Temtem CEO says the MMO's audience expects "infinite content" even though "it is not feasible to continue" big updates at all, so the dev's making a new game instead

Temtem: Swarm
(Image credit: Crema)

Update - February 23: In response to questions from GamesRadar+, developer Crema clarified that it still has plans to update Temtem going forward, and that development will proceed in parallel to the newly announced spinoff Temtem: Swarm. It is also preparing an "open letter to the community regarding this situation" as a whole.

Here's the studio's response:

"We’ve found there might be a little misunderstanding. We are still working on Temtem, it will receive more updates as we are still working on the game. Temtem: Swarm, our latest announcement, is being co-developed with GGTech. We just want to make sure it’s clear that Crema is working on both projects at the same time. We haven’t stop focusing on Temtem."

Original story:

The developer of Temtem, that Pokemon-like MMO from a few years back, is now working on a co-op roguelike featuring its collection of creatures, and the news has been divisive. Roguelike fans and some Temtem enthusiasts seem intrigued by the idea, but a vocal part of the Temtem community is upset to see developer Crema seemingly move away from the core MMO. A statement from CEO Enrique Paños – or Kikill0, one of the devs in the Temtem Discord – has fanned the flames by telling disappointed players that they can't expect "infinite content" when putting out major updates is "not feasible" to begin with.

In a lengthy Discord message later posted to Reddit, Kikill0 waded into some of the backlash to Temtem: Swarm's reveal and the state of Temtem itself. 

"The community expects to add infinite content, which is costly in terms of time and money, and just because it carries the MMO label, but MMO doesn't mean infinite," he writes. "It's compared to other MMOs, even though Crema has clarified since 2018 that it wouldn't be like those MMOs. But when comparing it to other MMOs, the small detail is forgotten that those MMOs have a subscription model or are free but with pay-to-win practices. They are sustainable in that way." He adds that, "when we tried to introduce purely cosmetic microtransactions as a way to support us and extend the life of the game, we also received many negative criticisms."

The thrust of the argument seems to be that Temtem shouldn't be treated like a normal MMO, but rather more like a standard single-player game that you can also enjoy in a massively multiplayer space. Putting a point on it, Kikill0 describes Temtem as: "A game that gives you a minimum of 50 hours of adventure, and another 50 hours of side quests and different features that are not part of the adventure. In total, around 100 hours of gameplay just for a complete game that is not in Early Access, and there are things still being added to it." 

Temtem: Swarm

(Image credit: Crema)

Temtem's Early Access development showed the devs "how much it costs to make an island and new Temtem [creatures], how many people it brings back, and how many it retains," and with these figures in mind, the CEO says "it is not feasible to continue" with updates on this scale. But it's his next claim that's really riled up people who were hoping for more Temtem instead of a spinoff.

"If you really want [the] Temtem franchise to live on and more games to be made, be it spinoffs or Temtem 2, what you would really ask for is for us to stop improving Temtem 1 and start working on something new. As of now, we are improving Temtem 1 just for you, even if it never seems enough." 

That is, you may have gathered, exactly what these fans didn't want to hear. The whole thing feels like a case of clashing expectations igniting mounting frustrations, partly rooted in how the MMO label is interpreted, and this bitter pill isn't going down well for many. "Temtem is still being updated, Temtem is still being improved, but we can't give you what you want at the pace you want, or exactly what you want (not in this game)," the CEO adds, hammering it home.  

"Temtem has delivered what it promised and a little more. And I understand that you may not like the final result, but you have to understand that it is not feasible to create infinite content or change the foundations of the game itself." 

In a follow-up response – one of dozens of replies made in the last few days – the CEO reiterates: "I know from your comments that all this is not enough for you, but Temtem is a complete game. Of course you can ask for more, both in content and improvements, but what you are asking for is DLC to add 20% more gameplay for free. And if we did that, after finishing the new content in [10 hours], you would ask for other DLC, because it is an online game and you assume that it has to be like that, and it is not viable." 

TemTem: Swarm trailer

(Image credit: Crema)

As someone who's tired of folks expecting too many games to last forever, I do see where Crema's coming from here. Games, and updates for games, cost money to make. But as someone who's seen beloved games fizzle out, I also understand why Temtem diehards are upset, especially given that this is all coming from the maker of a self-described MMO. There are also longstanding complaints about events and features that have yet to materialize, though Crema says some highly requested additions and changes are coming soon-ish. 

The only olive branch I can see even remotely resolving some of this unrest would be Crema demonstrating that it's still committed to Temtem as an IP, but that may not satisfy folks who are more invested in the game we have right now. 

In another response, Paños says: "The franchise could be a living thing for decades or even more. Pokemon has been living for decades for example. [It is] ok to request improvements, but is not ok IMO to make a negative campaign if those improvements can't be made. If the balance of the game is good for you, with its flaws, I think it is unfair what is being done." 

I've reached out to Crema to clarify its plans for Temtem, both the MMO and the IP itself, and will update if I hear back. 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.