Studio formed by Blizzard, SOE, Relic veterans shuts down

Former employees post footage from cancelled Project Blunderbuss.

Molten Games, a studio formed by former Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, and Relic Entertainment executives has shut down and canceled its game, according to former employees.

A source at Molten Games told Polygon that all 60 employees received the news of the closure and that they were being let go on March 24, 2014. The same source said that the decision seemed abrupt since feedback on the project they working until then was good.

Art director Billy Ahlswede has posted some art he was working on for what was called Project Blunderbuss to his blog, and also linked to a YouTube video of the game.

“I had the pleasure of art directing an amazing team on Project Blunderbuss at Molten Games,” Ahlswede said. “The project was cancelled but here is the footage of that game as it stands.”

Molten Games’ Director of Technology Joshua Kriegshauser also linked to an Alpha gameplay video on his Twitter on March 29.

When it was announced, Molten Games said it was working on a AAA online game made possible in part by a multimillion-dollar investment led by Guild Wars publisher NCSoft.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Discussion

88 comments
Kjranu
Kjranu

Shame. We certainly don't need more COD knockoffs and this looked like a nice change of pace. God knows original games are lacking these days. 

killmoore
killmoore

who's dumb@ss idea was it to cancel such a cool looking game?!

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

World is never a better place when a studio closes...

warrner11
warrner11

Now how long b4 we see this come up again, under the umbrella of NcSoft and a new dev they have complete control over???

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

You can certainly tell their art department was from Blizzard.

halo1399
halo1399

10 years ago this sort or thing rarely happened. Now it happens all the time.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

hope those employees find jobs right away

feleas
feleas

Damn, I would've liked that haha

csward
csward

So many me-too Dota clones out there now, they probably realized theirs wasn't good enough anymore or NC Soft did and cut off funding. Still it is a sad day for Molten Games.

gogin1
gogin1

Should have done a kickstarter. I would have supported this.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

I'm so glad I don't work in this industry, what a nightmare. Gaming is a great pastime, but as a profession? Not a chance.

zyxahn
zyxahn

I wonder if they made a Smash Brothers game like this would it work.

zyxahn
zyxahn

A team of ex Blizzard, Sony and Relic couldn't stay afloat.  Unless it was janitorial part of the crew =P this doesn't look good for any new company.

pip3dream
pip3dream

looks similar to something like Team Fortress. I wouldn't play it, but it looked decent and fun.

Daian
Daian

Well this news sucks, I wonder why they shut down.

devilzzz1983
devilzzz1983

I didn't see anybody die in the video so maybe they had trouble with enemy AI?  :)  Eh anyway sorry that these people lost their jobs and that the product they were working on may never ever see the light of day.

Oni
Oni

Awe that's a shame. I hope all those laid off can find new employment.

Sarg1010
Sarg1010

So instead of heroes, you got to play as the creeps? If there were a lot of people per team, it seems like it would've been really fun.

GIF
GIF

The art style looks awesome, what a shame

Code135
Code135

Them Lacey boobs ... now I feel sad the project's canceled.

Coldpain
Coldpain

I know absolutely nothing about this game, but that video was pretty sweet. It looked like a 3D MOBA/Tower-defense game.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Dunno what this game is trying to be, looks interesting but not focused enough

Halloll
Halloll

when I read "Studio formed by Blizzard, SOE, Relic veterans" I said awesome! but when I read "shut down" I burst out laughing for some reason.

Jaxith
Jaxith

Well this is a shame.  Based on the little bit shown here, it seems like their game had potential, and looked liked something I'd enjoy.  I'd very much have liked to see how it developed.  ...Sad..

Merseyak
Merseyak

lol you can just clearly see the console industry going lower and lower all hail mobile it will have consoles gone by 2016

vadagar1
vadagar1

probably some big company payed them to shut down

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

Well that's their fault for not selling out or making a mobile game in a sinking industry.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

So I assume it was a team based game?

kinda looks good, I mean art design looks good, action seems good but team colors need work, blue vs teal? that'll be confusing lolz

also if there's more than 2 armies in the game they should look distinct, I mean both sides in the vids look alike except for color.....but I think that all would have been addressed later IDK....

I say it's too bad it got cancelled and studio shut down.....looks more inventive than COD that's for sure....anything does at this point....someone could do a game about a dog shitting in the park and it would be more interesting than COD lolz


xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

If the catapult was designed to grab explosives from a cart, that thing wouldn't have lasted long. And that's the least of that trailer's problem. But yeah, there's always the form over function excuse.

observer98
observer98

That footage reminds me of Bioshock Infinite.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

They didn't quite specified why the studio was shutdown now, did they.

A-Typing-Llama
A-Typing-Llama

Looks like it could of been a fun little console download. Shame.

00J
00J

after watching the video preview i see why it was cancelled... 

mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

should have merged with the Kingdoms of Amalur studio....

jyml8582
jyml8582

Game looks like it could become severely imbalanced. 

adwerk
adwerk

@halo1399 10 years ago you didnt have 1/100 of the studios you have today, and just because gamesites like GS have taken interrest in covering these things doesnt not meen they havent happened in the past, they just didnt get any spotlight.

feleas
feleas

@csward  pretty sure LoL isn't a DoTA clone as the CREATORS of DoTA made LoL. DoTA was actually given to a team member who split off from the original DoTA team and continued working on DoTA while the rest of the original team went and made Riot Games.

bhmg
bhmg

@Halloll  what´s the fun in seeing people losing their jobs? o.o

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Merseyak  You mean PC? Consoles atleast try to look next gen. The best looking PC games will be those that are next-gen + PC, as opposed to PC only titles

kyelo
kyelo

@Merseyak  not sure if you have seen the news lately but a recently released console has just had the best launch ever, a massive franchise game outsold pretty much every movie ever made and games cross platform are making billions.

Miroku_of_Nite1
Miroku_of_Nite1

@vadagar1 Uh what? Its not like they had worthwhile assets so corporate raiding is out of the question.

A-Typing-Llama
A-Typing-Llama

@xsonicchaos Yeah, form over function, I'd say. I don't think the devs were reaching for historical accuracy with this game (I could be wrong.....It's happened).

greaterdivinity
greaterdivinity

@00J  Out of curiosity, why? Looks pretty interesting to me, and it's gorgeous.

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator moderator

@feleas @csward  Erm...Guinsoo (Steve Feak) is at Riot games, but he's the only DotA dev that is to my knowledge. Pendragon is at Riot to, but he only made the old community site (which he promptly took down after joining the LoL team, forcing the community to find a new home), and never actually coded the map.


The current (and longest-serving) DotA dev is Icefrog, who is at Valve, being the primary catalyst to set off the whole DOTA2 thing. Icefrog continues to maintain&update the wc3 map as well.


Then, the original creator of DotA is Eul (Guinsoo merely made a variation of Eul's map which was more popular than other variations) from back before even the frozen throne expansion for wc3 existed and custom skills were made by playing around in the MPQ cabinets. Eul has apparently been at Valve for years now as well, though most certainly has not taken the spotlight at any point if that is actually the case.


So, strictly speaking, Guinsoo isn't the creator of DotA, neither is Icefrog - Eul made DotA, the others merely improved upon it. Icefrog makes the current DotA Allstars map on wc3 that everyone plays and Guinsoo did that at one point too, with Allstars being the appendage to the name for the variation that Guinsoo made, something which Icefrog never specifically changed, though it is no longer included in the map file names and most people just refer to it as DotA now.


On topic: Regardless of what type of game it was, it's a sad end for Molten Games in the end - perhaps the assets/concepts will be reused in the future, but evidently someone pulled the plug on this one for some reason.