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Stanley iPhone Cancellation

I’m very sad to announce today that I’m cancelling production of The Stanley Parable Mobile Edition.

Okay, yes, you have questions. Let’s answer them one at a time.

The game entered production like this: A small team of independent developers contacted me in late 2011 saying they wanted to help me work on an iphone version of TSP. They had no completed work to their name but I said they were free to mock something up and show it to me. I maintained throughout that I would have the right to veto the project at any time if I did not think the quality of the game met a certain standard. But for a long time it seemed to meet that standard. The team produced some art and level design that I quite liked, and they were optimistic that it wouldn’t be more than a few months that we’d have the entire thing together. Excited about the game, I began showing off photos on the website and an early build to people at GDC.

But the surface-level impression doesn’t always tell the full story, and beneath the surface things were not how I wanted them to be. After the team missed a major deadline that they’d been telling me for weeks they’d hit, I began to more seriously question what they were telling me. This led to a series of conversations where I found that not only did at least one member of the team actively dislike working with me, they had been intentionally severing communication with me and avoiding my requests for information. Tip to independent developers: this is not a good thing to say to the person who controls whether or not your game gets released.

Keep in mind that I had only been involved with the development of the game from a distance. I tweaked the script to fit iphone, had the narrator record new dialogue, and asked for updates and looks at how the game was progressing. At the same time, I was deeply personally involved in the development of the HD Remix, investing more and more of myself in that game. It took several month to notice, but I was creating a gap in my own mind between games I was working on that I cared more about and games that I cared less about. By mid-2012 I was actively planning on releasing a game with my name on it (stanley iphone) that I didn’t particularly care whether anyone played it. That began to send up warning signals in my head, why was I releasing something I didn’t care about? I found myself hoping the game would not sell.

This happened about the same time communication broke down with the team. When the team told me they did not want to be working on the game I realized that zero people making this game wanted to be making it. Any money I might possibly (that being a very strong “POSSIBLY”) make on this couldn’t be worth sending a signal to my fans that I’m okay releasing games I don’t care about. I’d be lowering the standard of quality in my work for maybe some dollars, and that though just sends yucky shivers through my gut. I realize that many people were very excited to play the game, I regularly get posts from fans looking forward to the iphone version, and knowing that they’ll be let down is what makes this decision hardest. But I hope that the cancellation of the game conveys my desire to only put games in your hands that are absolutely fantastic, that I couldn’t be happier with, that are more than worth your time and money. This was not that game.

So what exactly was it? Basically it was the original Stanley Parable except on iPhone. I’d tweaked the original script to work on a socially-interconnected platform, so instead of a button at a computer that Stanley pushes, he has a device in his pocket that he carries with him everywhere, pressing it when commanded. He only knows of his co-workers’ existence because of lights on the wall of his office that light up when they also push their buttons, a play on the social interconnectedness of mobile devices. From there the same exact thing happens, the lights stop appearing, everyone is missing, you know the story. There were a number of iOS-related gags, like in the timer sequence the narrator would ask Siri to extend the amount of time on the clock, and instead of going to Half Life 2 you’d go to a fruit ninja clone. But again, other than that, there wasn’t anything that wasn’t in the original game. Plus you’d have to play with twinstick FPS controls on a touch screen. Ick.

So I think this decision was worth it. I take no pleasure in abandoning the work that the team did, nor in disappointing fans who were eager to play, but I’ve learned from my mistakes and this is one mistake I won’t make again. I believe that success in any creative field means knowing what to release as much as it means knowing what not to release, which of course means understanding yourself and the relationship you have with your fans. This experience has taught me that little bit more about what I think my fans do and don’t deserve, and perhaps over time I’ll be good enough at making that distinction to really earn your trust. In the mean time, as I make and learn from these mistakes, all I can do is convey my immeasurable gratitude for your support and understanding. <3

August 5, 2012 by davey 24 comments

24 comments. Add yours!

  1. Michael 2 years ago Reply

    Disappointing, but very understandable. You’ve gained a lot of respect from me by not releasing something you are unhappy with, which at the same time makes me happy to know that the HD Remix is most definitely in very good, capable hands, and hands that I am sure will make it as fun, humorous and original as the original Stanley’s Parable was.

  2. Novablast 2 years ago Reply

    Oh well~
    Although it was a difficult decision, I think you made the right choice. Why release something if your not happy with it?
    But I “will” say, The mobile version certainly sounded interesting!
    Anywho, good luck with the HD Remix~! ^.^ take breaks from time to time~

  3. Brownd 2 years ago Reply

    Good decision, although it does seem as if the main problem wasn’t the game itself, just the team working on it. Maybe in the future there might be some other dev willing to take the project more seriously?

    Anyways, I hope you don’t encounter that kind of situations again. People shouldn’t work at projects like Stanley if they’re going to ignore its own creator…

  4. Ian 2 years ago Reply

    what the hell is wrong with those guys?? that was the right thing to do and I want to say thank you for your dedication… what are the possibility of sometime getting a new mobile team to still. hike that version with the new dialogue?

    • davey 2 years ago Reply

      Honestly though not a lot was different than the original version. Most of the changes were just where the mobile version absolutely required it. You can trust me that you weren’t missing much.

  5. James Aunderfield 2 years ago Reply

    I wish that it wasn’t cancelled, but I am really glad about your views on the matter. <3

  6. This post was linked to from

    Podcast 17 - Sidecasts – Oh, Stanley

  7. Dudu Maroja 2 years ago Reply

    I feel your pain.. thanks for all the quality porsuit

  8. This post was linked to from

    Excerpts from The Stanley Parable Mobile Edition | galactic cafe

  9. God at play 2 years ago Reply

    The dual-stick controls are definitely a concern, that’s a good point. But you would be doing a huge service to humanity if you could release the same Stanley Parable, but just on mobiles. And this even sounds a step better than that.

    You seem to have the perspective that this wouldn’t be very exciting for people who’ve already played the mod. And that’s perfectly reasonable and fine. What is completely UNreasonable is thinking that those who’ve played the mod represent the majority of people who would enjoy this game; but they’re just a drop in the bucket. When you’re porting a game to a new platform, the fans you need to be caring about are the ones you haven’t heard from yet.

    I am a huge indie game fan, especially of weird/unique stuff, and I went through a lot of pain and suffering to play Stanley Parable (on my Mac). There is an enormous mass of people who would love an experience like this who’ve never experienced the “normal” TSP because they haven’t heard of it since it’s a mod, because of how much effort is involved in installing it, and plenty of other reasons I’m sure.

    Anyway, I hope it happens some day. There are too many people who haven’t played this yet. :)

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  11. Stanley 11 months ago Reply

    …can I have a say in this? I just want to say that I did not read the blog but I do much care for people to be able to experience our story on mobile again at any cost even with our lives at risk besides, we always end up back at the begining. Now I will narrate this part of the story “And then, just as all hope was lost,…the developers be gain to feel a sence of enthusiasm and began making Stanley’s game Mobile once again” see now dosent that sound like a better ending?

  12. Jrbviwiz 11 months ago Reply

    I admire and agree with your choice to stay dedicated to the quality of your project and to the happiness of your fans, but the mobile version didn’t sound that bad. I haven’t gotten far in the pc version of TSP and personally would’ve really enjoyed a mobile version, even if it was basically aclone of the original but with some mobile device references. Like I said though, completely understand and admire your dedication to keeping you fans happy by only releasing things that you are happy with.

  13. Alain 11 months ago Reply

    WHAT AN ASSWIPE ASSHOLEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • Trenton 6 months ago Reply

      Said the retard. I don’t see YOU making any games. It’s harder than it looks, trust me.

  14. GemilMC 10 months ago Reply

    Awwww I luv dis game… Like really…. At least HL2 not the hd remix can be done in mobile.. for free

  15. TheDiamondDigger 9 months ago Reply

    Aww… Was REALLY looking forward to it, but I respect your decision.

  16. Do it. 8 months ago Reply

    Now that there is so much acclaim for the game and non-PC gamers are intrigued by it, you should reconsider..

  17. Elliot 7 months ago Reply

    Well done, I understand your reason for not releasing the mobile version, but has been about two years since then, are you never going make the game, the way that you want it? Better late than never I reckon. I loved this game on PC, so unique! Would love to buy it on iPhone! Bravo sir!

  18. Trenton 6 months ago Reply

    Some would say that that was a bad choice, but I think it was a smart one. If you don’t want to make a game and you have a choice, why even bother. However, now that TSP HD is out, I have an idea. Maybe you could take a handful of endings from the first Stanley Parable, and reprogram a few controls, and slap it on the app and play store. Just a thought. You liked making the first one, so put it on the go! I’d buy it! If you don’t want to though, I get it. You’re smart developer, and I respect your decision.

  19. Bill 6 months ago Reply

    Davey, Now that Portal is properly coming to Android via NVIDIA Shield, would you consider seeing the original Stanley Parable (full PC assets, not the mobile adaptation) simply brought across properly?

  20. Adam 5 months ago Reply

    I understand why you cancelled this but please retry with it I love the Stanley parable but what I would love more is a android version so please retry and don’t give up

  21. Elias Zendaki 2 months ago Reply

    I wish that this was not cancelled.

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