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Blitz's Closure and the Fallen City of Indie

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Those of you following this blog are probably aware that davecheesefish Games is a project I do entirely in my spare time. My day job was working with 174 creative, talented and passionate people at Blitz Games Studios where I was one of the 10 working primarily on IndieCity, their open indie games distribution service.

This was sadly cut short last Thursday morning, with Blitz Games Studios entering voluntary liquidation.

At about 11am, an all-staff meeting was called on the second floor of our Leamington offices where we were delivered the bad news by Philip and Andrew Oliver, who were on the verge of breaking down upon reading the announcement. It was truly heartbreaking, and more than a couple of tears were shed while paperwork was distributed and desks were cleared.

The company was built with stability at its core but, as with everything, there's only so far you can push it before it falls over. It's not for lack of trying - the recent mobile games Kumo Lumo and Paper Titans, IndieCity, the Pi Store and various other unreleased projects sought to diversify Blitz's output but, along with the collapse of one of Blitz's major clients (THQ), ultimately couldn't support such a large company. The Oliver twins even poured personal savings in and friends of the company gave loans to keep it going for its final months in the hope it could be turned around, but sadly it was not to be.

My personal thanks go out to all the games studios who offered support and jobs for people affected by the closure. It has offered much-needed hope in an otherwise depressing situation.

Blitz may not have had a massive hit to its name, or been financially successful, but the biggest asset was its people. Pretty much every UK game developer I've spoken to has worked at or with Blitz at some point in their career. Many started there, myself included.

Everyone on every team made you feel welcome, wanted and cared for. When I fell ill with chest pain, the head of HR gave me her mobile number just in case I was worried of it happening again at home. Even while handing in tax forms to the finance department I was greeted with a smile. Less than a week before the closure we had Blitz's first (to-be-annual) company fun day at Heart Park. Even at the very end, there was still time for fun.

It still saddens me to know none of those people will be in the office on Monday. No more after-work disc golf sessions, no more Game Blitz Challenge, no more goat-based admin tools, and no more arguing over who's going to do the mid-morning bacon run. A new much smaller company will go on to service two of the ongoing projects, but IndieCity is not one of them. There's no news on what will happen, but right now it's sailing without a crew towards an uncertain future.

Thanks to everyone who's made my past 2-and-a-bit years awesome. Go forth and make the rest of the world awesome too.

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