Today is a bittersweet day for the videogame developers community: Renegade Kid is shutting down, while not really shutting down. Its former founders will continue to develop games under two solo companies: Atooi and Infitizmo.
First of all I want to personally thank Jool Watsham and Gregg Hargrove for their contribution in developing great software. Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter, among others, represent what 2D games can say in our contemporary industry, pushing the limit of personal challenges and quality, while Dementium and Moon are an incredible proof of what portable could do despite every possible odd in terms of hardware capabilities.
Atooi will keep the rights to the 2D games, while Infitizmo will get the 3D ones. This announcement is both "good" and "bad", here is why I would like to analyze it.
This announcement is "bad" because we are going to lose a cherish developer that developed games with sinergy and was strong because of that dualism. One slightly bigger company is usually better than two smaller ones, because you can have access to more funds, you can have a more compelling financial backup if one game does not sell as expected. Setting up a plan for developing, including PR campaing, is easier with a bigger company. A 10 yeras old name has history and confidence to be recognized for its quality and has more chance to do better, because humans tend to go where comfort is: think about sequels. Two is simply better than one.
This announcement is "good" because Watsham and Hargrove are getting more freedom creativity. Having every responsability on your own can give you the motivation to be more productive and do things better, because a little bit of fear is positive for creativity. We can end up in a situation where Atooi, focusing only on 2D games, could really improve its already high quality and audience, same could happen to Infitizmo. A bigger company could be interested in publishing and budgeting a one man game, giving either Atooi or Infitizmo the chance to develop a game with a bigger safety net under it. This is not a divorce, collaborations, crossovers, help and IP progression can still happen. A new studio is a wave in the indie ocean, and waves move on other waves: the indie community is constantly evolving and good things come for those who accept change. Change is always good.
In the end, comparing the pros and cons, I think this is a big step for both Watsham and Hargrove, this is going to be the best choice and I wish them the best of luck.