According to reports on the RAFHeaven fansite for the Stainless Steel Studios-created PC real-time strategy game Rise And Fall: Civilizations At War, the Cambridge, Mass.-based developer has closed its doors, laying off the vast majority of its staff.
Following initial statements to the effect from an ex-employee, former Stainless Steel game AI programmer Daniel Higgins also commented on the messageboard, confirming the news, and explaining: "This is true, SSSI is no more. I can't give details as to why, but I can tell you the product is in excellent shape, the team was in high morale and plowing ahead at full steam, and we were just weeks from gold disk." The company's official website has now been removed, lending further credence to the report.
Stainless Steel was founded by Age Of Empires lead designer Rick Goodman in January 1998, and had previously completed PC strategy titles Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World for Sierra and Activision respectively, both to critical acclaim.
The firm was working on Rise On Fall, "a detailed real-time strategy game that lets players completely command one of the four mightiest empires of the ancient world: Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia", for publisher Midway, with a scheduled ship date of February 2006. No further information from either Midway or Stainless representatives was available at this time.