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Backlash to Trine 3's short length puts 'the future of the series in question,' studio says

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Fans of the Trine series reacted with hostility to the Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power's short length following its Aug. 20 launch, and developing studio Frozenbyte has responded with an apology and explanation of the game's development and scope.

Joel Kinnunen, the vice president of Frozenbyte, said Trine 3 was envisioned in 2012 as a fully 3D game and a "massive improvement over the previous games in several areas." However, "we have always been ambitious and this time our ambition may have gotten the better of us."

The $5.4 million development cost for Trine 3 was already triple the budget of 2011's Trine 2, and had they made a fully 3D game with more levels and gameplay time commensurate to its predecessors, it would have cost "probably up to $15 million, which we didn't realize until too late," Kinnunen said.

Trine 3's short length and cliffhanger story ending led many to accuse Frozenbyte of intentionally holding out content to be sold later as downloadable content. Kinnunen categorically denied that. "We tried to make something too ambitious, and it ended up financially impossible," he said.

He said there are no plans for downloadable content. Yet with regard to the cliffhanger ending in its story, Kinnunen said "continuation of the story is a different matter," even though Frozenbyte has launched everything it intended to for the game.

That said, "The future of the series is now in question, as the feedback, user reviews and poor media attention has caught us by surprise."

Despite the broad acclaim for the Trine series, Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has garnered almost 200 negative consumer reviews on Steam, most hitting the shorter-than-expected gameplay. That said, the game still has about 500 positive user reviews. The game is currently selling for $19.79, a discount from its $24.99 original price.

"What we sold on Early Access was the "realistic" vision and what we promised is what we have delivered, in our opinion," Kinnunen said. "The finished Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power game might not be as long as we hoped initially, but something we are very proud of nonetheless, and generally around 6-7 hours is what we think new players will spend with the game on average."