The world of indie gaming thrives on the promise of unique, charming, and often revolutionary concepts that dare to challenge the norms of mainstream AAA games. But “Little Devil Inside,” a game from developer Neostream Interactive that’s been in development for nearly 10 years, seems to have taken an unfortunate detour into development hell, so to speak. If you’re reading this, you’re likely no stranger to this fact, but today, we’re going to explore the details surrounding its journey.
There was so much that the game got right from the get-go. Its Kickstarter campaign all the way back in 2015 (it was supposed to release on the Wii U!) drew over 5,000 backers, all thrilled by its enticing blend of cute and aesthetic gameplay as well as its extremely quirky humor. Further fueling the excitement, early State of Play presentations for the PlayStation 5 featured the game, solidifying it as one of the most anticipated indie titles for several years straight.
From Hype to Silence
Fast-forward a “few” years, and the idea of getting our hands on with Little Devil Inside has pretty much become a fever dream and nothing more. Sure, the game was supposed to roll out in 2022 (and several times before that), but that deadline came and went. Even an Instagram post hinting at a “Winter 2022” release and a quickly retracted footnote from Sony’s CES presentation in 2021 didn’t do much to inspire confidence.
Despite showing off its cute and uniquely styled world map complete with an official PlayStation blog post, there’s been an unsettling silence from the developers about its actual release. Hell, the last tweet on their account was all the way back in 2017.
A Frustrating Wait
I’m sure you’ll agree that all of this is a tough pill to swallow. The miniature-like world with a dynamic tilt-shift effect, immersive exploration, the Monster Hunter-style combat had me really hooked, and the thought of never getting it just kind of sucks royally. This is one of the indie games I’ve been looking forward to most!
Here are, rounding out the third quarter of 2023 with no clue about the game’s whereabouts. No updates, no timelines, and worst of all, no communication from Neostream about its disappearing act. Yes, game development is tricky, and it’s even trickier for a small team with a limited budget working on a big open-world game, but this extended radio silence from the team is nothing short of baffling.
An Unfulfilled Promise
In the world of indies, trust is king. Players need to believe in the games they support, particularly when it comes to those funded on platforms like Kickstarter like LDI was. Indie devs share a unique relationship with their audience that the AAA industry could only dream of and it’s built on transparency and trust. This kind of thing creates damaging ripples of doubt that affect the whole community.
So, where do I stand to date? Little Devil Inside is still on my wishlist. Every time I spin up my PS5, I see the game’s splash page and it serves as a constant reminder of the adorable and clever experience I was promised and never got. Could the game still release before this Christmas 2023?
Could the game still release in 2024 in perhaps the first or second quarter? Yes. Will it though? I’m doubtful. Most redditors and YouTube commenters think it’s vaporware, but as an indie dev myself, I see this as a passion project the dev team will stop at nothing to complete and release, even if life somehow got in the way.