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Highly Anticipated Game Finally Released After 22 Years of Delays

In 2002, a group of friends in Italy began developing an action-platformer with RPG elements for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. After an astonishing 22 years, their creation, Kien, has finally been released on the GBA, ending one of the longest development periods in gaming history.

Kien’s journey is one for the record books, surpassing even the infamous Duke Nukem Forever, which took nearly 15 years from its announcement in 1997 to its release in 2011.

The Guardian and Patricia Hernandez, former Editor-in-Chief of Kotaku, reported that Kien was initiated by a small team of friends with no prior game development experience. They devoted two years to the project, often working without breaks. By the mid-2000s, the game was complete, but the high costs of producing Game Boy cartridges and the uncertainty of its success deterred publishers from taking it on.

Despite the challenges, Fabio Belsanti, the game designer, remained committed to Kien. Over the years, he started a new company focused on educational games but never gave up on his dream of releasing Kien. Observing a resurgence in interest in retro games and consoles, Belsanti saw an opportunity to bring Kien back.

“I think we’re seeing a revival similar to vinyl records or cassette tapes,” Belsanti told The Guardian. “Nostalgia drives those who lived through those eras, and curiosity drives those who didn’t.”

To make his dream a reality, Belsanti partnered with Incube8, a publisher specializing in new games for classic consoles like the GBA. This partnership was the perfect fit, and in June 2024, Kien was finally launched.

“Releasing the game on its original console feels magical,” Belsanti said. “Seeing Kien come to life on the platform it was designed for is a dream come true.”

Now, Kien is available for purchase. Enthusiasts can choose between a physical version for the Game Boy Advance or a digital version to play on an emulator, providing both nostalgic and new gamers a chance to experience this long-awaited title.

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