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Vlambeer co-founder Jan Willem Nijman becomes sole owner of indie studio

The news means the Dutch studio could be set for a mini revival, with Nijman pledging to release Ultrabugs and support existing projects.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 4, 2024

2 Min Read
The Vlambeer logo on a black background
Image via Vlambeer

Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer is back in business after co-founder Jan Willem Nijman purchased 100 percent ownership of the studio.

Nijman, who previously owned 50 percent of the studio, acquired the other half from fellow co-founder Rami Ismail after the pair decided that Vlambeer would be "better off" in the hands of a sole owner.

The move means Vlambeer, which was effectively placed into stasis in 2020 after the duo parted ways to pursue other ventures, is making something of a comeback.

In a thread on X, Nijman explained he will make sure Vlambeer's long-gestating project Ultrabugs finally gets released and will provide an update for Ridiculous Fishing EX.

"I want to preserve the classic Vlambeer games, and make sure they get the maintenance they need to stay playable far into the future. So many games get lost in time and it’s a damn shame," he added. "And last but not least: I’m going to keep making indie games with cool small teams like I always have! A big thanks to all of Vlambeer’s amazing collaborators, and everyone who made our games possible throughout the years."

In a separate post, Ismail described the decision to relinquish his stake in the studio as a "big moment" but added it will enable the company to forge a better, more sustainable future.

"In the almost half-a-decade since Vlambeer shut down, it has become clear that —while we were both happy with our new freedom and our ability to work independently from each other— we were not fully happy with where things ended up. It felt like a strange limbo in which neither of us could commit the time and effort Vlambeer needed to be maintained, but both of us were dependent on each other to take any action," he wrote.

"Ultimately, we’ve come to the conclusion that Vlambeer is better off in the hands of one of us. After discussing what that means and who should be that one, I have decided to let Jan Willem buy out my share of Vlambeer. Jan Willem’s current work still closely aligns with the aesthetics of the studio, and his continued focus on small games continues to fit the brand."

Ismail stated that Vlambeer will "always be part of who I am," but that he will no longer be a part of Vlambeer. "For me, that is the end of one story–and the beginning of yet another," he continued.

"With this newly gained freedom & time, my future as a game developer lies in a few quite different projects that are spinning up that are no longer fit within the aesthetics and brand that Vlambeer has so carefully curated over the years. And my personal interests continue to focus on initiatives that support the industry globally and locally, and in helping good people make good games in good ways."

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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