After more than five months of work on the project, the release of a development build last February, and a recent reboot for the game's art style (see above image), indie developer Flashhbang Studios announced that it's suspended development on the HD sequel to Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, with no plans to resume in the forseeable future.

Revealed in November 2009, Off-Road Velociraptor Safari HD was meant to include new modes and missions, an art overhaul that promised to "push the game into the next-gen category", and more. The studio altered its "HD" plans shortly after GDC, though, as it hoped to "create a look that relied less on raw production man-hours and more on style."

As for why the company is stepping away from the game after investing nearly half a year into it, founder Matthew Wegner offers several reasons, like the project feeling "muddy": "It isn’t blindingly obvious where to take it yet. I can blame this on tactical errors I have made, in terms of where I placed our priorities and where I spent my time, but the end result is still a lack of clarity."

"And finding that clarity is a very taxing job; we’re just too burnt out to make it happen," he adds. "When I imagine a year of Raptor Safari development, I feel drained, and when I image a year of something else I feel energized. The rest of the team feels the same way, so our choice was clear."

Wegner says there are also practical reasons for halting development on ORVS HD: "Much of Flashbang’s revenue stems from affiliate programs in the casual market. Many of these programs are either shuttering completely or have drastically altered their terms in punitive ways, probably as a result of the casual market itself being hurt by Facebook/web games."

"Regardless of why, our financial projections suddenly went from a year of smooth sailing to a runway of only a few months. I don’t want to give the impression that this is purely a financial decision, because it’s not. Impending poverty forced us to make some decision, but it wasn’t the source of our problems. I don’t think we would continue development at this point even if a sack of free money fell right into our laps."

The Flashbang founder notes that the studio's typical 8-week cycle style of development for its Blurst portal, which produced titles like Time Donkey and Crane Wars, didn't match up well with a bigger project like this one. "There more I blocked out development in terms of making one really good game, the more I realized we’re not ready for that kind of commitment yet," he says.

The company abandoned the 8-week cycle style of development as it took on ORVS HD with the hopes that its decision would "open some doors and provide ... more flexibility and opportunities." With the game now abandoned, Flashbang is currently looking to find contract work as a team, and is changing its model again.

"Longer-term, things will slowly diverge," says Wegner. "We’ve pulled the release valve and distributed company savings to individuals. This means Flashbang itself no longer has any salaried employees, but don’t worry! We’ll still be here. This is the same model we used for the first 5 of our 7 years as company. The office will morph into a shared workspace for individual projects and collaborations."

"Personally, I plan to spend time on Blurst features (particularly a pipeline to bring some of the 3rd-party submissions online). It’s hard to say what we’ll all be doing in four months. Perhaps new experiments will make their way onto Blurst as polished prototypes, or maybe we’ll try our hand at the roulette game of the App Store. There are a lot of possibilities in front of us!"