The Repopulation On Hold, Fragmented Announced

Our Jim kept half an eye on sci-fi sandbox MMORPG The Repopulation [official site], intrigued by players building bases and cities, before he slinked out of RPS and into the woods. We still find wicker rocket launchers hanging from trees so we know he’s safe, but wouldn’t it be nice to see him again? Maybe we can lure him out.

Jim, The Repopulation is in trouble. (Is that the rustling of leaves I hear?) But its developers do have a plan. (Is that the yelp of a man who’s snagged his untamed beard on a branch?) They’re porting it to Unreal Engine, but starting small with a stripped-down spin-off survival game as a base. (Oh, is that a sigh?)

I’ll get to the troubles later, but first: the plan. So! Developers Above and Beyond Technologies have announced Fragmented [official site], a typical-sounding crafty buildy sandbox survival game built in Unreal Engine.

It’s using assets from The Repopulation, will be given free to folks who bought The Repopulation, and will become the foundation for an Unreal port of The Repopulation. As well as having a smaller scope and fewer MMORPG things, Fragmented is set a few years before The Repopulation, when people are trying to survive long enough to get around to that whole repopulating business.

“Why are you going on about game engines so much?” you may ask. “It seems you’d usually not care about that, that you’d think pointing out the engine is usually one of the least interesting things you could say about a game.” Yes, usually. But the swap is partially motivated by problems with HeroEngine, the MMO engine and platform it’s built upon (as also seen in Star Wars: The Old Republic).

In December, Above and Beyond shut down the still-on-Steam-Early-Access MMO’s servers, citing the economic troubles of HeroEngine owners Idea Fabrik as the cause. The servers are still down, Above and Beyond have pulled the game from sale, and it’s unlikely this version will be finished. In Fragmented’s announcement, they say:

“Given the way events unfolded here, we felt that starting on Fragmented during the downtime would be the best way to go. If the Repop situation changed we could put Fragmented on hold to finish Repop off. But at this point none of that has happened, and we have to be realistic and move forward. We are still open to bringing out the current version of The Repopulation, but we also need to be prepared to simply salvage what we can from it and allow it to be reborn.”

The story gets a bit messy, with some having speculated that Idea Fabrik’s financial troubles were caused by the Repopulation devs. As Massively Overpowered reports, it seems a three-way deal between Idea Fabrik, Above and Beyond, and a third party who pulled out was to blame. Which… this is all a bit messy, but it’s probably important enough to go into.

Anyway! Fragmented is due to start testing in February. It’ll support strictly PvE servers as well as PvP action, and let players host their own servers – as will The Repopulation, which it couldn’t on HeroEngine. Once Fragmented is nicely on its way, they’ll start building from its base up into The Repopulation so, er, people who paid for it can play it. For now, have a gander at Fragmented:

I think I hear someone trudging back into the trees.


  1. Cross says:

    Small dev wants to build MMO, small devs crashes and burns, small dev announces stripped down, actually plausible game. It’s the way of these things.

    • int says:

      So you could say the game is… fragmented.

    • rochrist says:

      Or, you know, small developer gets hosed by game engine company, bites the bullet and ports to a much better engine.

  2. ameliahoward45 says:


  3. JatApp says:

    I hope that this game will be wonderful!

  4. Foosnark says:

    I can’t speak to this exact situation, but I used to work for Idea Fabrik until about 2.5 years ago, and it’s all so familiar.

    Licensees not paying up happened on an almost regular basis, and things were often on the knife edge of financial ruin. That is the entire history and pre-history of HeroEngine. It is, in fact, how Idea Fabrik wound up buying HeroEngine from Simutronics in the first place — me and my team were laid off for approximately four days while that deal was negotiated.

    The reason I wound up leaving is because of more of this stuff. Licensees not paying their fees on the one hand, investors flaking out on the other. Paychecks showing up late, supervisor abandoning ship, etc.

    • Foosnark says:

      …of course, this balancing act managed to last for a decade or more, which is a long time in game industry terms. So there’s that.

      And apparently the news is a month old and HeroEngine hasn’t closed up shop; in fact the latest announcement from HeroEngine is about the Repopulation being available on Steam Early Access. So, well. Probably business as usual.

      • Adagia says:

        Except that last announcement from HeroEngine (and I mean THE last announcement on their announcement page), was last year, Jan 22, 2015. We’re now in 2016.

  5. heretic says:


  6. KreissV says:

    I’m personally excited for a Repopulation rebuild. They had some good ideas but good god the Hero Engine was utter garbage. Not to mention all the bought assets used as placeholders looked mismatching and awful.

    I’ll admit I loved the gameplay, but eek thank god they’re thinking about scrapping what they have now and trying again.

  7. NephilimNexus says:

    Being that their lead developer is the kind of guy who subscribes to the Star Citizen School of PR (read: ban anyone who doesn’t kiss his arrogant arse constantly) I am more than happy to watch this dud of a game crash & burn.

    • Swampdaddy says:

      I am more than happy to watch people like you, eat their words when they realise that they should’ve paid more attention to what was actually said when where and how.

      This issue was caused by a third party investor who pulled out, leaving Above and Beyond behind as well as IdeaFabrik having internal issues as well.

      FYI: The developer did not ban anyone who didn’t agree with them or “kissed their asses”.

      I’ve had my arguments with them, and haven’t agreed on everything, but never been banned. So you can stop making stuff up now.

      If you on the other hand acted like a prick (swearing and being insulting etc) then yeah, you had it coming, and deserved to be banned, if you ever got banned.

      • Plixin says:

        You are very wrong and should be ashamed of such butt kissing. They have erased so many subjects and banned many folks (just read Reddit to find them). All those I have seen disappear were clean in every possible way and yet they were erased and the poster banned. You can take your mistruth and , ya know…put it somewhere….

        The third party investor is their problem not ours and they should have covered themselves better. All their fault and they are terrible, plain and simple.