Then there's Episode Two, which only had one-third the sales of One. Ouch.
It really is such a shame. The team had previously gone the RPG-adventure route because the Penny Arcade community specifically requested some sort of RPG. So what went wrong? Hothead's Vlad Ceraldi has theories, pinning the game's progressively poor performance mostly on poor marketing (They're developers, not PR!) and the general challenge of selling episodic content. The Penny Arcade Adventures didn't capture the attention of a broader audience due to poor exposure, and revenue was slow due to episodic distrubution.
"Realistically, episodic is a... challenge," Ceraldi notes. He also mentions TellTale's success with Monkey Island, explaining that "most of their sales have come from pre-sales of the whole season." Needless to say, DeathSpank is not taking the episodic route.