Kickstarted sandbox MMO The Repopulation is apparently dead as Idea Fabrik’s contracted dev team quits


When last we checked in on The Repopulation, it was in August, when I realized that the team behind the game had put out almost no information all year, not even the steady stream of fluff and promises we’d become accustomed to. Nevertheless, in May the developers were still insisting that everything was fine and there was “no need for alarm.” That turns out to not be the case, as now the game is sunsetting outright – perhaps permanently.

The news was delivered on Steam from TGS Tech, which is apparently the contracted group that current owner Idea Fabrik had set to salvage the game. In fact, the way it’s phrased makes it sound like there was some sort of failed negotiation between TGS and Idea Fabrik itself, and that’s resulted in TGS pulling out.

“Despite everyone’s valiant efforts, from developers to testers, TGS has concluded that we cannot make The Repopulation viable despite our best efforts,” the contractors write. “At the end of 2021, we intended to make several updates hoping to fix the problems we have all encountered. Although we planned on rebuilding the game on the updated platform, we were not able to come to terms with IF on various business issues.”

“As a result, we have decided that our work developing The Repopulation must end. TGS is not the game’s owner. The game’s owner is Idea Fabrik. TGS is only a contractor. TGS does not have the authority or ability to suspend sales or provide refunds. Only Idea Frabik [sic] can do these things. Idea Fabrik is aware of the issues but we have not been told what they intend to do. TGS is turning over The Repopulation Facebook and Twitter accounts to Idea Fabrik. All future inquiries should be made to Idea Fabrik on Facebook and Twitter.

“IF may attempt to remaster the game with another company, but we have not been informed as to its plans. As a result, the server, website, and discord server will be brought offline on 2023/01/13. Idea Fabrik has also not informed TGS as to whether it intends to continue to sell The Repopulation on the Steam platform.

“We are extremely disappointed that we were unable to resolve the problems with The Repopulation,” the contractor team concludes. “We worked very hard for many years on this game and we were and are invested in its success. We sincerely wish that we could have resolved these issues. We hope you will understand that we did all we could to make this game viable despite the many obstacles we encountered. We also understand that best efforts do not soften the blow of this disappointing news. Thank you all for taking this journey with us.”

Unfortunately, this is far from the first time we’ve seen drama out of this game and its minders. Longtime readers will recall that The Repopulation had been in early access for over eight years, having been Kickstarted for almost $230K in 2012 by original developer Above & Beyond as a Star Wars Galaxies-inspired sandbox MMO. Not long after its 2014 early access launch, Above & Beyond was caught up in an ugly contract dispute with Idea Fabrik, the company that ran the Hero Engine the game was built on. The dispute led to game outages, a second hastily assembled game (which failed), and severe development slowdowns, culminating with the bizarre revelation in 2017 that Idea Fabrik had acquired The Repopulation and promised to develop it in spite of ongoing hostilities. Of course, that development was extremely slow in coming as Idea Fabrik suggested core parts of the game needed full from-scratch rewrites, and the game never did advance from its initial early access alpha.

“Based on the latest updates, it doesn’t appear the once-anticipated indie MMO will be emerging from early access or alpha any time soon,” we opined back in August. Sadly, unless Idea Fabrik suddenly shows up with a new team and comms, it appears we were right. Our condolences to the people who worked on this game in good faith and to all the Kickstarter backers who hoped to see it someday launch.

The long, sad saga:

Source: Steam. Cheers, Max!
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