In June 2009 I sat down to build Fallen London. I mailed Paul Arendt and asked him to draw me a dozen icons for a web game.
“I do have a vague and optimistic biz plan for this” (I said) “though I’m primarily doing it as skills practice and a showcase. I know you said you didn’t want to take money, but could you pick a fair price for these pics if you do them? and if I ever make any profit on it I’ll pay you out of that, if not, I’m sure ears are riveting to draw.”
Seven years later, we’ve shipped nine projects and we provide full-time work for sixteen people making dark, distinctive, untidy games. RPS says we write the ‘bestest best words in gaming’. And there was that time we rang up a helpdesk and the guy on the other end went ‘wait didn’t you make Sunless Sea’. We’ve built something that’s changed the world, ever so slightly. But it’s been seven years in one place, and I’m too busy running the company to do enough of the creative work I love. So, rather to my own surprise, once I’ve finished off one last project, I’m leaving.
Failbetter is in an excellent place, and delights in an excellent team. Everything will be the same except that it will also be different. All of you are going to have a great time. Me, I’ll be walking the earth like Jules in Pulp Fiction walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu. Oh all right I mean I’ll hang out my shingle as a freelancer. I have the entrepreneur’s bug and I’ll probably found another studio eventually, but I want to learn as much as I can from as many different kinds of project as I can, first.
(Because I know it’ll be top of the comments queue otherwise: I might get to extend the Seeking storyline before I go. If not, it’ll be in good hands.)
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve played Fallen London or Sunless Sea. That means you’ve been part of the Failbetter adventure, and you still will be, even if I won’t. You’ve made all the difference in the world, and we’ll always be grateful. Thank you. Good luck. Goodbye, delicious friends.