In a reminder that 2023 continues to be a rotten ol’ year for the people making games, no matter what Geoff Keighley and Gonzo might tell (or not tell) you, indie devs Triple Topping Games have laid off the entire studio’s staff after declaring bankruptcy.
After their thoughtful exploration of relationships in not-as-gross-as-it-sounds bodily-fluids platformer Spitkiss in 2018, Triple Topping developed biographical adventure game Welcome to Elk, a fairly short but touching mix of minigames, visual novel and actual interviews drawn from real-life stories that Katharine compared to “a challenging piece of arthouse cinema” in its emotional yet sensitively handled exploration of a remote community.
They also published Ynglet: an auditory platformer created by Nifflas, with hand-drawn visuals that struck the balance between chill and challenging, which Katharine praised as “probably the most delightful 90 minute adventure you'll play all year” back upon its release in 2021.
In the time since, Triple Topping have been working on Dead Pets Unleashed, their slice-of-life ode to the rock-punk lifestyle, being in your thirties and trying to get your life together. Like Welcome to Elk, it had plenty of minigames that veered into the wonderfully eclectic and observational, whether saucing up a hot dog, playing uterus pinball or washing a dildo in a sink. A demo was released last year ahead of a planned release in 2024.
However, the developers’ bright future has been suddenly extinguished by the declaration of their bankruptcy and resulting redundancy of the entire team, leading to the announcement that the studio “no longer exists”.
“While 2023 has been an incredible [sic] difficult year across the industry, my own personal health has also not made me fit for being the CEO and leader I aspired to be,” Triple Topping CEO Astrid Refstrup wrote in a post shared to X. “Running a studio is a privilege, a power position an enormous responsibility, and for this last year I was not able to live up to that without consequence to the team I was leading. For the team and partners of the studio: I’m sorry.”
Refstrup added that “good plans are being made” for Welcome to Elk, Ynglet and Dead Pets Unleashed, saying that information on the games’ future “will be shared when ready”. In a separate reply, the Triple Topping X account confirmed that Dead Pets Unleashed will still see a release, with the demo remaining available on Steam.
The studio shared details for staff looking for a job due to the layoffs, urging others in the industry to help those made redundant to find a new place to work. The best of luck to all those affected.