Revenant Hill made a big impression on us when it was revealed back in May: Associate editor Ted Litchfield said it "looks to press the gas on both autumnal vibes and the themes of early industrial labor organizing," which actually sounds pretty spot-on when you consider that developer The Glory Society was founded by Night in the Woods co-creators Bethany Hockenberry and Scott Benson.
Sadly, six months later work on the game has been halted. The Glory Society announced on Twitter that "two key members" of the studio, including Benson, have been forced to step away from the project because of serious health issues, and it has thus decided to end development.
"We are a small team and we each wear multiple hats," The Glory Society wrote. "This is a loss of several hard to replace hats in an environment where all hats are needed. Given the realities of schedules, budgets, and the fraught task of reworking the whole project within those parameters, the team has amicably decided to suspend operations. For all intents and purposes, this is the end of the development of Revenant Hill.
"We are a cooperative, and we make decisions as a group. For us, this was the clear path to take for the well-being of the team, which is frankly more important than games. In the future, after the dust has settled, perhaps we'll talk about what we've made and learned together. In the meantime, we want to thank everyone who worked with us, supported us, and believed in us."
It also sounds like the studio itself is effectively done: The Glory Society statement refers to the studio in the past tense, saying it "was a project in and of itself, and it's one we're proud to have been part of."
The Glory Society didn't indicate which of its team members have fallen ill, but shortly after the statement was posted, Benson, who served as writer, artist, and animator on Night in the Woods, revealed on his personal Twitter account that he's been struggling with a serious illness for the past year.
"Over the past 12 months or so I got very sick and it didn't go away," Benson tweeted. "Eventually I was diagnosed with severe heart failure, most likely from a virus. It will continue to greatly limit me for the foreseeable future and as such I've had to stop working in the manner I once did.
"Past few months are a blur of hospitals, doctors, tests, procedures, exciting new medications, and so, so much blood drawn. I’m sad about all of this. But on my end getting too upset about it is like getting angry at bad weather. This just happened. Life thankfully goes on," Benson wrote. "I’ll be taking some time to get to a better spot health wise before figuring out what’s next. Thanks for being interested in the stuff we make over here. Stay tuned for future things. I mean what else is there to stay tuned for. It’s always the future. Thanks, folks."
It's tremendously disappointing to see such an interesting project come to an untimely end, but The Glory Society has it right: Health and well-being far outweighs the demands of any game project.