Alien: Blackout developer Rival Games closes its doors as coronavirus shuts down partnership opportunities

Alien: Blackout developer Rival Games has shut down.

As announced in a blog update, the Finnish development studio has shut up shop after its last potential partnership leads fell through due to the coronavirus.

“We still had some potential partnership opportunities and publisher negotiations going on at the beginning of this year. I was feeling optimistic about them,” said Rival Games CEO Jukka Laakso.

“I guess I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy that doesn’t give up. Then something happened that I nor the world was prepared for: a global health crisis in the form of a coronavirus. It shut down all the leads that we had and left us lost in the dark with no way out.”

Publishing woes

However, the company first began to experience trouble when Universal Studios had a shift in its business strategy. Rival Games was set to create a double-A narrative shooter for PC and console, but the project was scrapped.

“We were months in the pre-development when, almost a year ago, the worst possible happened: Universal had a major business strategy shift across their portfolio, shutting our project down in a moment’s notice,” said Laakso.

“We were coming up on a milestone that contractually allowed them to shut it down fast.”

Furthermore, the studio wasn’t prepared to pitch its games to outside publishers.

“Universal did try to find a publisher together with us for the game to a certain degree, but we’d never prepared for pitching it to external publishers, so the materials were nowhere near to convincing anyone,” said Laakso.

Flying high

The studio appeared to be on the rise after its success with Alien: Blackout, one of the only games in the franchise to receive positive reviews in recent years. Laakso claimed it is “the game that we can all be proud of for years to come.”

“We had just signed a deal to work on the legendary Alien franchise for the first time on mobile, and the spirit within the studio was higher than ever,” said Laasko.

“The end result, Alien: Blackout, speaks for itself: 95/100 on GamesBeat, part of Best on iOS 2019 picks from Apple and a lot of positive reviews and feedback from fans of the franchise. It was the first game we really showed our capabilities as a gaming studio, and the whole game was done in just seven months.”

FoxNext Games announced the first mobile-based Alien title in January 2019.

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