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Eggnut decide not to bring Backbone to Linux officially

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After a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2018, developer Eggnut released their post-noir narrative adventure Backbone in June 2021. Sadly, they've decided not to go through with the official Linux support on it.

This is a crowdfunding campaign that did very clearly have Linux down as a platform from the beginning, so it's not the best of looks. Especially to get the announcement that it's no longer planned eight months after the initial launch. What's the reasoning being given? Here's what they said in the Kickstarter announcement:

We're very sorry to announce that we won't be porting Backbone to Linux in the near future. We did our best to do it in-house, but it took immeasurable amount of time and effort, and making it work properly would require creating a dev environment to work in which we don't have the resources for because we're deep in production for our next game. We are not in the financial position to hire another party to do the porting for us. We absolutely understand the frustration these news might bring, and we're ready to offer you these solutions:

For backers, they've offered a key for any other platform or a full refund if you prefer. That is at least a lot better than some, as we've seen plenty of other projects decide not to do Linux after including it in funding and not offer anything. Still, it's a frustrating situation, especially to be told they don't have a development environment set up for it — after being in development overall for multiple years and already being supported on Windows for over half a year.

What about Steam Play Proton, can you run it there? Reports seem mixed on it, although there's not many, with the big problem being cinematics not playing.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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92 comments
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Corben 10 Feb
Hm... the reason I backed it was the promised Linux version. It's mind boggling they promise the Linux version and now realizing they have absolutely no clue how to do it and fail now trying. I would've thought that at least some preparation in that regard would have been done beforehand. At least to check if it's feasible.
Well, refunds are okay, trust is gone nonetheless.
Though missing cut-scenes sounds like: Proton-GE to the rescue!
Or just wait until Valve has re-encoded the videos, like they already did for many others (Exo One).
But I guess I'll take a copy for the Switch then.
dpanter 10 Feb
And yet, somehow they managed to make a Mac version of this Unreal Engine 4 game.
Single player, no anti-cheat or anti-tamper as far as I can see, it's using FMOD, XAudio, Bink2... so what was the problem here?
Linas 10 Feb
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The devs would go "yeah, we can make a Linux version", then develop the whole thing on Windows, include a bunch of third party libs without checking compatibility once, and then at the end would be like "uhmm, we're releasing next week, anyone here knows anything about this Linux thing? no? alrighty then".
Eike 10 Feb
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Strange thing is they had a running demo on Linux. I was looking forward to the game. But then, recent reviews at 46%, 60% over all of them... I fear we're not missing something great.
soulsource 10 Feb
Quoting: dpanterAnd yet, somehow they managed to make a Mac version of this Unreal Engine 4 game.
Single player, no anti-cheat or anti-tamper as far as I can see, it's using FMOD, XAudio, Bink2... so what was the problem here?

I can only think of one potential explanation:
They focused fully on Windows development, and treated all other platforms as "let's get those working later". This means that all engine issues they encountered and fixed/worked around during development were those that affect the windows build. If you have one of those per week of development, well, that's filed under "overhead".
All engine issues that are specific to Linux were left undiscovered until they finally started the porting process, and they probably were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of problems...
In other words: "Expected that porting to Linux is clicking a button in the Editor, but turned out it's actually a list of 100 Unreal Engine bugs we need to work around or fix. We don't have the resources for that."

(But again, this is just a potential explanation for which I am sadly speaking out of experience with another Unreal game and another target platform - which happened in the end, but one year after the Windows release. I do not know if this applies to this particular case.)
slaapliedje 10 Feb
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Ugh, whenever this happens I am reminded of Tower 57. Promised Linux port never happened... and what was released was an AmigaOS/MorphOS port...
monyarm 10 Feb
Reminds me of Bloodstained, atleast these guys are offering a refund.
Boldos 10 Feb
Reminds me of Kingdom Come: Deliverance
dpanter 10 Feb
So the demo ran natively back in 2019, same year devs received an Epic Mega Grant for the game, then Linux support evaporated. I'm not suggesting anything, I'm sure this is just a coincidence.
mirv 10 Feb
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Quoting: soulsource
Quoting: dpanterAnd yet, somehow they managed to make a Mac version of this Unreal Engine 4 game.
Single player, no anti-cheat or anti-tamper as far as I can see, it's using FMOD, XAudio, Bink2... so what was the problem here?

I can only think of one potential explanation:
They focused fully on Windows development, and treated all other platforms as "let's get those working later". This means that all engine issues they encountered and fixed/worked around during development were those that affect the windows build. If you have one of those per week of development, well, that's filed under "overhead".
All engine issues that are specific to Linux were left undiscovered until they finally started the porting process, and they probably were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of problems...
In other words: "Expected that porting to Linux is clicking a button in the Editor, but turned out it's actually a list of 100 Unreal Engine bugs we need to work around or fix. We don't have the resources for that."

(But again, this is just a potential explanation for which I am sadly speaking out of experience with another Unreal game and another target platform - which happened in the end, but one year after the Windows release. I do not know if this applies to this particular case.)

It's these kinds of issues that I really would like developers to give some sunlight rather than simply say "we tried but couldn't", just because I'm convinced that the more it was talked about then the more it would be looked at and fixed - or at least give developers more reasonable expectations on the efforts involved.

Just in case I'm sounding negative to this dev: they're at least saying the port isn't coming, and are offering refunds. They're being clear with communication, this is good!
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