Today marks the tenth anniversary of Vlambeer, the Dutch indie developer that over the years has created games such as Super Crate Box, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Luftrausers, and Nuclear Throne. It also marks the end of Vlambeer, as the studio announced on Twitter that it's closing.
In an unusual twist, this is sort of a happy ending, as studio members Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman said that the closure is "not a sad day for us, but the happy conclusion to a whirldwind decade filled with screenshake." They also confirmed that their current project Ultrabugs is still coming, released a "decade-long never-finished prototype" called FFFLOOD, and announced a tenth-anniversary Vlambeer and Friends sale on Steam.
Today marks Vlambeer’s 10th anniversary, which is way longer than we could've ever imagined. We had a beautiful run, made incredible games, and worked with amazing people, but it is time for new things. So we're announcing the end of Vlambeer. pic.twitter.com/jZ4dMGxNV2September 1, 2020
"It honestly feels surprisingly natural for us to close the studio down," Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail told Kotaku. "It's not really without nostalgia—Vlambeer has done incredible work with incredible people that we’re very proud of over the past decade—and in working together we have grown so incredibly much from being 20-year old over-confident punks to now being 30 and more aware of our responsibilities and our abilities."
"I agree that it didn’t necessarily feel planned, but still very natural and it's probably been a long time coming," co-founder Jan Willem said. "Both of us were always at our best when we took big jumps together, and shutting down the studio feels like another one of those."
Sad or not (and I think it is, at least a little bit), it's an unusual end to a successful indie operation. Nijman made it clear that Vlambeer didn't really operate as a conventional studio anyway, though, saying, "We figured out very early in our history that we shouldn't really share overlapping responsibilities, and Rami and I met in person maybe a few times a year, often by accident at some games event." And while Vlambeer is over, both Nijman and Ismail said that they plan to continue their work on the indie development scene.
Thank you all for letting us bring back arcade for a while. Love, @tha_rami & @jwaaaap.September 1, 2020