Vlambeer shutting down, Switch pre-orders, more


Daily Gaming Update


Indie studio Vlambeer shutting down

To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, indie studio Vlambeer is officially closing its doors. Co-founded by Rami Ismail and JW Nijman, the studio is known for making games such as Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing, and Super Crate Box.

More importantly though, Vlambeer has been a major influence on the independent scene, bolstered especially by Rami’s career as a public speaker telling the story of their company. Before they call it quits, they’ll be releasing their final title, ULTRABUGS, which is a fast-paced shoot-em-up.

It’s not a sad day for us, but the happy conclusion to a whirlwind decade filled with screenshake. It feels like we’ve achieved what we set out to do – as a studio, as a voice, and as individuals, and we are extremely grateful for these past years.

—@Vlambeer on Twitter

The pairing of Ismail and Nijman is actually quite unique — they don’t consider themselves friends, but very strong business partners. Ismail had the marketing and branding, where Nijman was able to program like nobody else. From 2010 to 2016 they pumped out game after game, most of them critically praised, and then they got burned out. In 2016, they decided to take a break and pursue individual projects. Ismail continued his advocacy efforts, and even developed the only global video game conference called GameDev.World. Nijman went on to develop an indie game with a new team called MINIT , which would become nominated for a number of awards (deservedly, it’s a great 2 hour game, check it out). Finally, they reconvened to create their next game (ULTRABUGS), only to decide they had grown in different directions.

I highly recommend you read this article by Jessica Conditt on Engadget. It tells the story of the company far better than I can, and dives deep into the history of the company. It’s a fascinating read. Here’s the final excerpt:

“…one core mission remains the same for both of them: help the indie industry grow. Vlambeer served that purpose for a while, but now it’s time for something new.

‘People don’t necessarily need a Vlambeer anymore,’ Nijman said.

‘We’ve said what we wanted to, we’ve said when we needed to, we’ve grown along with the industry in such interesting ways,” Ismail added. “If I’m honest, I would much rather close this chapter with one last good choice than bleed out over the years, doing less and less.’

The indie industry may not need Vlambeer anymore, true. But more importantly, Ismail and Nijman don’t need Vlambeer any longer.

On a personal note, I’m sad to see them go, but I’m happy with how they’ve decided to end it. There’s nothing worse than a studio that has no legs to stand on, and ultimately I’m just glad we’ve been able to have them around the last 10 years.

You can now cancel Switch pre-orders

In a move that should have been made 3 years ago, Nintendo now allows customers to cancel digital preorders on the Switch. The cancellation can take place until the payment is processed, which usually happens 7 days before the game launches.

Nintendo did end up getting into some hot water for not allowing this in the beginning, with a number of federal governments and consumer rights groups claiming it to be illegal. Whether or not this seven-day limit will abate those groups remains to be seen. At least you’re able to cancel your preorders now!

Free-to-keep PC games to pick up right now

Tom Clancy’s The Division is currently free to keep on the Uplay store. I’m not sure if it’s still worth playing in 2020 when The Division 2 also exists, but it can’t hurt to pick it up.

You can also still head over to the Epic Games Store to pick up Hitman and the Shadowrun collection, which are two top-tier franchises that are absolutely worth picking up. Starting this Thursday, you can also pick up Into The Breach, which may be my favourite strategy game of all time.