This is why we can't have nice things. It's an extremely tired phrase, sure, but it's certainly the first thing that comes to mind after learning why indie mystery Moirai is no longer playable.
In a recent post on Steam, the developers of the 4-year old free-to-play game explained that it's no longer feasible for them to continue supporting it—or more specifically to continue running the database for the closely guarded secret that is Moirai's multiplayer component. Thanks to a handful of malicious users exploiting this component, the time and cost of maintaining this database became far more trouble than it was worth for a group of developers offering their work for free.
For those who've heard of Moirai but never played it for themselves, the "multiplayer" label might come as a bit of a shock. When I covered Moirai for Waypoint last year, I quite deliberately shied away from explaining some of its key twists—particularly the way it chains players' experiences together even though the game is played alone. Few writers wanted to spoil this for prospective players because it is (or was) the most clever reveal on offer.
But with the game now unplugged, there's no reason to remain precious about it.
In essence, after exploring the area and picking up a few creepy, culty breadcrumbs, players would find themselves passing into a cave in search of a missing person. They would eventually come across a bloodied character who would give their name, answer a few questions, and then be at the player's mercy. Whether they killed them or let them pass, the player would then proceed further, learn the truth of what happened, and then turn to leave the cave themselves. At this point they would be the one bloodied, and they would meet a stranger who would ask them several questions. Then the game would end.
Within about a day or so, every player who entered a valid email address into the game when prompted would receive an email with their own character's fate. Did the player following in their footsteps kill them, or let them pass?
That's the morbid intrigue of Moirai, and why it has such a following among those who love unique and experimental games. It was also quite likely the game's downfall, providing an exploitable access point for anyone willing to seize on it—and available without even having to pay a single penny for the privilege.
As of publication Moirai is still listed on Steam, but unfortunately launching it will only bring players to an impassable title screen. RIP to a short, creepy, cool little game that deserved a far better fate than this