Chronicles of Elyria admits to running out of money in 2021, ‘hemorrhaging cash’ ever since

    
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That was a real laugh!

There are grim tidings out of Chronicles of Elyria in its July State of Elyria report. Studio head Jeromy “Caspian” Walsh has once again reported that the game is in dire financial straits – and has been as far back as the end of 2021, which probably won’t surprise anyone.

According to Walsh, monthly operating costs started to “abruptly and significantly” rise at the start of the second quarter, followed by the studio “hemorrhaging cash” in May, which forced him off of his usual engineering duties to focus on cost-cutting measures and securing additional funding either through investments or a publishing deal. It’s only after a few paragraphs in to the letter that Walsh confirms player suspicions about the state of the game:

“Despite what some will say, there was no giant stockpile of cash when I chose to stop crowdfunding in 2020. We had some, but not enough to reach a meaningful Alpha. Based on some financial advice, we applied for and received a PPP loan which added to our pool of available cash and gave us the means to move forward. We then proceeded to use the money from 2020 through the end of 2021 to continue the development of CoE by way of Kingdoms of Elyria. And then, near the end of 2021, the money effectively ran out.

“Almost six years into development, Chronicles of Elyria remains one of the most important and significant things in my life. So much so, that I had a long conversation with my wife and we agreed that Chronicles of Elyria was worth our own livelihood to see it through. So, for the second time in the history of Soulbound Studios, I began emptying my family’s savings and liquidating our assets in an effort to fund the continued development of the game.”

Ultimately, this has had the effect of pushing back Kingdoms of Elyria’s mid-alpha test efforts into the third quarter, though Walsh promises that the studio’s financial woes will not see the game die out if it comes to that point. “While it would be another huge setback, and we’d again have to let go of our remote contractors, many indie games have been successfully completed with only a single developer,” he reasons. “[I]n our case, so much work has already been done on Kingdoms of Elyria from a content and design standpoint that it would just be me finishing the engineering at that point.”

Readers will note that Soulbound Studio being bad with money is regrettably par for its course: The game reportedly ran out of cash back in 2020, forcing Walsh to halt development and lay off the team. He would pivot a month later by suddenly announcing that volunteer staff were working on the game – a revelation that followed threats of legal action from Kickstarter backers. What is left of Soulbound has since been working on the standalone spinoff game Kingdoms of Elyria, which is more focused on land and city management than COE’s originally stated MMORPG design. KOE was planned to release next year, followed by COE in 2024.

That lawsuit, incidentally, is still moving forward; it also doesn’t come up anywhere in Walsh’s current quarterly address, as Walsh instead is drawing most attention to KoE development functions, which he claims is “almost entirely the things that are most important to [the game’s] community.”

Chronicles of Elyria stunned MMO gamers in 2020 by announcing it was out of money, had laid off the devs, had closed Soulbound Studio, and had ended development on the game. Though CEO Jeromy Walsh later retracted much of that and said the game was still in production with volunteer staff, the gamers who’d backed it for $14M+ in crowdfunds pressed on with legal action. In 2021, Walsh began releasing new videos on the production he says is happening, though the focus since has been more on spinoff game Kingdoms of Elyria.
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