EDIT: Space Hoax! Oh my aching sides.

By Jim Rossignol on April 1st, 2008 at 7:47 am.


The independent Space Hulk project being developed by Teardown hasn’t been okay’d by the suits at THQ:

We have amazing news! All of our efforts have finally paid of. With some help from our forum we got in contact with a producer behind Dawn of War at THQ. He really loved this game, in fact so much that he helped us talk to their laywers and for the last week we have worked around the clock to get all the vital approvals to once again persuade Games Workshop to let us release our game. We have kept this quiet to not jinx anything but now its official! SPACE HULK IS BACK!

Great news for Teardown, and a sensible decision by THQ and Games Workshop. Assuming, of course, that someone isn’t doing a poor taste April Fool’s post over on teardown.se…

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42 Comments »

  1. Pesh says:

    It’s extremely difficult to tell whether this is an April Fool’s joke or not, being completely out of the loop on the matter.

    But yay?

  2. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Hurrah! I had this on my list from the moment you put the original article up but didn’t get round to it until just after they had to take it down. This is indeed good news, assuming, as you say, it isn’t the worst april fool’s ever.

  3. Optimaximal says:

    All we need is someone to port the hopelessly unforgiving yet gorgeously genuine backend/mechanics from Teardown’s game into a nice 3D engine…

    Oh look, there’s the DoW engine! Get too it THQ!

  4. Stromko says:

    I think it’s all marketing. They could’ve stayed under the radar and waited (perhaps forever) before THQ sent a cease-and-desist, but instead they took the route in being proactive, even removing their download link (which is still down right now). Creating a narrative where they’re at risk of being squashed like so many other gems by some big IP holder is great for press, it creates news items like this one which get reported and create more links.

    Now the site says the 1.1 version may be out ‘as soon as tommorow’, and who doesn’t like new versions? Who isn’t hyped by that? Not only can Teardown’s Space Hulk continue, but a new version, which you’ll have to be pretty quick to grab before they find some other excuse to shut it down. Woot!

    To what end? Well, I don’t even see any ads on Teardown’s site, so there’s no immediate financial gain. It really only serves to remind us that their game exists. As far as ulterior motives go, that’s really not too scary. Keeping the game in the public eye and letting it grow a big fanbase may have payoffs down the line, but the idea that they might have a payoff for their hard work is hardly that sinister.

    In short, I think the whole thing is fishy, but in the end people get a new Spacehulk game to play, and that’s nice. (edit: Oh, it’s April 1st. That always sneaks up on me. I guess we won’t know until April 2nd.. which is when they say 1.1 will be out and the game will once again be available to download. Supposedly. Coincidence?)

  5. Caiman says:

    If it was an april fool’s joke, it would be in such poor taste that they’d probably destroy all the goodwill that’s been generated for them. I don’t think they’d be that stupid, really. Anyway, it may not be generating them any income but they have generated attention – and ultimately that’s nearly as good.

  6. Ging says:

    Ahh, April 1st, generator of such cynicism!

    Stromko: are you actually implying that they took down the download links and shut down their site (even temporarily) purely on the basis that it would lead to a larger following? Isn’t that a tad far fetched?

  7. Frosty840 says:

    I’m so utterly sick of this crap-
    Oh, god, something in another tab is another goddamned rickroll. Now I have to go find out which one it is.
    I’m so utterly sick of this crap…

    EDIT: It’s the one from Kongregate. Bastards.
    And still two hours of this to go.

    Hopefully this particular story isn’t another AFD trick…

    EDIT2: Oh, cool. The Kongregate thing is cleverer than it looked. Yay.
    Still, sick of getting Rickrolled on everything I’ve clicked on so far today…

  8. Your Social Worker says:

    Do you take your crack as soon as you get up, or something?

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    Mm, crack. So moreish!

  10. Stromko says:

    Ging: They’ve never shut down the site from what I’ve seen, but ever since I first heard about this remake and started visiting their site, one thing after another has either delayed the game or taken it off their site.

    Delays in game development are to be expected, perhaps even moreso from an indy that’s optimistic enough to keep making dates and breaking them. I have to wonder why their concerns over getting a cease-and-desist wasn’t a concern during the delays, but only after the game became available for a very short time.

    Their talk of how THQ contacted them was vague, though that may be legal prudence. Talking about litigation tends not to make the other party very happy and willing to let you continue using their IP just out of kindness.

    It’s not damning evidence at all, I just have a bad hunch. I’m no detective mind you, but don’t you think people might get hyped over a game that keeps being tugged away like a tubesteak on a fishing line?

    I’m actually not that interested in playing the thing personally, the spectacle has simply caught my interest. Whether it’s a marketing stunt or not, I can’t tell if all these events have helped or hindered Teardown.

  11. subedii says:

    Delays in game development are to be expected, perhaps even moreso from an indy that’s optimistic enough to keep making dates and breaking them. I have to wonder why their concerns over getting a cease-and-desist wasn’t a concern during the delays, but only after the game became available for a very short time.

    That would largely be because they had already ASKED Games Workshop and THQ and had received permission. However, as this is their licence they can pretty much say “no” at any time, even after they agreed, which they ended up doing after the game was released.

    Some discussion later and it’s cleared up, thanks in part because a producer at THQ helped them to get through the legal department.

    So which part as you saying they lied about? That they didn’t ask for permission beforehand? That they got C&D’d after the release of the game? Or that they’re now legally allowed to, partly because of a THQ producer?

    Any one of those 3 claims could and would easily see a lawsuit against them from THQ or GW for defamation, libel or otherwise mis-representation if they had lied about it, and it sure as heck isn’t as if THQ or GW didn’t know what they were saying on the website. Neither THQ nor GW would WANT false claims attributed to them.

    As for the posts about the legal issues on the website being vague, yes they were. That’s kind of necessary in these situations.

    As for the game itself, it’s very good. Hope they fix the balance with some of the levels in 1.1 (there was an issue with one of the training missions being more down to luck than actual strategy like the rest of the missions generally are)

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    I believe the site originally had clearance from GW and EA. i read it as they figured that since EA made the game, it’ll be them to say whether they could or not. Except it’s THQ who has the exclusive game rights now, and when they got wind, there was a C&D. Now this THQ producer has saved the day.

    That’s how I read the story anyway.

    KG

  13. Piratepete says:

    Nope its a fake if you look at the website now. Shame as I love a bit of Space Hulk.

    Found an excellent version for my old Sony ericcson phone, but alas it has gone the way of the phone. To the father in law

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah. They’ve just sacrificed any coverage from us ever again, frankly. I’m half tempted to go back and delete the original review post.

    KG

  15. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Worst April Fools this year.

  16. Ben Abraham says:

    April Fool’s make Baby Jesus cry.

  17. Pete says:

    Er, yes, retarded. However, I am still somewhat excited at the prospect of a new Space Hulk game without the horrible controls of the Amiga one.

    Only Blizzard are allowed to make April Fools pages now, ok guys?

  18. Joonas says:

    I hate April Fool’s.

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    I still have it on my machine, actually.

    (My personal take on April fools should be that they’re pieces of comedy in and of themselves. The Blizzard ones are normally lovely – this year’s is great, for example.)

    KG

  20. Smitty says:

    April Fool’s or not…just get over it and have fun playing a good game.

  21. Caiman says:

    I was wrong, they were that stupid.

  22. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Fook’s sake. Anyone know of any way I can get hold of it? That space hulk retro feature has really got me craving it! Maybe I can get the original to work on vista somehow.

  23. PaulMode7 says:

    I’m interested by the backlash to this.

    While I do think the affair shows a complete lack of common sense from the devs, is it fair to expect common sense from them? Personally, I’m not sure.

    They’re working on an unlicensed fan project which has a very strong chance of being nixed by the owner of a valuable property. Doesn’t that tell you something about their general naivete?

    Their efforts to get it cleared are a pretty good window on their personalities:

    On a sad note we still wait our first respons from anyone at THQ, so far not a single answer, and as more time goes by the chance that we actually will get any kind of reply gets smaller and smaller. However we do not give up and starting this weekend I will send a second mail to anyone we have contacted in the past.

    There’s something they really want, they have almost no clue about how to get it, so they made a self-mocking, unfunny joke about it.

    They didn’t realise that the joke was essentially burning a lot of good PR they’ve built up, because they’re totally naive about what they’re doing…which is why they’re doing it in the first place. Should they be blamed for existing?

    Actually, probably yes. But then there’d be no Space Hulk remake.

  24. Paul S says:

    Bloody April Fool’s. I hate the interweb on April 1st…

  25. Kieron Gillen says:

    PaulMode7: I suspect you’re right.

    KG

  26. Rich Tysoe says:

    I think you’re right, the whole enterprise, including the April fool thing, reeks of idealistic, naive developers, which is both its blessing and its curse.

    THQ are never going to give the game the green light for free distribution while the mobile phone implementation of Space Hulk is still on sale.

  27. PaulMode7 says:

    Here’s some things that happen in my happy fantasy world filled with rivers of treacle and golden retrievers:

    1. THQ have a developer submissions contact process that’s not unbelievably ludicrous.

    2. Space Hulk fandevs contact them with a prototype.

    3. THQ appraise it and say, “Yes, you are actually quite competent. Here is a license to make this game for digital distribution only. You can sell it yourselves and we’ll put it on Steam for you. We’ll take [insert probably fairly punitive royalty here] percent. OK?”

    4. Space Hulk fandevs make game, THQ make sure it doesn’t “dilute their trademarks” or whatever, then release it.

    5. Everyone has a party in the magical balloon chateau.

    What would THQ lose by this? Nothing. How much effort would they have to put in? Nada – the devs are self-funding. How much risk is there? Almost nothing – if they want to do a version of Space Hulk at retail, or Space Hulk 2, or Space Hulk Tactics: Cravatte of the Hivemind then they still can without too much confusion in the marketplace.

    If they don’t like what’s going on with it, they can always revoke the license and blast Teardown with a big hairy CnD at any point. So come on THQ, what about it?

  28. Acosta says:

    Yeah, I think this has been more a desperate cry of attention for their situation than a “joke” (as a joke, is a terrible one), don´t go too hard on them Kieron.

  29. Radiant says:

    Tauren Marine! “Udder Chaos!”
    ahahhhahaa

  30. dhex says:

    If they don’t like what’s going on with it, they can always revoke the license and blast Teardown with a big hairy CnD at any point. So come on THQ, what about it?

    it would be the sensible thing to do, engendering a tremendous amount of goodwill without any real effort or risk.

    so of course it won’t happen.

  31. Noc says:

    I don’t see how the April Fools bit is a cry for attention. I COULD be wrong, but I don’t think they’d gotten any coverage before . . . which hints that they figure that no one’s really paying attention to them.

    For people that HAVE been with them for the while, it’s clear that the project is troubled. These troubles probably read, to them, as intrinsic to the project – so saying “Everything is suddenly magically fixed forever” is far-fetched enough that it clearly doesn’t read (to them) like abuse of the press that isn’t paying attention, or abuse of the interested parties who’ve already resigned themselves to a slow, uphill battle.

    Not very funny? Arguably. But hardly desperate and abusive.

  32. Will Tomas says:

    I tend to agree with PaulMode7′s first post, and with Noc. The April Fool’s post was silly and not thought-through, but they probably didn’t think anyone was watching, and they probably do feel that the project is so troubled that to say it’s all suddenly better is far fetched enough. Not particularly funny, though, but then “jokes” like this rarely work.

    As far as RPS is concerned, I think the timing of the gag was terrible, since there’s been lots of RPS coverage of Space Hulk recently, as well as 40k games generally, and it just happened that April Fool’s came along during SPACE WEEK! Which obviously increases the feelings of annoyance when they revealed the fakery since RPS was already geared up to be thinking and talking about space games.

  33. Muzman says:

    Some of you guys are sounding exactly like my mum years ago when she read false reports of the Queen Mother dying; “They shouldn’t say these things if they’re not true! They should consider people’s feelings! It just isn’t right! Very poor taste.”

  34. Kieron Gillen says:

    Muzman: I suspect it’s more – Don’t piss us around. We’ve got better things to do. If you wanted to do a joke, do a joke. Like – say – claiming they were going to covert the game to Hello Kitty characters or something so sidestep the license.

    (I don’t actually think there’s any malice in what they did, I stress.)

    KG

  35. Muzman says:

    Perhaps I missed something and they sent it out press release style, in which case fair enough. But otherwise, that Punk’d sort of “joke” is what many people associate with April fools day. I agree the best ones are ever so slightly believable, yet absurd. But if they didn’t send it out it’s probably just meant for their little circle of regulars and I bet they wouldn’t know what stunned them more; that so many people cared or they’d be so annoyed. (they may have even lost all perspective and to them THQ giving the ok is unmistakably absurd. And I think others have said all this so I’ll leave it alone)

  36. Stromko says:

    That there’s still a third party link alive that lets anybody download Teardown’s Space Hulk, kind of dilutes my suspicion that they’re being proactive about shutting down distribution in order to build up hype.

    I never meant to imply that they were lying about the whole debacle, rather that by trying to contact the various IP holders they made it inevitable that they’d be noticed and shut down.

    That they’ve gone through all the work of making a decent game for a very niche audience would make me apt to forgive them. They may be guilty of nothing more than naivete, but behind all the controversy their game /does/ exist and by the sounds of it is quite competent aside from some especially harsh ruleset choices.

  37. Ronnie Soak says:

    It wasn’t the most tasteful April Fools joke, but then not many are nowadays.

    From what I know, Teardown has removed the downloads after receiving a message from Games Workshop’s legal team. After they managed to get a line to GW to clear things up, they were fed some bullshit about GW acting because the game might be violating the license they granted to THQ. And then told that they need to contact THQ for permission.

    Way I see it, some jerk in GW’s legal division wanted to earn himself a raise, and the Teardown people turned up just in time to be his sacrifice to the bosses.

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