Two Tribes has announced via a press release that Rive will be their final game and they will stop developing games after its release. They note they are not closing and will support their partners but are ending game development.
This is it! After more than 15 years of hard work and gallons of blood, sweat and tears, we have decided that RIVE will be Two Tribes’ final game. This may come as a surprise for you, but we’ve actually been thinking about it for some time now
For the last two years, we have been working feverishly to finish RIVE, the shooter/platformer hybrid that we always wanted to make. We have delayed it several times to make it the best experience possible and now that we are nearing the finish line, we can confidently say that RIVE will come out in September 2016!
We also want to make clear that Two Tribes will remain operational. We will continue to support our partners and all gamers out there, we just won’t be making any new games after RIVE.
So what happened?
The industry changed a lot since we started in 2000. Back then, there were maybe a dozen game developers here in The Netherlands. It was extremely difficult to enter the global games industry, as you needed to have a track record and experience. Even if you took a shot, you still had to secure backing from a publisher, since the only way to reach gamers was through physical distribution.
The technological bar was also set very high, as there were no middleware engines available. There were severe hardware limitations and most of today’s sophisticated design tools were non-existent. You basically had to make everything yourself. We felt comfortable working in such an environment, and we actually still cling to this DIY mentality.
The big change happened around 2008, when new technologies and tools allowed developers to make games way more easily and faster. Suddenly, because of digital distribution, small developers were able to create and publish their own games without the help of big publishers. Initially this was great for us, as we were one of the first developers to enter the Steam, WiiWare and iOS markets. Business was good. We were on the shortlists of companies like Nintendo and Valve.
But the situation didn’t last. While we were working on Toki Tori 2+ for two years, the industry was changing without us realizing it. The market was flooded with games by developers from all around the world. Game development schools were erected, and every year thousands of students tried their luck under increasingly difficult conditions. With game changers such as the Humble Bundle, the ever-continuing race to the bottom and a growing focus on free-to-play games, it became tough for a game to even hit the break-even point.
The industry had moved on and we were still stuck in the past. We learned this the hard way, when most of our employees needed to be laid off in 2013. But it would be too easy to solely blame the industry. Perhaps it would be better to blame it on dinosaurs!
As said, we’ve been working in the games industry since early 2000, making us dinosaurs, old farts, grandfathers or whatever you want to call us. This is great, because we’ve got a lot experience, but it also means that we act like a typical grandfather: slow and totally unaware of what is hot and what is not. Don’t get us wrong: we absolutely love making games, and we strongly feel that we’re good at making them. However, ask us anything about new industry developments, and often a big question mark will appear above our heads.
For example, we are used to working with our own proprietary engine. It’s technology that works great for us, but is by no means competitive with tools like Unity or the Unreal Engine. And then there are monetization strategies like free-to-play. We only know, and feel comfortable working with, the traditional model of full-priced games. The same goes for marketing: we know how to make a decent trailer and send out a press release… but have no clue how to get traction on YouTube and Twitch.
Long story short (grandfathers like to digress!): when running a company, you need to be on top of your game, not just in terms of the product you’re making, but business-wise too. And we just aren’t on top of the games business anymore. Therefore, it makes sense to focus our attention elsewhere, perhaps even outside the games industry. We simply don’t know yet; but we do know that RIVE is going to be our parting gift to you and we’re making damn sure it’s going to be an awesome one!
Stay tuned for the release in September 2016!
Its very sad to hear that a company like Two Tribes will cease game development. What are your favorite games that they developed?