Iron Lore shut down


was it me or could you just not customize your avatar besides male/female?


Did you want a hermaphrodite? Drag queen maybe?

— Alan


Sad news, yet another good studio that put out a high quality product in one of my favorite genres gone. PC gaming may not be domed, but high quality independant studios sure look like they are lately.

It’s good to hear the Boston development community is otherwise thriving right now. I hope the Iron Lore guys all get snatched up by other quality studios. Best of luck to all of them.


Sad news, best of luck to the team.


I guess I don’t know how royalties and stuff work, but weren’t they about to make a killing from Soulstorm? Dark Crusade was just a money factory - last time I checked, it outsold Company of Heroes over here.

We’d love to hear your feelings about what contributed to this - it looks weird to us ignorant outsiders.


You won’t see royalties until the game’s made back its original development cost, which could take anywhere from a week to a month to a year to never. So, unless they offered their employees “potential future salaries based on potential future royalties,” I’m guessing it would be hard to fund an entire team without revenue.

I have no inside knowledge of Iron Lore, but if you get $5 million to make a game, you spend $5 million (or more) to make it. And while your $5 million game is wrapping up, you need to get another game signed and hope the first milestone payment or signing bonus covers the salaries of the people you’re carrying over to the new project; the publisher doesn’t throw all the money at you right away.

And if there’s any delay between finishing one game and signing the next one, well… you’re running in the red. This is why it’s really hard to be an independent with a single team. You almost need to have, at a minimum, two projects running a year apart so they never overlap.


I really liked Titan Quest. It’s a shame to see a good studio close. As Mr. Fitch pointed out, there are quite a few studios hiring in the Boston area. While the situation sucks, here’s hoping the crew there ends up in another awesome job.

  1. As Alan Au said, if you’re making regular game titles, you’re stuck at the mercy of the funding model. If your game is a hit, you can pay back the publisher’s advance… and that’s about it. You can’t keep the studio running for 2 years while you develop your next title. So you need to find a publisher who will advance you on the next title. If you can’t, or if your next title is a flop, your studio is pretty much hosed. This is why MMOGs are so great… even a somewhat failed MMOG can generate sustainable revenue, that goes direct to the developer, to keep the studio afloat until it can deliver its next product.

  2. I was told at GDC by someone who shall rename nameless that Iron Lore was basically in the same building as 38 Studios, and 38 Studios basically went and stole a whole bunch of their employees out from under them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I’d rather work at 38 Studios than Iron Lore too, especially if they were willing to pay me more money. :)



I think it’s also worth keeping in mind this is the company that features the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane and celebrated fantasy author RA Salvatore.


Dude. It’s Massachusetts. All you gotta do is say you work with Curt Schilling and you people will just give you stuff for free.



Essentially this is what happened to Troika. They finished the Vampire RPG and had nothing to move on to and no money coming in. Later they admitted they had made a big mistake in not hiring a business manager to handle the bigger picture.


By this reasoning, Flagship Studios is next. Plus Hellgate wasn’t even a particularly good game, nor received well critically.


I doubt it. Hellgate has a sustained revenue stream from subscriptions, theoretically at least. Not to mention I think HGL will be more popular than TQ if only because of the central server multiplayer. It’s not a feature I care about but I think it’s huge for sustaining popularity.


So is the business model and multiplayer implementation the critical factor these days, rather than the genre and quality of the game? I don’t suppose we’ll know until we learn more about how well Hellgate not only sold but got a subscriber base on board. But it tried to target a similar Diablo-like demographic despite being more action-based. If TQ failed I can’t see how Hellgate would have succeeded, but maybe that’s just me.


I suspect that flagship is much better funded, if less deserving to survive.


I think that taking a closer look at the business model is going to be a better idea than blaming your audience.

If they’re all a bunch of pirates then you better learn to make piratemade…


Yeah, or a QA Manager to handle, you know, bugs.


Just saw this thread. Miserable news. I love Titan Quest, and Iron Lore had a great team.


Hey, I work in Kendall. 7CC to be precise. There are TONs of advertisements on the T for programmers and the like. I have a modicum of interest solving those “programmer” questions that they put up for that airline software company (not that I’d ever work there!)

My impression is that if you know a second skill set (I have biology and some computational/statistics abilities) then the Boston area has a ton of jobs for you. I also have an acquaintance at Tilted Mill who seems to be pretty happy with the way things are going around here.


I’ll add my :( here, too, since I already had a say in the big TQ thread.