Melbourne-based developer Samurai Punk has announced that it will cease operations after almost ten years of making games. The company's statement, attributed to studio directors Winston Tang and Nicholas McDonnell, does not provide a specific reason for the decision, but it comes amid a wave of studio closures and layoffs in the industry.
Samurai Punk's debut was the 2014 split screen FPS, Screencheat, which enshrined the titular Goldeneye 64 party foul as the game's central mechanic. Enemy player models were permanently invisible, so looking over at other players' screens was the only way to track opponents.
Screencheat grew out of a game jam project by McDonnell, with the initial concept being a puzzle-based competitive multiplayer experience. Lacking the resources to implement online networking at first, the team adopted a local multiplayer split screen presentation, but that in turn killed the puzzle-solving since players were able to, well, screen cheat. Running into this roadblock, however, seems to have inspired Screencheat's ultimate celebration of that '90s friend's birthday party bugbear.
Since that time, Samurai Punk collaborated with other studios on projects like Florence while also releasing six of its own games spanning various genres, including the number puzzler Trios, the VR satire American Dream, and noted chillout game Feather. Samurai Punk's final game was the Devil Daggers-esque arena survival shooter, Killbug, which came out in May.
"For our players and fans, Samurai Punk will enter a support mode to ensure the existence of our existing products," the statement concludes, indicating that Samurai Punk's back catalogue will remain available with online functionality preserved for the foreseeable future. Four developers lost their jobs as part of this closure, with Samurai Punk encouraging potential employers to reach out to those affected.