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The difficulties of publishing indie games: the studio behind 'Deliver Us the Moon' shares 5 new games that were pitched to more than 40 publishers to no avail

 KeokeN Interactive currently has 5 games under development that have been pitched in over 200 meetings without successfully finding investors or publishers.
KeokeN Interactive currently has 5 games under development that have been pitched in over 200 meetings without successfully finding investors or publishers.

What you need to know

  • KeokeN Interactive is the Dutch studio behind Deliver Us the Moon and Deliver Us Mars.

  • Both games were well received, boasting Overwhelmingly and Mostly positive results on Steam, in addition to a slate of awards and accolades.

  • The team shared that it has five new games in various staged of development that have been pitched to more than 40 publishers and 200 meetings over the course of the last 2 years to no avail.

  • In a video posted to social media, KeokeN Interactive team members share they will be available at GDC and are hoping to rally the gaming community to find financial backers for the projects.


KeokeN Interactive, the decades old Dutch based studio behind Deliver Us the Moon and Deliver Us Mars, has shared that it is in urgent need of investment for five games currently in development. Studio cofounders Koen and Paul Deetman have released a video showcasing those five games and explaining the efforts made by the studio to secure funding.

The games revealed include Deliver Us Home, the final entry to the Deliver Us trilogy, along with a spinoff titled Deliver Us the Moon: Huygens and Deliver Us VR. Philosophical thriller We are Human and souls-like coop shooter Expeditions were also revealed, showing KeokeN's efforts to diversify its portfolio outside the Deliver Us franchise. Despite close to 200 pitch meetings and showing the games to more than 40 publishers, KeokeN has not been able to procure investments or backers for the projects.

The model of how games were made is failing.

The gaming industry is in a state of turmoil. There's no shortage of headlines about studio closures and mass layoffs, even as companies report ever-increasing profit margins. While it's the norm for well-known studio closures and layoffs to draw public attention, the ripple effect to smaller studios and publishers of a troublesome industrial economy is often overlooked. Indie studios, much like KeokeN Interactive, are also effected by the instability in the current market as investors reel in their willingness to back smaller, more unusual projects.

In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, KeokeN cofounder Koen Deetman described this phenomenon by saying, "The model of how games were made is failing, and it desperately needs a more efficient and durable way of how we create these experiences." He added that the games pitched by KeoKen to more than 40 different publishers included conflicting rejections that labeled the games as "too unique"/"not unique enough", "too commercial"/"not commercial enough", or with too high or too low of a budget.

KeokeN's debut, Deliver Us the Moon, was backed by prominent indie publisher Wired Productions. Following KeokeN's announcement of their urgent need for investment, Wired Productions' official Twitter account reposted the video with the stating the firm "working with [KeokeN] on #DeliverUstheMoon was a privilege. We only wish we had the bandwidth currently."

Deliver Us the Moon was included as part of Xbox Game Pass for a period of time. The follow-up, Deliver Us Mars, was not a part of the subscription service and was published by Frontier Foundry. Both Deliver Us the Moon and Deliver Us Mars were well received by players and critically acclaimed, with a laundry list of nominations and awards, yet the studio fell on hard times. Efforts to increase revenue with contract work and even releasing maps for Fortnite were unsuccessful in keeping things afloat. KeokeN Interactive was eventually forced to cut back its workforce by half. Additional layoffs in February have whittled the team down to just 15 employees.

The Deetman brothers hope that by revealing the games in development ahead of GDC, that the community that has been fostered by the studio can help link KeokeN with investors or a publisher. KeokeN's team will be at the annual convention in royal blue shirts that feature the studio's penguin logo in white. "It's our last resort," the Deetmans said, "We will not go down without a fight, and what better way than to fight with everything we've created."