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Swedish Developer GRIN To Close Its Doors
Swedish Developer GRIN To Close Its Doors
August 12, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

August 12, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
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Swedish Bionic Commando and Terminator: Salvation developer GRIN has shed light on widespread media reports of trouble at the studio, announcing today that it must close down completely due to cash flow issues.

Gamasutra yesterday reported widespread layoffs and studio closures at the Stockholm-headquartered developer's Gothenburg and Barcelona locations. Today on GRIN's official site, co-founders Bo and Ulf Andersson confirmed that the challenges are absolute.

"Too many publishers have been delaying their payments, causing an unbearable cashflow situation," said the company's co-founders on GRIN's official site.

"After twelve years of hard work, employing hundreds of wonderfully talented men and women, it is over. It has been a great adventure and the GRIN family has experienced what few have."

With titles including Ballistics, Bandits, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2 for PC, Bionic Commando Rearmed and Terminator: Salvation under its belt, the company has seen a considerable rise in the last few years.

Though it was founded in 1997, it was not until it was given responsibility for the PC versions of the GRAW games that GRIN started gaining repute as a company.

Since then, it has opened additional locations and attracted an increasing number of development deals from major publishers before running into trouble earlier this year as its projects received weaker-than-expected sales and critical reception.

GRIN had an unknown project in development, and the Andersson's farewell note references "our unreleased masterpiece that we weren’t allowed to finish."


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Comments


Jorge Hebrard
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Sad to hear that.

Ian Fisch
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I can link this to two very poor decisions:



1. Releasing Wanted one year after the movie was released. This was just a bad investment decision. You don't invest in a AAA licensed game based on an unproven franchise. You definitely don't do it if your release date is going to be so far after the movie's already left the public's conscience. Yes bending bullets is cool but is that really enough justification for the $10 million spent on development?



2. The Bionic Commando multiplayer-only demo. When your game is built on the foundation of freedom of movement within single player levels, you don't release your only demo as a multiplayer deathmatch in a very confined space. I can't imagine anyone shelling out $60 for the full version after that demo - and no one did.



It's funny that Terminator Salvation was one of the few things that GRIN did right and that game was the worst of the three by far.



I feel bad for all the people who are now out of work based on these poor management decisions.

Evan Bell
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Major disappointment.



They had the best logo too. Gives me the creeps.

Peter Dwyer
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Adding my 2 cents to the discussion. I think grin made some terrible games over the last few years. Bionic commando was supposed to be all about freedom, yet if you went anywhere, other than a very narrow path, you died of radiation poisoning within seconds. Terminator was just plain awful to play and only had about 3 - 4 hours of play in it.



Under these circumstances it's hard to see how any publisher would have been confident investing in a game made by them.



This is what puzzles me about our industry. Companies make bad games and are then suprised when they fail to make any money. It's the same with movies. People tell their friends if a game is good or bad, regardless of the reviews done by magazines and websites. The initial rush to a game may be caused by reviews but, the sustained steady sales are 90% word of mouth opinions from those who initially bought the game.



Companies need to realise that the initial rush of sales doesn't pay the bills. Selling 1 million in week one means nothing if those 1 million gamers then tell their 10 million friends not to touch the pile of crap that they just spent good money on!

Joseph Garrahan
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Well, BC: ReArmed was awesome. Their publicity and fan connections were great.



But yeah, terminator and wanted....no one cared much about those. People should think of making good games, not good graphics. ReArmed was a good game, not so much graphics. I wonder why they didn't release it on Wii...seems like a perfect fit.

Thomas Grove
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Unless they were relying on royalty payments (which is rare for any work for hire dev) then the success or failure of those titles should have little consequence as to their cashflow. Late milestone payments or failing to secure a new publishing deal, now those things can hurt.



Also, Bionic Commando was a great game, despite the radiation zones. 34/40 review in Famitsu!

Nicolas Casanova
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The only game from them I have played is Bionic Commando Rearmed and I had them in a very high concept as developers.



Maybe if they had just re-done more NES games as incredibly as they did with BC and gave support to those titles through add-ons they could have survived.



It's sad to know people who provide me hours of challenging fun will struggle, but at least with Bionic Commando Rearmed on their curriculum, I guess other companies will be glad hiring them.

Peter Dwyer
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@Thomas



"Also, Bionic Commando was a great game, despite the radiation zones. 34/40 review in Famitsu!"



You've just proven my point about magazine reviews NOT affecting sales after the initial week of release. People who bought Bionic commando at release will have done so using the reviews. People who didn't buy it after that will have avoided it because those initial buyers would have told them what the game really played like.



I bought it at release and I can honestly say I wouldn't recommend it at full price to anyone. It had great raphics but, very repetitive gameplay and some truly annoying moments i.e the snipers, weapons with stupidly low ammo, stupidly low health for your character, bonus items that required you to swing with pinpoint accuracy between two lethal radiation zones WITHOUT being able to see where those zones were. Falls into water that caused a slow unavoidable death etc. etc.



As for royalty payments. All companies rely on them. The initial payments are just for development work, as are the milestone payments and completion payments/bonus. The actual money is made when your sales exceed those initial figures and the royalties start to come in. If you don't sell enough copies, then the publisher doesn't recoup their initial investment and so doesn't commission any more projects from you. You also don't recieve any royalties and so are forced to exist on whatever money is left over from the payments recieved during at at the end of the project. Such payments are not enough to keep a full studio running for more than about 6 months.

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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hahaha, you here too Gomez? :D



An option to explain the success of transformers 2 its his upfront demand, specially in the US, and that it was labelled as the must see summer movie, so everyone went to saw it, probably the people influenced for the reviews and the hardcore fans are a small part of the overall business. It happens the same with some movie flops..they are heavily hyped on the magazines or on the net and then only a few persons actually saw these movies (think snakes on a plane), so it's a really tricky balance, you have to kepp the fans happy or your movie gonna bomb, but at the time you can't do just a movie for fans or your movie maybe not tank, but it will also not be a totall sucess (take for instance Watchmen)...and most of it can be said for videogames too about the hype and the hardcore fanbase.





And I find harder to explain that a funny but so-so movie like ICE AGE 3 had overpassed the 700 millions worldwide and a total masterpiece like UP was under 400....but you know shit happens (and no one can think of UP like a flop, of course!)...I'm sure we can extrapolate it to the videogame world with the Iron Man tie-in selling like cakes and other games like MadWorld and Mirror's Edge struggling to buy enought copies to justify its sequels...

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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*to sell



sorry about the mistakes, that's what happen when you write during the lunch break!

steve roger
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This is just conjecture, but I would gamble that what happened to GRIN was rather simple bad business planning. With Wanted they had a good game going, with top notch graphics and some innovative gameplay, however, the development process was taking a longer time and they did not want to release a totally unfinished game, so they delayed, by convincing themselves and investors that this was going to be great and would ulitmately recoup and more. However, Bionic Commando was costing them an arm and a leg in development costs and they were working on Terminatior Salvation and had to get that one out the door on time so that some money could come in to cover the nut on Commando and Wanted.



So Terminator came out and was no Salvation since it was rushed. However, the public already knew from a long line of crappy terminator games to avoid it (unlike Iron Man which was just one crappy most wanted game.)



Bionic Commando was looking good but needed a lot of polish, but instead of working out the issues, the radiation zones were introduced as the solution and that was a final solution for the game's reviews.



Wanted had to be released in order to deal with the bleeding financial situation. It was a good game but it's lack of content and lack of interest because it came out so long after the film no one Wanted it any more.



There you have it, a Perfect Storm. Gotta feel bad for the staff. They must have worked their butts off trying to get these games done.

John Nitsolas
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Why is everyone talking about those three games all the time?

OK so they where the show-stopper for Grin!

I GET IT!!!

What I wanna know is what the hell happened to the GRAW series???

It's not some snide remark on my part or dwelling in glories past.

I mean I'm not saying I know something you all don't

but

When something ain't broken? Why... abandon it?

And even if GRAW wasn't an "appealing" IP to publishers any more, then what about the game design, all the mechanics and all that know-how?

Why abandon that?

Why not make a game close to GRAW??

Why go make Terminator Salvation?

or Bionic Commando?

or Bionic Commando Rearmed?

oh no! wait....

That last one was acually a GOOD game.



I'm not answering any questions here, just posing some questions that I'm curious about.

steve roger
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John, you answered you own question. :) I agree more GRAW! I suppose we can blame that on Ubisoft?


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