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Stray Souls Publisher Versus Evil Shut Down, 13 Employees Laid Off

Stray Souls Publisher Versus Evil Shut Down, 13 Employees Laid Off

There is never a good time to break bad news but bad news coming on the last working day before Christmas will surely be hard to swallow. On Friday, December 22, 2023, Versus Evil, the publisher of Stray Souls and other great indie games announced that they will be shutting down. Fans of the publisher are pouring out emotions in the comment section of the announcement.

Stray Souls Publisher Versus Evil Shut Down, 13 Employees Laid Off

“Today is a sad day,” the announcement on their X handle began. “After 10 wonderful years, Versus Evil is shutting down its doors. We’ve loved bringing you the best indie games we could find & sharing so many happy memories with you all, our amazing community! From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for everything!”

When asked if their games will still be available for purchase via digital stores, Versus Evil replied, “Yes! Our games will still be available as part of tinyBuild’s catalog going forward, including our upcoming releases.”

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Versus Evil was founded in 2013 by Steve Escalante who previously worked for ZeniMax Online Studios as a marketing director. In November 2021, Versus Evil was acquired by tinyBuild—also a video game publisher.

Earlier this month, tinyBuild announced that it would miss its revenue forecast. At that time, tinyBuild also said that it had resolved a legal dispute with the former owners of Versus Evil, as well as general manager Steve Escalante and head of production Lance James.

Stray Souls Publisher Versus Evil Shut Down, 13 Employees Laid Off
Stray Souls

The trio accused tinyBuild of breaching several obligations it signed as part of the acquisition agreement. The dispute was believed to be mostly around the provision of material support as well as the release of promised funds to the indie publisher.

tinyBuild paid $3.5 million and legal costs to settle the claims. Escalante announced that he would be leaving the company shortly after the settlement. The first major project that Versus Evil handled was The Banner Saga.

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Throughout their decade-long journey, they have published a plethora of great indie games including Into the Dead 2, Stray Souls, Eville, and Tower of Guns, among several others. Some of the games they have scheduled for publication in 2024 include Monolith: Requiem of the Ancient, Lil’ Guardsman, Broken Roads, and Tamarak Trail.

Emotional reactions trail Versus Evil closure

Stray Souls Publisher Versus Evil Shut Down, 13 Employees Laid Off
Stray Souls

Before the official announcement from the Versus Evil, James had already posted about the closure on his personal account. “Welp. This was a fun 10-year ride,” he posted through his official X handle. In a follow-up comment, he said, “Let me be clear – this wasn’t a Versus Evil decision or choice,” suggesting that the decision might have been made by tinyBuild.

Those who had collaborated with Versus Evil have been emotional in their comments. One of them was Danica Rockwood, a cosplayer and Twitch Partner.

“You guys believed in me during the very beginnings of my cosplay and streaming journey,” she commented under the closure announcement. “Thank you for encouraging me throughout every chapter of my career. I knew whenever you were posted up at a con with your booth, I could always call that spot a temporary home.”

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Influencer, Brandon Stennis, also shared the fond memories he had with Versus Evil as well as empathized with those who lost their jobs a day before Christmas Eve.

“Versus Evil LLC was a true branch mark in my life and gave me the skills of what I know as a professional in gaming,” Stennis posted on LinkedIn. “It was my first Influencer Management job and till this day I talk about how I learned so much working for the company. It’s really sad to see it end.”

Versus Evil sadly joins the likes of Volition Games, Campfire Cabal, and Free Radical Designs as some of the studios that have been shuttered this year. Around 10,000 jobs have been lost in the gaming industry to date.