Hey you know when’s a good time to drop potentially bad news? Underneath somebody else’s even bigger bad news. Apparently, today it’s going to be the revelation that Portalarium has sold Shroud of the Avatar to Catnip Games.
“As of October 2019 Austin-based production studio Catnip Games has acquired the operating assets of Portalarium, Inc.; primary of which is Shroud of the Avatar. Portalarium was co-founded in 2009 by Hall of Fame videogame designer Richard Garriott (aka Lord British),” Portalarium’s Starr Long announced on the forums this afternoon. “Portalarium’s most recent game Shroud of the Avatar has a large global community of players which Catnip Games will continue to develop and expand.”
So what the heck is Catnip Games? It’s apparently a studio “established by Chris Spears, who served as CTO of Portalarium for over 6 years and was appointed President of Portalarium in 2019.”
There’s a quote attributed to Richard Garriott too: “We’re immensely grateful to the community who has built this game with us. The community’s support and participation remains strong and growing, and Starr and I plan to continue being involved in the community and within the game.”
SOTA currently counts a rather tiny population on Steam; Portalarium has long maintained that the majority of the playerbase does not play through that platform, however. Earlier this year, the studio offered up a graph that showed as many as 350 new players logging in on weekends.
Over the course of 2019, the game and studio have thrown up serious warning flags. In March, Portalarium closed its physical offices, insisting it was a temporary move. Then in May, we covered several SOTA snafus: the still-missing Kickstarter rewards, missing SEC filings required by the game’s equity crowdfunding (still not filed), and the weird obfuscation surrounding who exactly was CEO of the company and when that happened.
We have reached out to the studios with a stack of questions and will update if they comment.