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Flaming Fowl lays off staff after unveiling demo for its (shelved) game

Flaming Fowl is making a last-chance bid to attract publisher interest by releasing a demo for Ironmarked.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 23, 2024

2 Min Read
Key art for the shelved PC game Ironmarked.
Image via Flaming Fowl.

At a Glance

  • "This project was put on hold because of the [industry's] financial situation. If players want to help...Steam Wishlist it."

Gloomhaven developer Flaming Fowl has a new project in the works by the name of Ironmarked. But until it's gauged enough interest for the game, it'll be on ice for the forseeable future.

Flaming Fowl released a demo for the game on Steam, and asked players to wishlist it so the team can find more funding. At the same time, the studio has let go of over half its staff.

The layoffs were attributed to a lack of a general lack of industry funding. With Ironmarked, Flaming Fowl hopes the demo will "help those leaving us [find] new roles elsewhere, by demonstrating their outstanding work on the project."

While not entirely the same, Skybound Entertainment made a similar plea with players last week. In crowdfunding to develop a triple-A game for Invincible, it's banking on audiences' affection for the superhero show to do the funding normal game investors aren't right now.

Speaking to VGC, CEO Craig Oman revealed Flying Fowl had been funding Ironmarked for a year after its initial publisher pulled out. And after failing to pitch it to 30 publishers, the only way forward was to stop development and foster a potential community.

In this instance, Oman admitted it's taken a toll on the studio. What was once a team of around 30 people has now been reduced to nine.

"It's nearly impossible today [to do what we did in 2016]," he said. "I know people who have tried to start studios in the last nine months and it’s been impossible for them."

Oman was similarly frank in saying he wanted Ironmarked to happen in part because he didn't want another canned project to his name. Being candid about the game's chances on Steam is a risk, but one he hopes pays off.

"I really don’t want it to be another [game] that never comes out and only a handful of people ever know about them. [...] If players want to help bring it back to life, then the best thing to do is to wishlist it on Steam."

With Ironmarked development currently on the backburner, Flaming Fowl will spend the remainder of 2024 working on a "smaller game" that it can fund on its own.

"Although this is a difficult and sad time for everyone involved, we are very proud of what we were creating and want to share that with all of you," it wrote. "Thank you for your continued support, we hope you enjoy the demo."

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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