Two Tribes, the development studio best-known for games such as Toki Tori and Toki Tori 2+, has entered bankruptcy, with the original owners Martijn Reuvers and Collin van Ginkel now forming a new, smaller company. Two Tribes as a development studio was a separate business from Two Tribes Publishing B.V., which continues as normal, with the new company being a sub-company to the publishing arm.
Financial issues for the development studio came to a head in October last year, as explained in the official blog post.
We’ve been making games for more than 13 years, so you can imagine how much it - quite frankly - sucks when after a four minute meeting at the courthouse, the company we built was no more. At the same time, we knew we were kinda stuck in the past and this was our chance to change things drastically.
In 2009 we started the transition from doing work for hire to becoming the Indie studio we had always wanted to be. We’re super proud of what we’ve achieved in recent years, but the company that resulted from that transition still held on to too many ideas and values from the old days. It’s difficult to make fundamental changes, but late October last year we had no other option. When Toki Tori 2 ended up taking way longer than expected and not achieving the sales we needed, it basically took the company down with it.
There are two key points to take from the announcement. First of all, there's no impact to the currently published Two Tribes games (whether developed in-house or externally) that are available on platforms such as the Wii U and 3DS eShop, as these fall under the still-solvent Two Tribes Publishing B.V. The second important point is that much of the team, aside from Martijn Reuvers and Collin van Ginkel, is confirmed to have left the company. The new, small team will focus on projects with quicker turnaround that utilise already-available technology, as opposed to the lengthy development time and custom-built engine of Toki Tori 2+.
We’ve got a ton of hindsight to work with and we’re going to be applying the lessons we learned to the new Two Tribes. Behind the scenes things will change quite a bit. We’ve decided to move away from creating custom technology and focus on what’s readily available. As a result we’ll be working with a much smaller team on our next game, a 2D side scrolling shooter, which will be re-using the existing Toki Tori 2+ engine.
Our focus will be on the design of our games, which we plan on making more of in less time than before.
We are currently putting together an interview with Martijn Reuvers and Collin van Ginkel to learn more about these events and their implications moving forward. Stay tuned for that feature in the near future.