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Bounden, Fingle studio closes its doors in April


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Game Oven Studios, the independent Dutch team behind body-morphing mobile games Bounden, Bam fu, Fingle and Friendstrap, will be disbanded in April, studio co-founder Adriaan de Jongh announced in a blog post today. Game Oven will release its final game, Jelly Reef, in March on iOS and Android. Game Oven developers de Jongh and Bojan Endrovski will continue to support Bounden, Fingle, Bam fu and Jelly Reef, but they will remove Friendstrap from stores on February 1.

De Jongh and Endrovski founded Game Oven in November 2011 with their first game, Fingle, which was nominated for an IGF Nuovo award. Bounden, a two-player dancing game for mobile, is nominated this year for an IGF Nuovo prize and a GDC Innovation Award. Game Oven received financial support for Bounden from the Dutch grant program, Game Fund, and worked with the Dutch National Ballet to create the choreography.

And, despite Game Oven's closure, Bounden is doing "really well," de Jongh told me today.

"We're not making millions, no, but Bounden's profit is larger than the development costs, so maybe awards are not that disconnected from the financial success of the game," he said. "With Fingle, IGF helped us build an audience, helped us reach that critical mass, and even though we no longer do any marketing effort for Fingle, we still make one minimum wage from the game every month. The way things look now, it seems like Bounden is on that same road."

He continued: "The thing is that running a studio is the sum of all parts. Not all parts of Game Oven were as successful as Fingle or Bounden, yet the expenses remained the same. A studio isn't very flexible in that sense, and unfortunately, the success of Fingle and Bounden wasn't able to pay for our successful and unsuccessful parts."

De Jongh and Endrovski plan to set out on their own, separately, and Game Oven producer Eline Muijres has found marketing work at Dutch studio Monogon.

"I feel very confident and excited about the future, to once again make 'weird shit' and be open to unexpected collaborations," de Jongh said. "The downtime of being by myself for a while will allow me to go in-depth on some designs I've been prototyping for. I am also excited for whatever Bojan will be doing next – he's still one of the best programmers I know. I can't answer for him, but I'm pretty sure he's excited for new challenges as well."

I played Bounden with de Jongh on a balcony at GDC last year – see the video of that performance here, and a gif below. Game Oven will attend GDC and SXSW this year, as well. Save the last dance for me, Game Oven.

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Press release: Game Oven closes studio – Jelly Reef is the last game

Utrecht, the Netherlands – Game Oven, developer of Fingle and Bounden, is closing the studio in April.

Game Oven published the complete story on their blog, explaining it was getting harder and harder to run a company and maintain artistic freedom:

Game Oven is a studio known for its weird, whimsical local multiplayer games that go beyond the screen, like finger twister Fingle on iPad and awkward conversation game Friendstrap on iPhone. The studio's last game Bounden is a 2 player dance game on iOS and Android, made with choreography by the Dutch National Ballet. Bounden was recently nominated for the Nuovo Award at the Independent Games Festival, and the Innovation Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.

In March, Game Oven will attend GDC and SXSW to show Bounden and Jelly Reef. Game Oven will disband the company in April.

Jelly Reef is Game Oven's last game, planned to release on iOS and Android end of March. Jelly Reef is an action adventure game where you touch the screen with your fingers to create currents in the sea. You explore a roguelike underwater world, going through the procedurally generated levels to find a path to the bottom of the ocean, keeping the jellyfish away from the dangerous animals swimming around.

[Image: Game Oven]

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