The last time we heard about Abandoned, the PS5 exclusive that’s still shrouded in mystery, developer Blue Box Game Studios swore it wasn’t canceled despite reports suggesting otherwise. Well, it seems we’re back to questioning the game’s existence again after a GameSpot report alleged Abandoned’s development is in disarray and that there is no game at all.
Abandoned has been mired in controversy since it was revealed almost a year ago. Originally suspected as a disguised Hideo Kojima project, Blue Box Game Studios was dragged for launching a barebones PS5 app with nothing in it but a brief teaser to a playable Prologue that still hasn’t materialized yet. The studio said that technical delays have disrupted its release timeline for the Prologue, but the fact that this demo of sorts hasn’t come out and the studio was quietly scrubbing its Twitter led some to wonder what’s going on. Turns out the game’s just “changing,” according to Blue Box Game Studios.
“Changing” seems to be an understatement, though. In a GameSpot report in which the gaming outlet spoke to “more than half a dozen people who have had close contact with [studio founder Hasan] Kahraman since September 2021,” Abandoned is either a game stuck in development hell or something that’s not even actively being worked on at all anymore. Making matters worse, GameSpot’s anonymous sources claimed Kahraman may have been exploiting his fanbase and is complicit in nurturing a toxic Discord server. In other words, it’s possible Abandoned is in seriously rough shape.
GameSpot cited fans who have been invited to Discord servers maintained by Kahraman, where he allegedly made those in attendance sign hastily-made NDAs in exchange for behind-the-scenes looks at Abandoned assets, including animations, screenshots, and even a page of the game’s script. Weirdly, some of these materials reportedly featured the words “Silent Hill 5" on them, leading those in the group chat to question their veracity.
But whenever Kahraman was questioned by people, according to GameSpot’s sources, he would kick them out or make a newer, smaller server full of mostly agreeable stans he vetted through “research.” He’d then offer these people work on the project that’d ultimately go nowhere and make other sussy requests, such as asking a member to act as his shipping partner so he could send physical copies of Abandoned to them because Sony apparently needs a storage facility for U.S. distribution. There was also an instance of Kahraman allegedly seeking a “working and romantic relationship” with one of the community members, as well as a 12-year-old who told another member to kill themselves in a PlayStation voice party.
Many folks in the server rooms straight-up labeled them as “toxic.” No matter the amount of servers he created, though, Kahraman couldn’t stop Abandoned assets from leaking to either Reddit, Twitter, or both. This caused widespread speculation about the game’s existence, which was further underscored in the multiple servers by the game’s frequent change in scope.
According to those GameSpot spoke with, Abandoned started as a cult-themed horror game similar to Silent Hill. However, when the comparisons to Konami’s acclaimed series became too much for Blue Box Game Studios, Abandoned’s design was tweaked to become more action-oriented before going back to its OG horror premise that was then focused on a fourth-wall-breaking AI and other governmental conspiracies.
The game’s since gone through at least one more reimagining, allegedly becoming some sort of vampire concept that sounded like Resident Evil. There was apparently even a multiplayer beta in the works. But it seems Kahraman spends way more time playing Rainbow Six Siege “deep into the night” or chatting with those in his copious servers instead of working on whatever Abandoned is. GameSpot’s sources said Kahraman admitted to his chats that Abandoned was not in development.
It’s a fascinating, in-depth report that’s well worth reading.
In an email to Kotaku, a Blue Box Game Studios spokesperson said everyone at the developer is “working everyday on the game and the Prologue,” the playable demo that’s supposed to fund Abandoned’s full development since neither “the publisher [Sony] nor any other party” is helping the studio financially.
“We are ambitious and take this seriously,” the spokesperson said. “Ever since Abandoned was announced we’ve had a false start. We just want to have the same opportunity as other developers to work on it peacefully.”
When pressed about the Prologue, the spokesperson said they couldn’t “provide a release date for now” but confirmed that it is in development.
“The reason is the game is not finished and therefore not passed the certification process for it to be released,” the spokesperson said, “Until that stage, we will not announce anything and go dark. We want our first media to represent the game for what it is at launch with the Prologue. We don’t want to be forced to ‘prove’ it’s in development despite the tweets and Twitter poll. We understand why people are questioning it. But it is just a matter of time.”
The Blue Box Game Studios spokesperson also said no one was “active on Discord” and that the group GameSpot referenced was actually a PlayStation party chat with the sole purpose of “playing games” together.
“This was supposed to be a one-time thing but the fans insisted to keep the group there,” the spokesperson said. “The group was never meant to showcase Abandoned, everyone attended on their own choice. People were always treated with the upmost [sic] respect. Hasan never forced anyone to play games with him, and based on the chats shown, he always asked members.”
The spokesperson disputed the “romantic” relationship claims against Kahraman, saying the archived messages were “more of a friendly chat.”
“The group ended in early April when one of the fans raged out of the group as they where told at some point to show a slice of the game,” the spokesperson said. “As a result of one of the members informing Hasan of that another member’s intention was to leak the slice, this demonstration never took place and Hasan stated this clearly. That is when the group started to end. Some angry members then reached out to GameSpot.”
Still, none of this answers the real question: What the hell is going on? It’s been about a year since Abandoned was revealed and there’s been absolutely nothing to show for it. Not a new trailer or additional screenshots or anything. So if Blue Box Game Studios wants to silence nonbelievers, it should really consider peeling back the Abandoned curtain a little bit or just admit to everyone here and now that Abandoned has been…abandoned.
Kotaku has reached out to Sony for comment.