Yesterday, Andrew Spinks (aka Redigit) announced his decision to stop the development of Terraria and concentrate his efforts on his family and his unborn son. The decision has caught his user base completely by surprise and chimed like an impossibly loud note on an impossibly large drum.
“After a lot of internal debate, we have decided that it is time to move on. My wife and I are due to have another boy soon, and I want to spend some time getting to know him. I also want to spend the time recharging and bettering myself as both a programmer and game designer.”
For a game that sold over a million copies and that has a large online user base, I’m pretty sure a few elves died somewhere trying to keep the Internet from collapsing into a squall. But the important question on the minds of any fan is what now?
The game still has some – not many, but some – outstanding bugs that need to be addressed. On the other hand, the multiplayer component was never fully developed, with a game that was only sold on Steam lacking any of Steam features for multiplayer and forcing the players to host their own games. Conversely, the Suggestions forum was until now one of the game’s most active sub-forums, indicating a necessity of gamers to see new content added.
To this, all Andrew has to say is a laconic “I have learned a lot from working on Terraria and plan on using what I’ve learned, building upon it, and moving forward with another, even better project. However, we are still planning at least one more bug fix for Terraria.”
It’s quite understanding that a developer may want to decide for themselves when it’s the time to move on. Particularly when it comes as a personal decision. But when you sell over a million copies is there a cost in the form of an obligation to your community? Or does that money come for free? And how much of that obligation isn’t gamers entitlement?
For now, we know Andrew Spinks will stay off the gaming radar tending to his personal matters and planning some unknown project. How long this will take, only he knows. But will he again give up supporting his user base less than an year after he releases it?
Fool me once…