Firm Returns Weekly - TMI, TBLD

Taylor Maritime Investments

Grindrod will be carrying out a capital reduction and cash distribution of US$32.44m in two tranches: the first distribution of US$1.01598 per ordinary share will be payable on 26 October 2023, and the second distribution of US$0.63193 per ordinary share on 11 December 2023.

Of the total cash distribution, c.US$27m will be payable to TMI in line with its 83.23% ownership of GRIN. Management has stated their intention to use this cash to further reduce the debt outstanding.

London Stock Exchange | London Stock Exchange


Steam Next Fest

Ahead of the October Steam Next Fest, which starts on Monday 9 October, tinyBuild and Versus Evil have been launching demos and developer livestreams for titles releasing later this year or early next.

Steam Next Fest: October 2023 Edition - Coming Soon
A celebration of upcoming games featuring demos, livestreams and more

Slime 3K

The first one to mention is Slime 3K: Rise Against Despot, which now has a demo available and is set for PC early access release on 2 November.

The release of the demo and associated marketing has given a nice little boost to the game's follower count and wishlist ranking. Going into the Steam Next Fest with the demo already achieving peak concurrent player counts in excess of 100 will hopefully give it some early momentum.

Slime 3K Demo concurrent player count - source SteamDB
Slime 3K Demo concurrent player count - source SteamDB

Kill It With Fire 2

Kill It With Fire 2 has just announced that it will contain several multiplayer modes, including a Four Player Co-op Campaign, and PvP Spider Hunt for which they have released a playtest - not sure if this will be expanded into a full-blown demo for Steam Next Fest or not. It has also seen a bump in follower count and wishlist ranking as a result of these announcements and trailers.

The game will be releasing in PC early access later in Q4 2023, ahead of v1.0 on PC and consoles in 2024.

Critter Cove

Critter Cove now has a closed beta (playtest) and a livestream recording showing the developers playing the game. I'm not sure whether there will be a playable demo, but I'm guessing the livestream will be showcased during Steam Next Fest and used to promote the game's early access launch later this year.

Critter Cove: Cozy Scrapyard Life Sim on Steam
Rebuild an island town alongside a quirk cast of critters in this open world cozy life sim! Explore a vibrant and mysterious archipelago, build a thriving community and make new friends all in a colorful, handcrafted "post-post" apocalypse! Your new life in this cozy island paradise awaits…

Version 1.0 on PC and consoles is currently expected in Q1 2024, but this will probably depend on how the game does in early access, among other factors. We've again seen good results from recent marketing efforts, with significant growth in follower numbers and wishlist ranking.

Stray Souls

Stray Souls will be releasing on PC and consoles on 25 October, and currently has a pretty good standing after the promotional efforts of recent months - including an appearance at Fear Fest 2023 in September.

It appears that they've chosen not release any demo or early access version for this title, which contrasts somewhat to the approach taken by tinyBuild for the games it publishes.

Stray Souls is going to be sold at the fairly premium price point of $29.99, so revenue from each copy sold at launch will be pretty substantial.

Hello Neighbor franchise

There has been some pretty major cross-media marketing going on for the Hello Neighbor franchise, that seems to be building up to a major update for Hello Neighbor 2 (HN2). This began with the release of a couple of "leaked" clips from said HN2 update:

Season 1 of the Hello Neighbor animated series has resumed, with episodes releasing weekly, starting from Saturday 7 October (yesterday as of writing).

Finally, Secret Neighbor is getting a Halloween update that will coincide with the update for HN2.

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Jamie Larson