Storybook Brawl is a free-to-play fairytale card game designed by former Magic: The Gathering pros that showed real promise when it debuted in 2021. It still needed work—we said in a preview later that year that it felt "unfocused," and was "struggling for a unique identity among the varied mechanics of what is still an unexplored game genre"—but it was in early access, which is exactly when those sorts of issues are supposed to be worked out.
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Developer Good Luck Games announced on Twitter today that the servers will be taken offline for good on May 1.
"On behalf of everyone on the SBB team, we'd like to thank you for your support," the studio tweeted earlier today. "We’ve explored different options, and unfortunately there is no path forward. We’ll be shutting down the servers on May 1st - please enjoy SBB until then, and thanks for all the memories."
A specific reason for the closure hasn't been given, but the widely held assumption is that Storybook Brawl was caught in the swirl of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that went from a $32 billion valuation at the beginning of 2022 to multiple criminal charges at the end of it.
FTX acquired Good Luck Games in March 2022, saying it was an "opportunity to be the vanguard for the ethical integration of gaming and crypto transactions." Fans didn't see it that way, however: The review bombs began dropping almost immediately, dragging the user rating on Steam down to "mixed", based on 3,506 reviews at current count.
The bigger issue, of course, was that FTX was itself a house of cards. Founder Sam Bankman-Fried denied criminal intent but acknowledged on Twitter that he "fucked up," which is certainly one way to put it; criminal charges have yet to be proven in court but at the very least, FTX was run fast, loose, and with basically no oversight.
Sorry to hear. I really enjoyed the game and felt like it had a lot of potential.April 25, 2023
The studio didn't comment directly on the collapse of FTX, although it did make a couple of oblique references to the company's troubles. On November 11, the day FTX filed for bankruptcy, Good Luck Games tweeted that "given the circumstances, we are saddened to announce that we are cancelling the World Championship in The Bahamas," and said that it was "unsure about the future of Organized Play and the World Championship."
A couple months later, Good Luck Games said it "appreciates the community's continued passion for the game," but had no "big news" to share otherwise.
The Storybook Brawl team appreciates the community's continued passion for the game. We don't have any big news to share right now, but we will keep everyone updated as things change. Thank you and we appreciate your patience.January 26, 2023
Some fans are hoping the rights to Storybook Brawl can be acquired in order to enable its re-release, possibly as an open source game, but given FTX's legal entanglements, that doesn't seem like a likely outcome to me. I've reached out to Good Luck Games for more information on the closure, and will update if I receive a reply.