Joy Way, the studio behind VR titles Stride and Against, announced it’s abandoning development on its most recent PC VR title, Outlier, which hit early access on Steam in March.

The studio released a statement on Friday detailing the decision to remove Outlier from sale on Steam.

Joy Way advises users to either refund the game or keep it in their library with the knowledge that there will be no new development going on. Here’s the full statement below:

Dear players,

In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on OUTLIER.

Our plans for this project were ambitious, but unfortunately we overestimated the demand for this game. And underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre. After the launch, we realized that the effort to implement our initial vision of this game would be too big compared to the relatively small audience we were targeting.

According to our calculations, we would have to involve a significant part of the developement team to work on this project over the next 8-12 months with a low probability that the project will ever achieve at least financial self-sufficiency.

The lesson has been learned, and we will reallocate human and financial resources to our other projects – STRIDE and AGAINST, in order to release updates for these games more often.

The title will shortly be removed from sale on Steam. Given that OUTLIER will no longer receive any updates, feel free to refund it. You can also contact Steam support if you need help with this. If you enjoyed the game, you can still play it, OUTLIER will remain in your library.

If you need any help from our side, please email us at community@joyway.games.

We treasure the help of dedicated players who helped us playtest the game and left detailed feedback, your impact was really valuable during the course of development. Your efforts and more than a year of hard work by our developers: all best practices from OUTLIER will find their application in our other existing games.

Thank you for giving the game a chance, and we hope you had some fun :)

Best,
Joy Way Team

Outlier was a bit of a mixed bag when it launched on Steam Early Access. The single-player game borrows a good amount of locomotion mechanics from Stride, the studio’s 2020 “parkour-shooter” game that has users executing highflying jumps and dodges whilst blasting away with various guns. On top of its battle-tested VR mechanics, Outlier also promised five VR-centric weapons, elemental powers, and 50+ upgrades and modifiers to keep players coming back for more of its procedurally-generated levels set on an alien world.

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Joy Way intended to use its time on PC VR to work out issues before eventually releasing a version for Quest, which was initially planned to release sometime in 2022. Since its Early Access launch, the game has received ‘Mixed’ user ratings, with around 60 percent of overall users rating the game as ‘Positive’, which seems to have dampened a favorable outlook for its jump to Quest.

To date, all of the studio’s VR games on Steam are still in Early Access, including Time HackerStride, and its latest rhythm-combat title AgainstStride is however the studio’s first (and only) to make it to the official Quest Store.

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  • Joy Way “overestimated the demand”? Noooooooooo …. they overestimated their ability to actually finish a title and release it properly.

    • I mean, at least this gives them more dev time to work on Stride, which always seemed more polished anyway

    • ViRGiN

      Not exactly. They have better chances making yet another rhytm game. Those are always in demand, unlike more ambitious titles. Why make roguelite when everyone is playing rec room, beat saber and gorilla tag? This is where the real money is made.

    • MeowMix

      well…. it’s a PCVR only title, so I can understand why they’re saying they overestimated the demand.
      Unfortunately, the PCVR market is tiny compared to the likes of Quest or PSVR; to make it as a PCVR title, you need a large percentage of the playerbase to purchase your game. That’s not the case for console VR.

      • ViRGiN

        PCVR market is non existent.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Exactly. Scam after scam. Unfinished games are their business. Bait and switch, pump and dump.

      • Joy Way — VR Games Devs

        I think you would agree that developing a game for year and a half and then taking it down in a month after the release, without even discounting it once, is not the best scam strategy.

        • Jonathan Winters III

          You’ve yet to finish even ONE of your games. What do you have to say about that?

          • Joy Way — VR Games Devs

            Pavlov VR has been in early access since 2017.
            Onward – since 2016.
            Blade and Sorcery – since 2018.

            You have your own opinion, and we don’t think that we’re still living in the pre-internet era when game development looked like ‘make a game, print 100,000 disc copies, never touch it again’.

          • Raphael

            Exactly. That was the model used by big publishers like EA… release game full of bugs, patch it a few times, move on.

            Star Citizen is an example of a game that will only be finished when it reaches end of life. That game also receives the “scam” label from haters who don’t understand the development.

        • Keith Aarron Valdez

          Where’s mine then? I asked steam for one 3 times and they denied it… I emailed you all… no response… I really enjoyed what you had made but if you aren’t going to continue working on it, why should you get to keep my money? I do feel cheated here… I mean. How else should I feel?

          • Joy Way — VR Games Devs

            Hey, please check your email

          • Keith Aarron Valdez

            Thank you very much for making things right for me. Glad to see you are all making the effort for fans.

          • Keith Aarron Valdez

            Joy Way has made this right for me where Steam refused to. Thank you, Joy Way. I do hope you all use your awesome combat system from Outlier sometime in the future.

    • Chris Spears

      Respect their honesty and their openness that people are free to request a refund. They are seeing what lots are seeing, VR is a very dedicated but very small audience. If you put out a prerelease and expect 10k purchases and you get 100, the right thing to do is fold up shop and go home and be honest with your fans. They did the right thing.

      • Keith Aarron Valdez

        I requested a refund and Steam and Joy Way are not willing to help me. I can’t say that “I don’t feel cheated…” out of my hard earned money. Granted it’s only 15bux… but it’s 15 bux I worked for and I don’t care to waste my money. I thought I was supporting a deserving dev who was going to make a great title. Instead… I’m left with a game that’s like 1/4th of a game and even though the developer suggested we all get a refund, apparently we don’t ALL get a refund.

        • Keith Aarron Valdez

          Joy Way fixed this for me. Thank y’all. I appreciate it. They made things better than Steam would have anyway.

  • And, of course…. I have just over 2 hours played in it, so I can’t ask for my money back. frick.

    • VR5

      It sounds like they’re going to refund you even if you’re over the 2 hour limit. Try contacting them by email.

      • I’ll definitely give it a shot. If I can get a refund, even to my steam account balance, I’m gonna get STRIDE on PC instead, already had it on Quest but want to see how different it looks on PC

        • VR5

          Get Against instead. It is their best and most complete feeling game yet. Only played the demo of Outlier but I have Stride and Against on PC.

          • I would try Against but as a Mirror’s Edge fan STRIDE is one of my favorite vr titles atm tbh

      • Well I put in my refund request, hopefully it gets approved. What a shame, I didn’t like how they inverted the motion you had to do to jump in this game versus how you jump in STRIDE but it was still a lot of fun to run around the world when it worked. I guess Joyway has learned it’s lesson though, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” doesn’t really work for indie vr studios, you have to finish one game at a time to really be successful.

        • especially if your focus is on single-time-purchase, single player games, which I am glad Joy Way is making, rather than going down the route of microtransaction heavy multiplayer titles. It’s good to have something to play that doesn’t need other people from time to time.

        • Joy Way — VR Games Devs

          Hey there. If your refund request is denied by Steam, please email us at community@joyway.games for compensation.

          • Wow. Kudos to you guys for being so honest and helpful about all this! You guys definitely have my respect. :D

    • ViRGiN

      Early Access. What did you expect to happen?

      • shial

        Normally for the updates to go cold for a year, get one vague update about the game not meeting their expectations and then going silent.

        • ViRGiN

          So, they did everyone a favor, and not pariticpated in a game scam like pretty much every single title out there does, unless it’s unexpected next billion dollar idea.
          From me, they only get respect. And if Steam refuses to do a refund; game developers can issue refund themselves.

        • Jonathan Winters III

          I purchased several games from them. All 3 stopped development after a while and are permanently incomplete demos.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        We expect them to come through and finish the game as promised. But they never have released a finished game yet.

        • ViRGiN

          If the game is not cancelled like this one, consider it finished. There is no single reason to take off the early access label. Why would they do that? It’s a perfect, always working shield from criticism.

          • Jonathan Winters III

            good point. now stop downvoting me.

  • I think the main issue with Joy Way is they always spend a huge amount of time making the graphics of a game look polished but then only spend a tiny amount of tiny making the game actually feel polished. The parkour mechanics in STRIDE feel amazing, and are very polished…. but enemies stand in one place, can’t hit you with melee attacks, and can see you through buildings half a mile away and instantly agro in the Arena mode. I have yet to play Against but it looks pretty polished too from a graphical perspective, but I can’t say as to whether or not the gameplay is as solid.

  • AverageWsNigga

    Vr is dead

    • Tommy

      So is the horse you’re beating.

      • AverageWsNigga

        Enjoying pavlov and half life mods? Yea thats worth spending over 1k for

        • Tommy

          I don’t care for Pavlov. I do like Contractors though. Mods are a fantastic way to enjoy VR. Here are some of my favorite:

          Alien Isolation
          Asgard’s Wrath
          Assetto Corsa (1&2)
          A-Tech Cybernetic
          Battlezone
          Blade and Sorcery (The Outer Rim)
          Boneworks
          Borderlands 2
          Cyberpunk 2077
          Dead and Buried
          Dead Effect 2
          Deep Rock Galactic
          Defector
          Devil May Cry 5
          Dirt 2
          Doom 3 BFG
          Edge of Nowhere
          Elden Ring
          Elder Scrolls Morrowind
          Elder Scrolls Skyrim
          Elite Dangerous
          Everslaught
          F1 2022
          Fallout 4
          Firewatch
          From Other Suns
          The Forest
          Gary’s Mod
          Grand Theft Auto V
          GTFO
          Half Life (1&2)
          Half Life: Alyx
          Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
          Hitman (1,2,&3)
          Horizon Zero Dawn
          Into the Radius
          Knockout League
          LA Noire
          Left 4 Dead 2
          The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
          Lone Echo (1&2)
          Lucky’s Tale
          Mafia (1&2)
          Mech Warrior 5
          Megatron Rainfall
          Microsoft Flight Simulator
          Monster Hunter Rise
          No Man’s Sky
          Outer Wilds
          Paper Beast
          Payday 2
          Pray for the Gods
          Project Cars (2&3)
          Project Wingman
          Red Dead Redemption 2
          Resident Evil (,2,3,4,7,8)
          Risk of Rain 2
          Seeking Dawn
          Serious Sam (1-4)
          Sniper Elite
          Star Wars Dark Forces
          Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
          Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
          Star Wars Squadrons
          Stormlands
          Subnautica (1&2)
          Valheim
          Wanderer

          • AverageWsNigga

            Most of those games suckk, and I already played enough of, and mod old pc games to vr is not interesting enough for me to try out

          • Tommy

            Fair enough. You don’t like it and that’s fine, many don’t. However the current market size for VR is 4.8 billion USD and is forecasted to grow to over 12 billion by 2024. That contradicts your statement about VR being or becoming dead.

          • AverageWsNigga

            Idc about that, vr in content has been dead for a awhile, most games are just tech demos and have no reply values, just a handful maybe, all I know there’s definitely a lot of people like me who’s letting their headset collect dust

          • Tommy

            There are more people buying into VR than putting their headsets down, hence the growth. Of the games I listed, none are tech demos and many have great replay value, just as much as flat games. Regardless, we could state opinions all day but numbers are numbers.

          • AverageWsNigga

            More people buying into quest*

          • Tommy

            Absolytely agree! Quest is hot right now and is selling a ton. You have to remember that a huge portion of Quest buyers are also buying them to play wireless VR on PC. I bought a couple Quest 2s myself and love them. The quality isn’t quite as good as my Reverb G2 but I do enjoy playing wireless or on the go

    • NL_VR

      Its not dead, its still in the beginning.
      This phase we are in now started with the release of Quest.
      If VR is dead companys wouldnt invest in it.
      Its more like people over estimate which stage VR would be in today. Like VR gen 5.0 and 100millions of hardware sold.

      I use VR pretty much everyday, to play games.
      But i understand well that most people want to sit on their couch with a controller playing on their TV. But thats not the future ;)

    • Ookami

      More people have VR headsets than the latest Xbox last I checked.

      • benz145

        This is definitely not a confirmed fact (depending upon your definition of ‘VR headset’)

        • Ookami

          I’m mainly referring to what I’d call “real VR”; PCVR, PSVR, Quest 2; and not the cheap phone VR we got years back.

          From what I can tell there are about 14 million total Xbox Series X/S sold as of now. We have a confirmed number of about 10 million Quest 2’s shipped and sold at the end of last year (Xbox was at about 9 million then). So, yes, it’s hard to tell whether it’s true now, since I couldn’t find any new numbers on Q2 sales, and it’s pretty hard to find an exact number on PCVR headsets (I estimate around 1.5-3 million or so).
          But I think it was confirmed that back in December there were more Quest 2’s in the hands of consumers than there were Series X/S units (and that doesn’t even count PCVR or the now outdated PSVR).
          So yeah, I guess it can be either way, but In any case it’s pretty close, and it’s definitely nothing to sneeze at.

  • Dmacell

    demo was a big disappointment and I think they saw the writing on the wall.

  • Richard R Garabedian

    lol…Called it…this game was so far from finished it was basically just a demo

  • Ad

    This is not a surprise, everyone called this and the CEO just got pissy about it on Twitter. I think this is actually better than Against, but felt much less complete.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      this.

  • Ookami

    Too bad. Haven’t heard of the game, but the trailer doesn’t look too bad. Hopefully they’ll find more luck on future projects

  • Pablo C

    “we thought risking 10k pockets was fine, but we really got scared when a million people got involved”.

  • Speed

    Damn pcvr has been so damn disappointing lately

  • Keith Aarron Valdez

    It’s sad. Personally, I really liked Outlier. I felt like the combat in the game was unique in VR and I had so much fun with it. I felt like a demigod tossing around rocks while shooting bad guys and tossing their bodies at their friends. All the while, I was hopping around and floating like a winged creature with prowess. It was intense for me. I’m so super sad they won’t be continuing the game and hopefully they respond to my request for a refund. Perhaps we will see the same or a similar combat system in the future if they’d be so inclined to bring it to a more story focused game. Think… Titanfall 2’s TIME BENDING stage or Raven Software’s AMAZING Singularity but with OUTLIER’S powers. That WOULD BE INCREDILBE! If you need a voice actor Joy Way, I’d be willing to assist for the price of FREE and my voice is truly amazing. You’d have to hear it to believe it, but it’s true!