The Culling: Origins, the free-to-play do-over of The Culling that went live in September 2018, will be closed in May. Developer Xaviant said in a farewell message that it had hoped in-app purchased would generate enough revenue to support the battle royale game, but it hasn’t worked out.
Xaviant decided to make The Culling free to play after the release of The Culling 2 in July 2018 went disastrously wrong. Players were unhappy with the state of the game, which deviated dramatically from the original, and were also angry that Xaviant halted development of The Culling just a couple of months after it went into full release so it could work on the sequel. The backlash was so intense that the studio elected to pull the plug on The Culling 2 just a few weeks after releasing it and turn its attention back to the first game instead.
“When we launched the Origins update and made the game free to play, our hope was that the revenue generated from in-app purchases would be enough to sustain our team and support ongoing development, but unfortunately that was not the case,” director of operations Josh Van Veld wrote.
“Even with thousands of active daily users, the revenue was only a fraction of what our dev team required to continue daily operations. As a result, we’ve been forced to reduce our team size, which renders us unable to provide ongoing support and updates that would allow the game to grow and thrive.”
The Culling servers will go offline on May 15. Offline modes will remain playable after that, but online play and related features will not—and since it’s an online game, that’s pretty much the end of it. The Steam store page, with options to purchase Starter and Founder Packs, is still up but will be taken down “as soon as possible,” and in-app purchases will also be disabled.
Van Veld offered a sliver of hope for die-hard fans that the game could continue to operate under the care and control of someone else by inviting other studios interested in “exploring the game’s potential” to contact Xaviant about a takeover. “We think that with the proper resources and know-how in the free to play world, the right group could make great things happen,” he wrote.
It’s not how Xaviant itself will be affected. I’ve reached out to the studio for more information and will update if I receive a reply.