JoWooD Declares Bankruptcy

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JoWooD Declares Bankruptcy

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Austrian game publisher JoWooD Entertainment has filed for bankruptcy but says it hopes to get its house in order fairly quickly and become a going concern once again.

JoWooD may not be a gamer household name like Activision or EA, but it's been around for awhile and has a fairly decent library of published titles to its credit. It specializes in games that might otherwise not reach an interested audience, like the Gothic, SpellForce and Söldner series; my first JoWooD game was the great Arx Fatalis, which earned it a special place in my heart that remains to this day.

The company has been struggling financially for years, however, and on Friday the the hammer finally fell as it acknowledged that "all efforts towards restructuring of capitalization concerning outside capital as well as equity capital had to be considered as failed" and that it was thus forced to declare insolvency.

Despite the bad news, JoWooD said in a statement that it believed negotiations with creditors and possible investors could be wrapped up within 90 days, ensuring the continued operation of the company. Assisting in that regard may be a lawsuit filed by JoWooD against Koch Media GmbH for €2.36 million ($3.06 million) plus interest, resulting from an undervalued purchase of JoWooD shares by Koch.

"With a view to JoWooD's strained financial situation and based on corporate law considerations, the company's management board today decided to file the law suit in the company's and its shareholders' interest," the company said. It also noted that a decision will only be reached "after tedious proceedings that could last for several years," a statement which GamesIndustry suggested could be a ploy to encourage Koch to settle.

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Wait... no more spellforce games? :(

How does one buy "undervalued" shares? Did the mafia sell them off the back of a truck or something?

Didn't JoWooD also piss away a serious amount of capital on that horrific Stargate MMO?

I need my new Spellforce dammit

*Just waiting for someone to blame game piracy*....

They also did the Cultures series, which is my "game no-one's ever heard of" series.

Hope they get off their feet, always sad to see someone going into dire financial straits.

I've heard good things about Gothic 2...been meaning to pick it up on Steam.

MY ONE NON-PURCHASE DID THIS! This is all my fault...

Onyx Oblivion:
I've heard good things about Gothic 2...been meaning to pick it up on Steam.

MY ONE NON-PURCHASE DID THIS! This is all my fault...

Onyx, you cleaver bastard. :p

Seriously though, it's worth picking up.

Tis a sad day indeed...

I think I need to fire up Arx Fatalis to cope with this news...

Onyx Oblivion:
I've heard good things about Gothic 2...been meaning to pick it up on Steam.

MY ONE NON-PURCHASE DID THIS! This is all my fault...

Gothic 2 is really good, 3 is also pretty good, buggy but a community patch that was made, fixed up almost all of the bugs.

Commentary on the pipeline is that JoWood was depending on the release of "Arcania: Gothic 4," which was marketed as a Gothic title despite being an extremely linear, closed-world, short RPG that was nothing like any of the previous Gothic titles. It didn't do so well, so they're bankrupt.

This after being largely responsible for the early (and buggy) release of Gothic 3, completely responsible for the largely rubbish Forsaken Gods expansion, and generally not a very good publisher for Piranha Bytes (Who are now on their own and making excellent games again).

Thus, Spellforce aside, I will not mourn their passing one bit.

Korten12:

Onyx Oblivion:
I've heard good things about Gothic 2...been meaning to pick it up on Steam.

MY ONE NON-PURCHASE DID THIS! This is all my fault...

Gothic 2 is really good, 3 is also pretty good, buggy but a community patch that was made, fixed up almost all of the bugs.

Is Gothic 3 old enough to run on modern, non-gaming PCs yet, though?

Like how Morrowind will basically run on anything. And even Oblivion to some degree.

JoWood are on my list of game companies I'm like having around even if their games are kinda inconsistent so I'm kinda sad about this, hopefully they can get back up though. I too require more Spellforce.

Onyx Oblivion:

Korten12:

Onyx Oblivion:
I've heard good things about Gothic 2...been meaning to pick it up on Steam.

MY ONE NON-PURCHASE DID THIS! This is all my fault...

Gothic 2 is really good, 3 is also pretty good, buggy but a community patch that was made, fixed up almost all of the bugs.

Is Gothic 3 old enough to run on modern, non-gaming PCs yet, though?

Like how Morrowind will basically run on anything. And even Oblivion to some degree.

Well here is the specs: I think you should be able to run it if you can slightly run Oblivion.

Minimum:

* Windows 2000/XP/XP64
* 1024MB RAM
* Intel Pentium 4 / AMD CPU 2GHz or equivalent
* Direct3D compatible graphics card with at least 128MB and Shader Model 1.4

Recommended:

* Windows 2000/XP/XP64
* 1.5GB RAM
* Intel Pentium 4 / AMD CPU 3GHz or equivalent
* ATI X1600 or better, GeForce 6800 or better, at least 256MB

Other:

* 4.6GB available fixed-disk storage
* DirectX 9.0c (included)
* DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
* DVD-Drive

Korten12:

Onyx Oblivion:

Korten12:

Gothic 2 is really good, 3 is also pretty good, buggy but a community patch that was made, fixed up almost all of the bugs.

Is Gothic 3 old enough to run on modern, non-gaming PCs yet, though?

Like how Morrowind will basically run on anything. And even Oblivion to some degree.

Well here is the specs: I think you should be able to run it if you can slightly run Oblivion.

Minimum:

* Windows 2000/XP/XP64
* 1024MB RAM
* Intel Pentium 4 / AMD CPU 2GHz or equivalent
* Direct3D compatible graphics card with at least 128MB and Shader Model 1.4

Recommended:

* Windows 2000/XP/XP64
* 1.5GB RAM
* Intel Pentium 4 / AMD CPU 3GHz or equivalent
* ATI X1600 or better, GeForce 6800 or better, at least 256MB

Other:

* 4.6GB available fixed-disk storage
* DirectX 9.0c (included)
* DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
* DVD-Drive

I found an official demo. Oddly, it wasn't available on Steam...Just GamersHell. It's downloading now.

Their situation doesn't surprise me. Despite being a booming industry too many bad desicians are going to ruin any company. Not only does JoWooD chronically underpromote it's games, it's also done things like release TWO horrendously bad Gothic games. That series had a chance of becoming big, but Gothic 3 was released in a ridiculously buggy state that the community pretty much had to fix on it's own, and the latest Gothic game pretty much destroyed everything that the series had built up until that point such as the sandbox gameplay and such. They have left their Spellforce franchise pretty much sitting since like 2007, despite plans to release an expansion for Spellforce 2 (Faith In Destiny) this year which probably hasn't been too hyped because it's an expansion for what is now a 4 year old game.

The release of successive garbage, bad advertising, and leaving some of their franchises sitting, doubtlessly all contributed. In any industry companies are going to go down, and simply put with the competition out ther JoWooD seems to have been being badly managed and to have seen very little in the way of quality control with what it planned to release.

Oh well...Gothic 1+2 were awesome but 3 was a buggy convoluted mess. I had preordered the collector's edition from Germany of the third Gothic game, it was so rushed that they didn't have time to print out the jewel case inserts for the discs, they released those a few weeks later as a PDF so we could print them ourselves. Their serious lack of support for their games after Gothic 2 was also appalling, so good riddance I say!

Reccomended spec for Gothic 3 is:
1.5GB RAM
P4 3GHz
ATI x1600 >256MB RAM
4.6GB HDD space

Onyx Oblivion:
I found an official demo. Oddly, it wasn't available on Steam...Just GamersHell. It's downloading now.

The demo is pretty good (gives a good amount of content), though don't base the whole game off of it, because the community patch fixes a lot of bugs.

In case read my review for it: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.205690-My-First-Review-Gothic-3-Possible-Spoilers

(not really any major spoilers, or even small spoilers...)

I played the demo for arx fatalis. Good story, bad controls.

The problem of this company was that they never were able to advertise the existence of their newer games in the international area. The were almost exclusive to germany, maybe europe.

The Gothic franchise, while the first one was a keystone in Rpgs to many players, is hardly known across the atlantic. Even moreso for their building-rpg-sim "Die Gilde" (the guilt, if you can't tell).

Popular games in germany, unkown in the world. And I have no idea how any company can let this happen in the age of the internet.

Meh. I don't know how to feel about this. They did publish Arx Fatalis and Gothic, but I remember something about them screwing Deep Silver over or something? I guess I'll just google it.

Oh, and a bit off topic, but the Arx Fatalis developer (Arkane Studios) was bought by Bethesda's parent company some time ago.
Maybe they get to work on Skyrim? I hope so!

HvD:
Oh well...Gothic 1+2 were awesome but 3 was a buggy convoluted mess. I had preordered the collector's edition from Germany of the third Gothic game, it was so rushed that they didn't have time to print out the jewel case inserts for the discs, they released those a few weeks later as a PDF so we could print them ourselves. Their serious lack of support for their games after Gothic 2 was also appalling, so good riddance I say!

Reccomended spec for Gothic 3 is:
1.5GB RAM
P4 3GHz
ATI x1600 >256MB RAM
4.6GB HDD space

Did you ever download the community patch for G3? Fixed a lot.

Damn those internet pirates, with all theyre virtual rum and usb-peglegs


Probably my saddest game moment ever. I loved those games. :(
I may have been pirate in past but I bought their games even then, some of them even twice.

Damnit, I loved Silent Storm!

This is a real shame, really hate to see this

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone keeping abreast of gaming news. I foretold this ultimate fate on JoWood's forums before the launch of their last game, Arcania.

Although that title wasn't as bereaved with as many bugs as Gothic 3, this shoddy, at worse, release couldn't repair what had been done to JoWood's already flailing reputation as a publisher.

You can easily judge how professional a company is when it has to ask volunteers to fix a game ailed by so many bugs that their own programmers can't fix as it happened with Gothic 3.

With that said, I find it shameful nonetheless. But in all honesty, this only adds up to one thing. Bad management. You can never take anything for granted. Ever. Obviously this is a hard lesson for JoWood to learn. Let's hope the pill, although it is huge, will be swallowed and digested.

Who knows, if they really take their art at heart, they will come back and offer something worth our money and entertainment.

Gothic 3 really was a mess, and Gothic 4, whatever it was called, tanked pretty hard. You can trace it all back to the ugliness with Piranha Bytes, which as Omicron1 pointed out seems to have recovered from the split better than JoWooD. That's obviously not the only reason for the trouble but it's doubtless a big part. Still, even though JoWooD really shot itself in the foot with that one, I think it's a shame. It brought attention to a lot of games we may otherwise never have seen, and there's that whole Arx Fatalis thing. I'll always love HoWooD for Arx.

Its rather unfortunate but not entirely unpredictable. You could sense for years they were on a slippery slope.

But perhaps there is a silver lining in this that a bigger developer might now step in, and snatch up the rights and IPs for further and future production. I mean is anyone seriously seriously offended by what Bethesda did with the Fallout franchise? So perhaps it could be a good thing.

Still, sad.

After running the Gothic franchise to the ground (and kicking out the developers on the way) I have to say I'm not sorry for Jowood. They got what they deserved.

I actually liked even the first buggy release of Gothic 3, (hey, I did play gothic 1-2 with those franctic controls and liked those too!) but the "let's fire the developers of an established series and give it to some beginners" Arcania: gothic 4 was a anything but gothic (or a good game for that matter).

tomtom94:
They also did the Cultures series, which is my "game no-one's ever heard of" series.

Ah, thanks, now I remember what game other than Gothic I remember this publisher from. Cultures actually was a nice game, makes me a bit nostalgic to think about it.

It fun to watch crooks and thieves fail. They tried to steal the Stargate license from a small company Perception. The finally lost badly in court (it cost them millions) and destroyed Stargate: The Alliance and Perception Pty despite winning the case.

I saw Soldner as a large nail in a future coffin. It certainly took a while. But finally happened. Its a shame they didn't get more exposure, they had some creative ideas. Execution of those ideas, didn't always go to plan though.

I'm kinda glad. Their games were mostly garbage.

never heard of this company or any of its games. but its always sad to see so many people lose their jobs, especially if they loved making games :'(

Trust me... this is a good thing.
JoWood didn't really make any games, they were a Publisher... and a really bad one at that...

They screwed over the Stargate SG-1 developers in 2005 and "litigated" them to death/fired everyone...
They closed all the development studios they had under them by 2006 to concentrate "solely on Publishing".
They constantly pushed for games to be released before they were ready and in a VERY VERY buggy (hell... near unplayable state) e.g. see The Guild 2 or Gothic 3 etc.
They pushed Piranha Bytes away and stole their IP to give it to some unknown studios, all the while trying to "americanize" and "consolize" it so it'll sell better overseas and thought that'd actually end up working. (Piranha Bytes meanwhile went ahead and developed/released Risen by themselves)
They threatened German gaming magazines with not "paying for ads" and similar if they don't get good tests for some of their games.

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