February 2, 2011 by lloyd
UPDATE 11:00am 2nd Feb: Word on the Ex-Illis forums is that an announcement on the future of Ex-Illis could be due around the 12th Feb. Now I agree there’s not really much point in us posting and update announcing an announcement, but we also wanted to embed the above video made by Youtube User RabbitMiniatures and brought to our attention by community member @cwilliams who’s been doing his bit to try and drum up a bit of support for the Bastion Team.
UPDATE 2:00pm 18th Jan: Here’s the official statement
Right after the holidays, a series of event led us to the conclusion that a shutdown of operations, at least a temporary one, was needed. While sales are on the rise, communities are growing and our distribution network is improving everyday, it became apparent that we couldn’t continue with our current financial structure. The staff working at Bastion, myself included, has been let go, but it remains our collective aim to work together again once more on Ex illis with a new financial partner. Efforts are being made on that front, but as you can imagine, we are not in a position where we can freely discuss these things yet.
Despite this news, the servers will continue to stay up for the time being. This, and the fate of the Demon Horde box set, is of course intimately related to the arrival of new financial partners. While the future as a company is still uncertain, we have pledged to the player community that the servers would stay up and running and we intend to keep this promise.
This has been an emotional time for all of us at Bastion. We have been working hard over the last three years to create a game we are truly proud of, working hard in the past few months to avoid this situation, and now that it became unavoidable, we are still working hard to set it straight. You are welcome to write us firstname.lastname@example.org, but I apologize in advance if we do not have the time to answer to them individually.
Like them or not, this is a real pity for the industry, as we would like to see more risk-taking like this, not less. My gut tells me that it could be a while before we see a similar conjunction of talents and skills, have a crack at something like this again.
So what went wrong?
Well we can only speculate, until we hear official word. However my gut tells me that in trying to make a war-game that was more accessible, they made a war game that was in many ways just as inaccessible. Unfortunately they just haven’t had the time or budget to bridge the gap, and with the talent on the team we have do doubt they would have.
The software system was a fantastic idea and we fully expect to see this rear it’s head again in some guise. However this implementation was perhaps a little too cumbersome to really achieve that pickup and play feeling we were hoping for.
The game itself with it’s alternate medieval (Eurocentric) setting appealed to the central Europeans in a big way. However its survival depended more on the lucrative UK and US markets and it may well have been just to High Brow, to make the jump into the more ‘classical’ fantasy minds of the Brits and Yanks.
Lets be honest with ourselves, we are more into the kind of ‘Saturday morning cartoon’ fantasy!
It was a very bold move by the team at Bastion studios to have a crack at this. The product was slowly gaining some traction with vastly improved miniatures, appearing over the last few months.
It’s too early to say whether they will be considered pioneers or not. However I can’t help but feel that they were onto something when they decided that a rulebook could be a game, rather than just a set of rules.
Although for all it’s promise the execution just hasn’t hit the mark this time.
Coming hot on the heels of the news of the takeover of Wargames Factory (which doesn’t sound too healthy either, with a public bitching session to rival that of Macca and the One Legged Bandit), this is another blow for an industry that was showing so much promise only 12 months ago, with lots of new starts and innovation everywhere.
It leaves me wondering what the financial state of the industry is as a whole. It’s too easy to forget the high sums of money involved in starting up in this industry…
We can blame it on the old guard, who don’t want to try anything new, or the vocal minority who pour scorn on everything not released by a few select Messiahs. The reality is if something is innovative and remarkable in it’s execution and creativity, it can make waves, other than that we can just blame it on the boogie!
No word yet on what’s going to happen to the assets at Bastion, but if your a fan and want to have your 2c, post a comment below and we’ll try to get some official word and background in the mean time.
All-in-all it’s a real shame and we hope the team at Bastion keep their chins up and take some pride in a bold attempt.
Much respect from the team here at BoW and we hope you guys have another crack at this sometime!
UPDATE 8:53pm: We’re hearing down the grapevine that discussions on the future are afoot, so if you wanted to show your support for Bastion and what they have tried to create, now is probably the time.
UPDATE 10:00pm: A thread probably worth following has been started by community members here: http://forum.ex-illis.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3362