Arkedo Studio Stops Making Games

Arkedo Studio, the developer behind XBLA’s Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, will no longer be producing games. The independent French developer is not shutting down, but it no longer has any employees and will not be developing any future games, a blog post from Arkedo Creative Director Aurelien Regard explains.

“Arkedo, the company, is still here,” writes Regard in the post that was roughly translated from French to English by a fan. “But no one’s employed anymore. No more games are produced either. That’s the subtlety of the situation: Arkedo hasn’t closed down and is not bankrupt, going into administration or whatever big word, as it is managed properly. It is interesting for the structure to still be here as after Hell Yeah!, we’ve made two small games which are finished but you’re not aware of them yet. We hope to release them soon and it should be fine on this side.”

A lack of a publisher-funded future project to work on; an inability to sustain the mid-sized studio Arkedo apparently grew to be during Wrath of the Dead Rabbit‘s development; and divergent future plans of Regard and Arkedo co-founder Camille Guermonprez all contributed to the decision to let the team go and not produce any more software.

“When we decided together to put everything on hold,” continues Regard, “Camille was fully involved on his publishing project, already looking ahead. That doesn’t mean he wanted to leave Arkedo on the side of the road.

“On my side, I already told the team my willing to start my own mini-studio within the next few years. It wasn’t planned for a short term, but I had it in mind. ”

With the duo’s prospective plans taking them in completely different directions, Regard says “it didn’t make sense” to attempt to take on the type of financial burden and risk involved with developing another game on the scale that would be appropriate for its current studio size. Were the economy in better shape “Arkedo would probably still be here,” he says, but the studio would likely have still had to pull the plug on game development within a few years.

Post-Hell Yeah! Arkedo was able to do what it wanted to: create smaller games again. It was able to bankroll and develop two of them on its own by splitting up into two small teams that worked autonomously. Doing so drained its funds, however, and Regard says “we had to do something” before the money completely dried up.

“So, it has been decided to disband the team when there still was enough money to get good conditions for everyone, rather than replace permanent positions with interns and a bad atmosphere,” he says. “As in any human matter, it is important to know when to stop, to get a clean situation. It is precisely because we did this at this time that everyone from Arkedo is still having a good time together, even after it’s officially over.”

Regard is now pursuing “an old fantasy” by attempting to create a complete game on his own (sound, design and code) from nothingness. He admits that it’s too early in the project cycle to assert whether or not the game will be worth anyone’s time but says that it’s “looking good.” He’s also not entirely certain he can make a living off of such work.

As for Guermonprez, his partner is leaving most of the telling of his tale to him but adds that there was “a serious, deadly problem to the publishing project” in December. Regard and Guermonprez reportedly plan to keep up their relationship with one another for a “long time.”

“In this kind of case,” Regard concludes, “we say ‘See ya’ rather than ‘Farewell,’ right?”

Several questions are still left unanswered. The most pertinent is whether or not either of the two completed games will make their way onto a marketplace or two, which leads to another question: what platforms were they built for? And if Arkedo is no longer making games but it’s staying open, and if Regard is working on a game of his own making, will that game be released under a separate studio label? If so, what reason is there for keeping Arkedo open sans employees and game development projects?

XBLAFans has reached out to Guermonprez, whose business card describes him as the studio’s “Final Boss,” in an attempt to get some of these questions answered, but no response has been issued as of publishing time. We’ll update our readers should he elect to speak to us about Arkedo one final time.

Arkedo Studio released Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit in September of last year. Despite being a flawed experience, XBLAFans enjoyed the game and gave it a rating of “Buy it” in ourreview. Prior to doing so it developed several smaller games for XBLIG, PSN and the Nintendo DS. The recently released iOS version of Hell Yeah! was developed externally from Arkedo by French smartphone app developer Polm Studio.

Source: Aurelien Regard