Frontwing have announced that they will be unable to meet the production deadline for the PlayStation Vita version of Sharin no Kuni: The Girl Among Sunflowers. As a result, the project has been cancelled for that platform. Backers who have pledged for the digital and physical PlayStation Vita versions of the game will be able to ask for a refund or exchange their pledge for a copy of the game for PC which is still currently in development. Here is their official announcement that was sent to backers and has been posted on their campaign page:
It is with great regret that we have decided to announce that, although last-minute adjustments to the development and production schedule with all parties involved have been taking place until very recently, it has been confirmed as of last week that one of the main rewards for this project, the Playstation VITA version of the game (both physical and digital), will not be able to meet the deadline for its production. As such, we will be either cancelling and refunding, or exchanging the VITA version of the game to the PC one for all eligible backers and pre-order store purchasers.
We deeply apologize to our supporters who have been looking forward to playing the game despite the repeated delays.
Please note that we will not be accepting cancellations for the PC game version at this point, as we believe that it will be successfully released and delivered.
Frontwing have further described the difficulties they faced with the production of the Vita version below:
Details about the cancellation of the VITA version
We believe that we should be as open as possible about the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the development of the VITA game version, and as such we will share with our backers the circumstances that led up to this point.
From the beginning, the VITA development schedule suffered the effects of the delays from the development of the PC game version, but here we will focus on the developments in the last year and a half after the change of the publisher.
In the July 2019 update, we announced that our publisher agreement with Limited Run Games (LRG) had been dissolved and that we would be working from that moment on with the Hong Kong-based publisher Eastasiasoft Limited (EAS). The reason for this change was to avoid the issue of the VITA manufacturing ending in North America within that same year. The project team knew that by changing the publisher to a different region, the manufacturing deadline would also change, so we outsourced the pre-production and game development of the VITA version to a certain development company that has a license to develop VITA games, and rearranged the schedule in order to meet the deadline.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it brought to workplaces all over the world affected that schedule, the completed master data of the game was scheduled to be delivered by October 2020 at the latest.
However, at the last minute, that date was changed and the game was not delivered to us in October due to circumstances with the development company, and the project team was not able to confirm the actual product until November. Even more problematic than that was the fact that the game was confirmed to have many bugs, including fatal flaws, at that stage, and additional development time was inevitable.
However, even at this stage and during all this time, we had repeatedly asked the development company for a clear deadline for the mastering of the VITA version in order to manufacture the cartridges by the end of the year. We set a manufacturing schedule for production through discussions with Eastasiasoft, shared this information with the development company, and the development company responded that they expected to meet this deadline.
Until the very last moment, the project team still believed that the game production was going to finish and enter the manufacturing stage, but in the end the multiple issues that kept appearing during development and the additional time required to fix every one of them resulted in the developer not being able to meet the deadline discussed with EAS. We are currently in negotiations about the liability issues derived from the failure of the development contractor to meet the delivery date.
Even after last year’s delivery date had passed, throughout the month of January the project team had been studying and searching for alternative methods through various channels, including EAS, but in February it became clear that we would have to abandon the production of the VITA version, and this is why we are making this announcement.
One thing we would like to make clear is that the schedule and development estimates that we have reported in updates and comments until now were never false: they were always based on the information that was shared with us in our meetings with the development company that we outsourced the project to. We believed that we would be able to deliver the VITA game version to everyone until the very end.
As you can see, the direct cause of the cancellation of the development of the VITA game version was the overdue delivery date of the development contractor, but the final responsibility for the situation, including the management of the contractor, lies with the project team, or to be more precise, Frontwing, who is the main organizer of the project and in charge of the development management.
We would like to make clear that AKABEi SOFT2, Eastasiasoft Limited, Limited Run Games, and Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc., which have been mentioned before as project members, have no role or responsibility in the delay or cancellation of the game, including the VITA version. Please refrain from contacting these companies individually with any complaints or inquiries.