Forgotten Key prepares for shutdown

This post carries news, new released game demos and links to devs looking for work. Scroll down to find the juicy bits or continue reading to get all the context.

As you might know if you have found your way here, I am the head of the indie game studio Forgotten Key.

It’s with a heavy heart we have decided to prepare a shutdown of Forgotten Key, the place we have called home for the last 7 years.

We have grown from 4 to 14, had the pleasure to receive several prestigious awards, and we have worked with some of the industries biggest and finest. Now we are at roads end, and without a dramatic turn of events we will very soon close the doors to our studio.

With love and llambas

The last few years for us was much about finalizing and releasing AER Memories of Old, including porting and patching. That time was also about finding the next project, to fit in with how the market moves and try to find ways to sustain a growing studio. This is something we ultimately failed to do in a sustainable way even though our efforts bore fruit for a while.

In the humblest of ways, no matter what happens, we want to say a big thank you to all our players and to everyone who has been involved in guiding us, mentoring us, funding us, helping us, giving us company, and keeping us warm in harsh times. You have all made an impact in our lives in a way we couldn’t have dreamed of when we set out as a small inexperienced student team with a game concept or two.

We will use this occasion to release demos and material that has been secret up until now. This includes playable demos ready to download for free on itch.io (links to the demos below) for two new games and worlds we had in the making:

An audience with the Warden of the Forest in Down the Well
  • Down the Well, an underground adventure inspired by Scandinavian folklore. You can find it here: Down the Well on itch.io
Vind is a new world of flight adventures from Forgotten Key
  • Vind, a narrative flight exploration adventure where we wanted to move on from AER to build a new world and structure of stories. Even if it shares similarities with AER, Vind is not a sequel in any way but its own world with its own stories and quirks. You can find demos here: Vind on Itch.io

The questions we ask ourselves are “Where did we take the wrong turns? Why couldn’t we find partners who were willing to invest in our ideas, despite awards and proven talent? What could and should we have done differently?”

The answers are probably many and nuanced, where we will surely fall to whatever the opposite of survival bias is called when trying find explanations. One answer is probably the markets development, another personal misjudging of priorities, and a third the inherent problem between making business out of creativity and art. This is a topic I will return to in future writings to explore different angles, and maybe shed light on the ups and downs of a studio.

For now, please share this post along to as many as possible. Our main focus in a time such as this is to find good homes for the worlds we have built, and especially we will do everything in our power to make sure AER will remain up on every released platform indefinitely.

If you feel that you can offer another option for us, send any proposals of any kind to me at robin.hjelte@forgottenkey.se

Our second focus is to find homes for all our talented developers. I have linked all who wanted at the end of the post, feel free to reach out if you are in search of a skilled game dev:

Andreas Nilsson (artist and animator): LinkedIn
Andreé Hallengren (programmer): LinkedIn
Cajsa Larsson (music and audio design): Soundcloud and twitter
Calle Boström (VFX artist): Portfolio
Christofer Levall (2D and concept artist): Artstation
Christoffer Wardh (programmer): Portfolio
Erik Jeppsson (programmer): Portfolio
Jesper Olofsson (3D artist): Email
Jonathan Gutman (programmer): Portfolio
Lucas Wall (level designer): Portfolio
Michael Levall (game designer): Portfolio
Måns Billing (game designer): Portfolio
Robin Hjelte (producer, business and game designer): LinkedIn and twitter