Rise & Fall developer falls

[UPDATE] Stainless Steel Studios staffer says developer is no more, blames Midway; Web site offline, final project reportedly in limbo.


The state of independent PC development apparently worsened over the weekend, when reports surfaced that Stainless Steel Studios had closed its doors. Though no announcement was made, the Empire Earth developer's Web site, stainlesssteelstudios.com, went offline and attempts to reach its offices were unsuccessful as of press time. E-mails sent to addresses ending in "@stainlessteelstudios.com" were bounced back.

But while official word is in short supply (that is, nonexistent), several reliable but unofficial sources have written Stainless Steel's epitaph. First up was a post by former staffer Bob Scott on the forums of Rise & Fall Heaven, a fan site dedicated to the forthcoming Stainless Steel game Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War. Under the headline "Stainless Steel Studios is no more," Scott declares that "I don't have all the details, but all of my friends there are now looking for new work."

Further confirmation of Stainless Steel's demise came today via Germany-based Gamestar.de. The site quotes studio founder Rick Goodman as blaming Rise & Fall publisher Midway Games for the developer's fiscal insolvency. He reportedly told Gamestar that after the PC strategy game's release was pushed from October to early 2006, Midway cut off advances to Stainless Steel, which in turn had to lay off its staff due to lack of funding.

[UPDATE] Inquiries sent to Midway regarding Goodman's alleged allegations and the status of Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War got a cryptic response. "We'll have a statement on this situation by the end of this week," was all a rep for the publisher would say.

Founded in 1998 by Goodman and several other ex-employees of Age of Empires III developer Ensemble Studios, Stainless Steel specialized in real-time strategy games for the PC. Over its seven-year life span, it released a number of decently reviewed and received games, including Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World.

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Avatar image for JACOBDRAGON666

haha first person to comment in 4 years i loved empire earth and its funny how they switched publishes 3 years later they die haha dumbasses never trust the big guys they take ur money and watch you burn

Avatar image for charleyfool

This is terrible, I was so pumped for Rise And Fall to come out. I really hope they continue it though. Pllzzzzzz dont stop the game, it looks brilliant!!. Im really anxious to get it, plz dont ruin my dream. :(

Avatar image for intylerwetrust

This is sad news. I really enjoyed the EE and was looking forward to Rise & Fall. I guess Midway's money woes hit the Stainless Steel real hard. Now let's see if they can get it finanlized and push it out the door in hopes of making some money.

Avatar image for WaGio


Avatar image for death5ter

Developer's didn't make great game as of today's standards... tha'ts why Game Publisher's ran away with them.... Tha'ts why they lacking of funds... Well, my condolences to Stainless Steel...

Avatar image for lordraven224

I believe this probably happened because Midway was shunting its funds into other products. My guess, the money wound up on Earth 2160 and the next Gauntlet game that will be across multiple platforms i.e more profit.

Avatar image for gzader

Sorry to see them go. Empire Earth was pretty good. Anytime you hook up with a publisher that has it's own cash problems, you have to worry. We'll see them land with other studios. Good luck to 'em all.

Avatar image for Atomic_Mutant

lol Jason Ocampo looks almost ecstatic that Stainless Steel Studios has fallen. Maybe he's just grinning thinking how smart he he is for having come up with 'Fallen' as the last word.

Avatar image for heatpackinyum

This makes how many small developers that Midway has killed?

Avatar image for GreyFoxV1

Funding got cut off becuase they didnt make the christmas rush? Wow good call Midway, slapnuts.

Avatar image for Kumar_Shah

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for umbrae

Nothing affected me like the death of Looking Glass Studios. That was the end of an era. Other continue to fall. We can only hope Bioware will survive.

Avatar image for Foxhounder

Buy MK 10!!!!!

Avatar image for snowmunchers

Who cares all they did was make Age of Empires clones.

Avatar image for Kuja971

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Hank-SSSI

There's always two sides of a story, and Kuja971 is giving an emotional tale of one of them. Who are you, by the way? I was a scenario designer for SSSI and it isn't as bad as Kuja is claiming. The game was in development for 2 years, which is not a "long" time as he claims. In fact two years is probably the bare minimum for a game with such high graphical and gameplay standards. MP was indeed playbable, I played it 6 days a week on LAN and the Internet as well as the rest of the company and it was more stable than most games are when released. You can even ask the Saturday playtesters who came in and played MP every week over at Rise and Fall Heaven. "Stainless Steel would not listen to bug reports": Yeah, get used to it. Just because you write a bug a)doesn't mean its a bug and b)doesn't mean it gets fixed. Fixing a logged bug will sometimes cause 10 more to appear, what would you do? You have to choose the lesser of two evils a LOT in game design. I'm not here to say SSSI is blameless because I don't have all the facts myself, but you Kuja are distorting facts to make it look like SSSI was to blame and the game was falling apart at the seams. R&F is an excellent game and I truly hope to see it released someday so that people can experience all the hard work and innovative gameplay that was put into it.

Avatar image for chiroho

My company is located upstairs from Stainless Steel Studios and I can confirm that their offices were cleared out last week. Virtually everything was being thrown away. Computers, monitors, all sorts of things. A comment was overheard by one of my co-workers that Midway was supposed to be buying all the software that was being worked on, but the person making that comment didn't seem very certain of what was happening. Supposedly SSS was closed for a week three weeks ago, and the announcement was almost made then, but apparently it was held off for a couple of weeks, but everyone came last Tuesday or Wednesday (November 22 or 23) to find that the company was closing.

Avatar image for lilweightlifter

Why do companies do this to eachother?!!

Avatar image for jwat4

Basterds.....When will people realize that good games need good funding...This did look great and really was alone in its style and of course someone had to screw it up. More money for games like NFL Blitz or whatever its called now, maybe they had to pay off the addicts (Lawrence Taylor) drug bill since he endorsed there new game.

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

Sheesh. If publishers are this cut-throat now, imagine how publisher/developer relationships will be in the next-gen.

Avatar image for Unkapu

I was suprised at the shutdown of this studio so close to the game's release

Avatar image for Sagacious_Tien

This is a shame - and I hope that another Publisher or developer can continue work on this great looking game. I'm very upset with Midway if this is proved true, as Stainless Steel Studios is a good developer, who have created great titles. It's sad to note that a Publisher can withdraw funding and games can die.

Avatar image for nemes1s3000

I hope they continue, this game looks great.

Avatar image for nosOlace

"SSS is also at fault, they should have never abaddoned EmpireEarth franchise. EE sold close to 2mln copies, EE2 is also selling very well, while SSS's own Empires sold like crap, not to mention that it had to compete agains Rise of Nations." SSS didnt own the IP to Empire Earth, Vivendi did, cant use the EE name if you dont own it ;) thats why MadDoc made EE2. A truly sad site to see such an innovative title sit in limbo :'(

Avatar image for ewjim

Another Fatality... They should close MK project (for now) and change the cource...

Avatar image for Beowolfo

Civilization at War is considered the most anticipated Strategy game of the year. It includes Rome:TW gameplay with Dynasty Warriors combat. A thing never done before. Shame this imp. project be cancelled or given to a crappy company to finish.

Avatar image for AdrianWerner

Shame.But that's how PC market is..full of petite independent developers that get closed very often. Fortunately they always end up in other companioes and new ones are formed as often as older ones are getting closed. I mean..look at today..we get news of SSS closing, but at the samed time news of HYboreal as new PC developer. Still..a damn shame. I don't understand Midway..I mean..the game was close to being finished, why not stick around little more and not waste over two years of development. SSS is also at fault, they should have never abaddoned EmpireEarth franchise. EE sold close to 2mln copies, EE2 is also selling very well, while SSS's own Empires sold like crap, not to mention that it had to compete agains Rise of Nations.

Avatar image for wytefang

Midway are a bunch of idiots, I mean they're still cranking out crappy MK games for crying out loud. They probably yanked Stainless' funding to make MK 10 or something equally lame. I'm not even a fan of SS games all that much but how lame is this?

Avatar image for pemain_game

Ah... too bad. If you could just re-load and find another publisher...

Avatar image for toad1956

I knew about it but I guess this is a official. I wonder when the decline will stop.

Avatar image for stoutlad

Screw Midway. This game looked good.

Avatar image for kainenable

Meh, goes to show you that the game industry is just as competative as any other. Hope they all find good jobs.

Avatar image for blackIceJoe