Primarily a publishing and promotion studio, in 2018 Klabater expanded to also include in-house game development under the production team of Kraken Unleashed (earlier referred to as Kraken Studios), headed by the game's concept creator, Patryk Pietraszkiewicz.
Work on Crossroads Inn had initially commenced back in 2016, with a very small team of developers that would later form the Kraken team. Klabater's in-house dev team, Kraken Studios (now Kraken Unleashed) was later expanded to include numerous additional 2D and 3D artists, animators, and programmers, and a sound designer and game testers.
Kickstarter Project and Funding
Crossroads Inn began development by Patryk Pietraszkiewicz and Klabater in 2016. Intensive development of the game began in 2018, under the banner of the newly-formed Kraken Studio.
The game was already in an advanced development stage when it was launched as a Kickstarter Project on the 13th February, 2019. The team cited the Kickstarter project as being independent of game creation, and that the game would be released irrespective of the Kickstarter outcome. The campaign goal of $30,000 was stated by Kraken as being an attempt to obtain further funding that would go towards "additional game features".
The project reached the $30,000 funding goal on the 11th March 2019 with 1,010 pledges, just four days before the deadline. On the 15th March, 2019, the Crossroads Inn Kickstarter campaign ended, with the project successfully funded for a total of $38,641 pledged by 1,265 backers. The backers are collectively thanked in the loading screen of the game.
Six team members are listed on the Kickstarter Crossroads Inn development team (Patryk Pietraszkiewicz, Michał Gembicki, Szczepan Rożalski, Jakub Balewicz, Tomasz Kuczyński and Michał Łowigus). On full release, the digital guide published by Klabater goes on to credit a different combination of designers in the development team (these include Patryk Pietraszkiewicz, Kacper Kapela, Adam Betley, Szczepan Różalski, Rafał Sadowski, et al.).
Game Release and Initial Reviews
Crossroads Inn was made available for public purchase on Steam as a full release on 24th October, 2019 for $19.99.
Unfavourable Early Impressions
Initial reviews in the first days of release were mixed. Critic reviews cited a plethora of bugs and technical malfunctions as sabotaging what was otherwise a promising and charming tycoon-builder-management-sim. With only a handful of reviews, Metacritic offers a lukewarm critics score of 58/100, and a more promising user score of 7.9/10.
Steam user reviews were similarly lackluster in the days soon after full release ("Mixed", with only half of players recommending the game). Game owners largely praised the gameplay, but were critical of the unfinished ("early access") feel of the game and frequent bugs encountered, with some users unable to start or progress games. Klabater acknowledged the negative reviews and admitted the game needed further work, with the lead designer describing the release as "quite tough", and "filled with both positive and negative emotions" in a Steam Community update. He went on to say the team owed "an explanation and apologize (sic) to... some of you who experienced some issues with the game".
Entering "Terminator Mode"
In light of the issues and vocal disappointment of players in the days following release, the development team entered "Terminator mode", and vowed to eliminate bugs with regular patches.
Kraken team members posted frequently on community and social media forums, encouraging players to report bugs and difficulties on the game's Discord forum and in Steam Community Discussions. Since release, Crossroads Inn has been under active development, with regular game patches released on Steam, and frequent communication by the development studio on Steam Communities and the official game Discord channel.
As a result, impressions of the game have since warmed. As of mid–late November, the collective Steam reviews had improved from Mixed to Mostly Positive, with 70% of reviews recommending the game. Several free major game updates, and paid DLCs, are also slated for future releases.
Steam Patch History
- 2019-11-22: Patch 2.0.8 released
- 2019-11-20: Patch 2.0.7 released (unlisted)
- 2019-11-16: Patch 2.0.6 released
- 2019-11-15: Patch 2.0.5 released
- 2019-11-09: Patch 2.0.4 released
- 2019-11-08: Patch 2.0.3 released
- 2019-11-05: Patch 2.0.2 released
- 2019-11-01: Patch 2.0.1 released
- 2019-10-31: Patch 2.0.0 released
- 2019-10-27: Patch 1.2 released
- 2019-10-26: Patch 1.1 released
- 2019-10-25: Patch 1.0 released