John Smedley, the head of Pixelmage Games, said "it breaks my heart to have to do this," in steering his followers to the announcement, where Pixelmage vowed to offer "100 percent refunds to all of the people who bought Hero's Song."
Poor sales were given as the reason Pixelmage could not continue development. Hero's Song, proposed for Windows PC, began with a Kickstarter drive seeking $800,000. That Kickstarter was canceled after one week, with Smedley acknowledging mistakes made in the pitch to backers but pledging to continue.
Pixelmage then sought a more modest amount through Indiegogo, but still fell short of that goal in October, keeping about $94,000 of the $200,000 it sought. Hero's Song then launched on Steam Early Access about a month later.
Indiegogo donors are being asked to email Pixelmage Games with information about their donation level so they can be fully refunded. Steam customers are advised to get their money back through Steam's regular refund process.
"We knew going in that most startups don't make it, and as an indie game studio we hoped we would be the exception to that rule, but as it turned out we weren't," Pixelmage said in its statement. "We're sorry things worked out the way they did, but we feel strongly that we gave it our all and we're proud of how far we came with the game."
Smedley had been the president of Daybreak Game Company, which had been Sony Online Entertainment, the maker of Everquest and other MMOs until it was old to an investment firm in February 2015.
Smedley stepped down from his position there in July 2015, and Pixelmage was founded in October 2015. Bill Trost, the lead designer and co-creator of EverQuest, was recruited to the project.