Iron Lore (RIP)

By Kieron Gillen on February 28th, 2008 at 4:10 pm.

Back! You won't take me with you! I'm alive! I'm... oh, bollocks.

This is something of a sad one. Fresh from working with Relic to complete the imminent Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Iron Lore have just announced that they closed their doors from February 19th. The Titan Quest veterans put this down to “Several unrelated events occurred which resulted in Iron Lore being unable to secure funding for its next project.” They mention that their staff are now looking for work, and mention their ownership of their engine which is available to license. Best of luck to everyone there.

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19 Comments »

  1. drunkymonkey says:

    A shame. Titan Quest was amazingly fun and hilarious to play.

    I remember at a LAN centre one time when me and my mates used the names of MPs for characters.

    Patricia Hewitt did a surprisingly good job at healing.

  2. Fumarole says:

    Sad news. Titan Quest was great and Soulstorm looks to be excellent as well.

  3. Seniath says:

    I saw this on gamesindustry.biz. When I first saw the headline, I expected it to go on to say that they’d been absorbed by THQ or Relic or somesuch (since that seems to be the order of the day).

    I never played Titan Quest, but am looking forward to Soulstorm. A shame indeed.

  4. UncleLou says:

    Sad news, and yes, a real shame.

    I loved Titan Quest to bits. It’s probably the most insanely graphically detailed game I’ve ever played, and the only game except Diablo 2 itself that perfectly nailed the action-RPG mechanics. It was – by far – my most played game in 2006.

  5. Steve says:

    Ah, piss. I was one of the many who loved Titan Quest, and hoped for another expansion or, better yet, a sequel. This blows.

  6. Nekkid says:

    A real shame to see such a quality oriented PC developer bite the dust. I’d hate to see PC gaming devolve to the point where we depend entirely on Eastern European developers to provide our non-console oriented fun.

    (not that there’s anything wrong with games made in Eastern Europe, but they have a noticeably different vibe to Western developed ones, and variety being the spice of life…)

  7. Volrath says:

    What the hell? This is Troika all over again, they also went under because they couldn’t find publishers for their games anymore and also didn’t have enough funds to develop their own games even though all of their releases made a profit!

    Ugh.

  8. Briosafreak says:

    Well this is a must read then to understand a bit more what went wrong.

  9. Pidesco says:

    The problem they had with copy protection and piracy really highlights why copy protection is one of the banes of PC gaming.

  10. Taxman says:

    Pidesco less of a bane then people who actually pirate it regardless. Dumping anti copy protections mechanisms is often touted but it changes little even Stardocks games were plastered all over warez sites often with glee that there was no protection, it is an intensely depressing sight.

    [What's weird is that often I have observed that the pirates are also usually very vocal PC gaming cheerleaders, precisely because they can pirate the games. It seems the irony is lost on them helping to undermine the platform they cherish]

    Also the other issues are just a big of a factor when it comes to Q/A and support, Bethesda had similar problems to them with rare & obscure hardware/software conflicting with Oblivion. The vast increase of complexity in games is proving to be increasingly troublesome for devs & consumers.

    Anyway sad to see Iron Lore go : (

  11. UncleLou says:

    @Briosafreak

    thanks for the link, a good read (as depressing as it is).

  12. Lunaran says:

    Been there. I had a happy ending, but at the time there’s such a sick feeling that comes with the news.

    There’s always places that are on the rise at the same time that good places like this are on the fall, though, so I’m confident every last one of those poor guys is going to wind up somewhere good. It’s too bad they won’t get to work as a team again though.

    As a friend put it, “the studios that deserve to go under never do.”

  13. cliffski says:

    money talks and bullshit walks. If they had a more stable hardware target and no piracy they would easily still be in business.
    Intel cards are the bane of all developers, They should have a ‘useless for gaming’ sticker on the side of PCs with intel video.

  14. Dinger says:

    A yes, those Intel cards again. Even Microsoft seems to be willing to screw itself to help out Intel’s bottom line.
    I read the post complaining of piracy on TQ. I’m sorry to see another developer close shop, but that was a classic case of misapportioned blame.

    Let’s see:
    (A) Game pirated before retail release.
    (B) Stealth DRM still in place made pirates think the product was faulty, and not the crack.
    (C) The overwhelming majority (upwards of 90%) of copies were pirated.
    (D) PC is a configuration nightmare, and there’s a lot of “gaming PCs” with crappy components.

    (D) is perfectly valid, and much of the blame goes to Microsoft (see the Intel 915 affair, above) for caving to the demands of manufacturers.

    (A) and (B) are extremely questionable. Built-in DRM is powerful poison, especially considering (D). False positives have always caused huge problems, and DRM can only slow an attacker. When the game runs, it is open to the scrutiny of those who would crack it. So you try to obfuscate DRM: put the obvious traps in plain sight, have a couple of secondary ones behind the treeline, and a few surprises that nobody will find. Yes, if you flag the occurrences as DRM-related, it gives the cracker another clue about what’s happening. But if you don’t, you’ve just wrecked your code.
    In a sense, designing copy protection is an inverse QA job: you insert various show-stoppers and nuisances with a sophistication necessary to discourage those who find them all. If someone does find them all, then they have a superior, “debugged” version of the game.

    Stealth DRM bit them in the butt. So did piracy. One question: with over 90% of the players downloading the game, why make the game available only via retail?

    Piracy is a problem, but when your method of distribution differs greatly from how most people get your product, and when you fail to make clear how your (legitimate) product is superior(if in fact it is) to (illegitimate) copies, beyond a fuzzy feeling of “being right with the law”, you make that problem worse.

  15. Briosafreak says:

    teo I had already left the link above

  16. Frymaster says:

    “(B) Stealth DRM still in place made pirates think the product was faulty, and not the crack.”

    The people in that forum made the same mistake. He didn’t say “The copy protection detected the piracy and initiated a game crash”, he said the copy protection system had been gutted by the crack, and thus crashed when it was used. Presumably whoever cracked it had checked the game started up, but hadn’t bothered with additional testing.

    I can’t think of any online game that ISN’T using DRM techniques (via online account or similar) because they don’t have to rely on copy protection and client-side-only checks. And more power to them, if only because tying a person to a unique ID makes banning idiots easier.

    The best system out there at the moment is Steam, simply because
    a) It removes the annoyance of needing the CD in the drive
    b) You can install over the internet, meaning you can throw away the CD and you actually get value added from it
    c) You can have the content encrypted / only distribute the exe at the last second, meaning no zero-hour (or minus hour) cracks

    It’ll be interesting to see how c) plays out with their new Steamworks system (the first game to use that – audiosurf – probably got most of their sales from steam download ANYWAY so the difference wasn’t there) as imo point b) is the major reason I’ll buy games on Steam in preference to at retail, even if it costs me a tenner more

  17. Andrew Armstrong says:

    It’ll be interesting when steam picks up more, what consumer watchdogs will say about people not being able to sell on the software they presumably “brought” (although every software company says “licensed”). That’s always the issue with online-only “services” remember, a boxed copy can be passed on.

    Also; if steam goes down, you’ll be losing quite a bit of stuff. GameTap has had this problem, with games going “off the catalogue” making it impossible to play them even if you paid for them.

    Not to say it doesn’t stop piracy/remove CD checks or whatever. There are ups and downs, not all ups ;)

  18. Gurrah says:

    WHAT?! I just pre-ordered Soulstorm today. Usually I don’t buy expansion titles from thrid party developers, but the demo was brilliant and, well, it was from Iron Lore. Relic and ILE working together was more or less a must buy for me, considering those two developers made QUALITY games and now the latter is closing shop?! I’ll give Briosafreaks link a go after I’ve digested the news…

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