The Lights Go Down in JoWood

The Lights Go Down in JoWood

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The final curtain appears to have fallen on Austrian publisher JoWood as efforts to restructure its massive debt load have fallen through.

I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for JoWood. It's made some missteps over the years, yes, but it's also the company that published the magnificent Arx Fatalis and that buys it a lot of love and forgiveness in my book. Not that it's likely to matter much for very long, because after months of flailing around trying to solve its financial troubles, it looks like the ugly end has finally arrived.

JoWood declared bankruptcy in January after years of struggling to stay afloat, but said at the time that it hoped negotiations with both creditors and possible investors would allow it to keep the lights on and eventually return to solvency. But those negotiations have apparently collapsed, which combined with a "disastrously unprofitable 2010" leaves the publisher with a debt load described by GameInformer as "insurmountable."

JoWood could now be forced to sell individual properties in order to pay off at least some of its creditors. Among those properties will presumably be DreamCatcher, another publisher best-known for churning out mountains of crapware that hit one out of the park with the indisputably brilliant 2004 shooter Painkiller. JoWood acquired DreamCatcher in 2006 but was never able to turn the Painkiller franchise into a greater success because the numerous sequels that followed, to be blunt, all sucked.

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Finally! They can stop raping the corpses of franchises they've systematically killed off.

JoWood, I salute you for the dozens of afternoons I spent playing Neighbors from Hell.

Always enjoyed all the effort JoWood put into games; but they just seemed to lose the idea of fun. Tycoon games are ten a penny now and they were still working on PERT charts instead of customisation.

Sad loss though.

Absolutely loved their cowboy game. Cattle management is surprisingly COMPLETELY AWESOME.

This is what happens when you try to steal IPs and screw studios out of money. You end up with massive lawsuits and legal fees. They have no forgiveness out of me.

Fair well fellow traveler, we hardly knew thee.
Seriously this is the first I've heard of them.

R.I.P i'll miss spellforce series and i'll miss not being to play the newest one

Jpwolf:
JoWood, I salute you for the dozens of afternoons I spent playing Neighbors from Hell.

Heh.

As insignificant as this contribution seems compared to some of the other games under their name, that's what I thought of, too.

Really fun game, no doubt.

It's always sad when a smaller publisher goes under. Yeah it's the developers that make the games but the industry seems to do better when there's a variety of publishers out there as well - lately things have been dominated by a handful of heavyweights.

So what exavtly did JoWood do?

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They published the original Gothic trilogy. Stole the brand name from the developers [Piranha Bytes] when they split ways and handed it to another developer who made the abysmal Arcadia: Gothic 4. Meanwhile Piranha Bytes have gone on to make the excellent Risen, and are working on the intriguing Risen 2 : Dark Waters.

I think it's clear who did better out of that deal in the end...

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

It seems they owned DreamCatcher, and if Wikipedia is to be believed, were one of the publishers for Torchlight.

It also seems like Neighbors from Hell as mentioned previously.

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They were going to publish Stargate SG-1: The Alliance but part of the way into the development they sued the devs claiming that they owned the rights to the Stargate game. Years later after the game got cancelled due to too much legal mess, they admitted that they knew all along the developers held the rights instead of them.

While Jowood isn't my favorite publisher, they were working on my most beloved game series Spellforce. Shame the last expansion will never arrive now :(

D_987:

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They published the original Gothic trilogy. Stole the brand name from the developers [Piranha Bytes] when they split ways and handed it to another developer who made the abysmal Arcadia: Gothic 4. Meanwhile Piranha Bytes have gone on to make the excellent Risen, and are working on the intriguing Risen 2 : Dark Waters.

I think it's clear who did better out of that deal in the end...

Also, Piranha Bytes are seemingly going to get the rights to Gothic back, though they aren't sure what they will do in the future.

I'm happy whether they'll continue making sequels to Risen or Gothic (or both), because I think all of their games are great.

Cheers, JoWood. Let us never forget Silent Storm.

D_987:

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They published the original Gothic trilogy. Stole the brand name from the developers [Piranha Bytes] when they split ways and handed it to another developer who made the abysmal Arcadia: Gothic 4. Meanwhile Piranha Bytes have gone on to make the excellent Risen, and are working on the intriguing Risen 2 : Dark Waters.

I think it's clear who did better out of that deal in the end...

Incorrect. Piranha Bytes lended the Gothic license to JoWood, and apparently will get it back once Risen 2 ships, or presumably sooner.

night_chrono:

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They were going to publish Stargate SG-1: The Alliance but part of the way into the development they sued the devs claiming that they owned the rights to the Stargate game. Years later after the game got cancelled due to too much legal mess, they admitted that they knew all along the developers held the rights instead of them.

6 years on and this still stings :(

JoWood also screwed over Gothic series so I have very little sympathy for them as a company. My regrets are for their employees however.

Delusibeta:
Incorrect. Piranha Bytes lended the Gothic license to JoWood, and apparently will get it back once Risen 2 ships, or presumably sooner.

Yeah, sure, they just "leant" their prime [and really only] IP to a publisher they had a disagreement with.

I don't think they'll do another Gothic game to be honest, hence why I didn't mention that they would soon be getting the license back.

Micro Chip:

night_chrono:

ScoopMeister:
So what exavtly did JoWood do?

They were going to publish Stargate SG-1: The Alliance but part of the way into the development they sued the devs claiming that they owned the rights to the Stargate game. Years later after the game got cancelled due to too much legal mess, they admitted that they knew all along the developers held the rights instead of them.

6 years on and this still stings :(

JoWood also screwed over Gothic series so I have very little sympathy for them as a company. My regrets are for their employees however.

Before development of Stargate Worlds started, the developers on it had the option to take over The Alliance and get it out the door, but they chose not to. Apparently Alliance was a horrible buggy barely put together mess, whose full extent we saw in the trailers.

That doesn't change the fact that what JoWood did was wrong though.

 

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