Idea Fabrik, the company behind Hero Engine and The Repopulation, disappears from the internet

And one of its founders has apparently started new companies

Details, details.

The beginning of this year saw a sad but perhaps unsurprising development for the Kickstarted sci-fi sandbox MMO The Repopulation when the workers contracted by Idea Fabrik quit the project entirely. This followed a multi-month bout of radio silence from the development team, which readers might remember took over after Idea Fabrik and Repop’s original developer Above & Beyond had a contract dispute that led to the company acquiring the MMO. Readers might also remember Idea Fabrik as the holder of the Hero Engine (originally developed by Simutronics), which has most famously been used by Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Initially, it would seem that would have been the end of the whole story, but things have since taken a sudden turn, as MMO Fallout first noticed that Idea Fabrik has apparently fallen entirely off of the internet’s map: The company’s website has gone dead, its related social media presence hasn’t been active for a very long time, and the website for the Hero Engine no longer works. MMO Fallout also reports that the Heroblade servers are no longer functional according to Hero Engine Discord users.

Continued following of the breadcrumb trail has only unveiled more concerning layers. Starting from Idea Fabrik’s LinkedIn page aimed us in the direction of Alex Shalash, whose current title is listed as a co-founder of MetaENGINE, a game engine and platform stack designed for MMO games, web3, and metaverse developers.

According to dates provided by Shalash on LinkedIn, this company was first founded in September 2021. Shalash’s profile also lists him as a co-founder of the infrastructure company UEVO in 2019 as well as a current chairman of the board and founder of Idea Fabrik – in fact all of his company jobs are listed as current and full-time.

Meanwhile, searches to unearth Idea Fabrik’s current existence and whether it has gone bankrupt have yielded no results at the time of this writing.

sources: MMO Fallout, LinkedIn (1, 2), Twitter, Facebook, MetaENGINE site. This article was corrected after publication to clarify that technically Simutronics created Hero Engine, but Idea Fabrik acquired it in 2010.
MMO players will recall that The Repopulation was Kickstarted twice for around $230,000 and hit Steam early access in 2014, where it’s been ever since, excepting the year it was offline entirely thanks to the HeroEngine dispute that eventually saw Idea Fabrik take it over in 2017, but it malingered with updates demonstrating little forward motion and no exit from early access alpha; it was discarded in 2022, after the outsource team working on it quit over its own contract dispute and Idea Fabrik vanished in a puff of smoke.
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