Elixir drinks the Kool-Aid

Republic and Evil Genius developer, founded by Molyneux protégé Demis Hassabis, shuts its doors.


Elixir Studios, the UK-based development shop behind real-time strategy game Evil Genius, said today it will be closing its doors and ceasing operations. Elixir was founded in 1998, by then-Bullfrog designer Demis Hassabis, to create the ambitious game Republic. That game's storyline focused on the conspiratorial events that took place within a fully rendered and living city.

"It has been an amazing roller-coaster ride," said Elixir founder and chairman Hassabis. "It's hard to believe that seven years have flown by. I'm very proud of what all the staff at Elixir have achieved and the games we produced. We gave it everything we had, but ultimately it wasn't quite enough. It seems that today's games industry no longer has room for small independent developers wanting to work on innovative and original ideas. Perhaps there is no longer any need for them. However, this was the sole purpose of setting up Elixir, and [it's] something we could never compromise on by going down the licensing route."

The company was working on a sequel to Republic, titled Republic Dawn: The Chronicles of the Seven, but the project has now been officially canceled. While Evil Genius generally received favorable reviews, the previous iteration of Republic was widely considered to be a letdown after its lengthy development cycle and ambitious design.

"It is clearly a disappointing day for the team here, and for British independent developers in general," said Elixir CEO Mark Hewitt, "but we were extremely keen to wind things down on our terms and treat our employees and creditors properly and in a professional manner. It has been a real privilege working with such incredibly talented people, and I have nothing but admiration for our backers and the team here. We have a fantastic collection of people working at Elixir, and other developers would be crazy not to snap them up immediately!"

In December, Elixir secured a substantial investment to continue operations. Today, however, it was announced that this money will be used to compensate Elixir employees with severance packages.

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