Jeff Vogel’s Spiderweb Software has been making incredibly deep RPGs for the past two decades, with many of those titles making their way over to the iPad where they seemed quite at home. The latest from Spiderweb to grace the iPad was to be Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, which was scheduled to launch this week. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening, and for the foreseeable future Spiderweb Software will no longer be developing their games for iOS at all.
According to a post on the official Spiderweb forums, iOS 8.3, the latest version of Apple’s software which launched while Avernum 2: Crystal Souls was in submission, seriously breaks the game. Once the issue was discovered Spiderweb pulled the game from sale, but it appears that the game-breaking issues run deeper than first thought. So Spiderweb has decided to cancel the release of Crystal Souls on iPad altogether. In another post on their forums, Spiderweb goes into the reasons they will no longer be developing for iPad going forward. In short, the games just don’t make enough money to justify it.
This is defnitely sad news, but also understandable. The fans of Spiderweb’s work have always been quite niche, but at the same time there really wasn’t anyone else serving that hardcore, stupidly deep RPG genre on the App Store. I’ve seen a lot of games get broken with iOS updates, though I’ve never seen any with problems so insurmountable that the developers completely give up on them. Though I am not technical in any sense and perhaps the issues are deeper and more difficult to tackle than I realize. Also, I understand how frustrating it must be to try and sell incredibly niche titles in the App Store where they are perceived as “expensive" by the masses.
Spiderweb says that their library and even the briefly available Avernum 2: Crystal Souls should still continue to work if you’re on iOS 8.2. For now the four games currently available in the App Store–Avadon: The Black Fortress ($9.99), Avadon 2: The Corruption ($9.99), Avernum: Escape from the Pit ($9.99), and Avernum 6 ($6.99)–will remain there until Spiderweb is no longer able to support them. Aka if they get broken by an iOS update, they’re coming down. If you have any issues with any Spiderweb games being broken, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The only real bright side to this is that there’s a chance Spiderweb will reassess the situation down the road and may come back to iOS development, but for now let’s pour one out for one less developer making great games for the iPad.