GAME OVER

August 10th, 2015

It’s done, there is no way back. We tried, we failed.

The team is now dismantled and we have requested bankruptcy unable to pay outstanding bills.

I guess our public silence the last few months already said a lot. It is not out of disrespect that our communication dropped to almost zero… it is out of shame. It is truly devastating to read the negative comments we received by some press and players. With Woolfe being the most passion driven thing we have ever created, it feels horrible to live with the feeling we let you down.

Once the sales numbers began rolling in, the consequences of our beautiful adventure started to become painfully clear.

This is not just the end of Woolfe, but the end of the studio that I founded and nurtured through ups and downs the past 13 years. In 2002, when I founded GRIN with 2 partners, it was our goal to develop independant games. At the time we were focussed on browser based 3D games. Not an easy market to make a living from at the time. Less than 2 years after we started my 2 partners stepped out; there just wasn’t enough work to go round.

While not losing my passion and still spending every minute of spare time, I generated my basic income doing work-for-hire jobs. Every year the company grew a little stronger, a little better, a little more stable. Until 2 years ago, GRIN had 5 full-time employees exclusively making games for clients, we even made enough money to save a little cash on the side. We would use these savings to create the game of our dreams. Little did we know this would be the beginning of the end…

The optimist in me led me to believe we could actually pull off making a “bigger” indie game. I really wanted to prove an indie game did not have to be rendered in pixels or stylized as a solution to cut development costs. I wanted to believe that a team of 6 to 10 people could make a game that looked and felt AAA. Boy was I wrong!

At first we could not believe that our “baby” was not more successful, in our emotions we started looking for explanations not related to the game. Maybe gamers are just spoilt brats, bashing on everything, maybe there is an oversaturation of indie market, maybe all the free-to-play games by big studios are giving players a false sense of value. How could less than $10 be to expensive for a beautiful game like Woolfe? How could this be our fault?

Of course none of the emotional excuses above are the reason of our mixed steam rating. We can only blame ourselves…

Our lack of experience just could not be compensated with passion alone.

Why on earth would we want to increase the scope of our game without increasing the budget. Ok, it is understandable that you get inspired to try new things in gameplay, you have to experiment to come up with creative ideas and solutions. I’m not saying the ideas we came up with were impossible. But changing gameplay from 2D to 3D had a major impact on overall development cost (we found out a little too late). Collision detection for instance (and you can’t even really see that) became such a big issue so fast. Instead of having a simple 2D track where you would not be able to collide with small environment props like crates, piles of stones or skulls. Now every little element had to collide, every crooked stone on the floor had to trigger correct foot placement.

The same goes for the fences that seem to cause so much frustration with some players. Although is was a conscious game-design decision, I believe the feeling of freedom the 3D movement opened up, gave players the sense that Woolfe was no longer a platformer, but an open-world type game (more than once compared to Assassin’s Creed, which is an honor, but also a curse as we would never be able to compete).

Although our rules for fences and borders were used very consequently throughout the game, we just couldn’t get players to see them as an environmental gameplay challenge.

Not to mention the combat… OMG! How much more work it turned out to be having enemies follow and engage with the player in the semi-open environments we had grown to love.

Like a “smart” drug dealer might say: Don’t get high on your own supply…

What about our Kickstarter backers?

The people that believed in us from the beginning? People we made promises too. People we have let down. Even worse… people we will not be able to give the full rewards they invested in.

The crazy thing is, that we have most of the rewards ready for postage. All the backer stickers and letters of enlistment just need a stamp. All the poster sets printed, signed and ready. The artbook is ready to be printed, the soundtrack is ready for distribution, the DVD case is ready for production. But we have literally no money whatsoever to pay for stamps, let alone print the artbooks and dvd-cases.

What about Volume 2?

I think it is quite obvious now that we will not be able to finalise production of Woolfe Volume 2. With the low rating of Volume 1, all interested publishers have backed off and we no longer have the financial means to self publish… But we still have loads of assets and we think it would be a shame to let them all go to waste… maybe there are other developers out there that would like to take a shot at making new volumes of Woolfe. Maybe they can achieve what we were unable to accomplish. If our visual style is our strongest element we should make this available for others who are stronger at making gameplay. We would want nothing more than that the legacy of Woolfe would live on forever, or at least longer than a few months.

So with a heavy heart I have to communicate that as of now the IP of Woolfe, all of the assets and source code is now for sale via the appointed trustee Cathérine Lannoy. (c.lannoy@etrevia.be)

I would like to end this post with a very big thank you to my wife for standing by my side in this turbulent period, I hope she forgives me for pulling her into this dangerous adventure. I want to thank my parents and family who have supported me all the way, even financially when things got really rough these last few months. My friends for putting up with my limited conversation topics and recent period of isolation. My former employees that have become some of my best friends. The people who invested in GRIN. The amazing fans that helped us push the limits of what we could achieve.  But I would also like to add word of thanks and support for my colleagues and fellow game developers here in Belgium and the rest of the world. YOU ROCK!!! Never stop doing what you’re doing, you have the power to make your dreams come true, but beware of the pitfalls. Beware what you risk, you do not want to be in my position now. You do not want to lose everything you worked so hard for.

As for me, I going to take it easy the next couple of weeks/months, but I have learnt so much about game development the past few years and I don’t plan on letting that knowledge go to waste. And as always, if there is anything I can do for you or help you out with, don’t hesitate to contact me (but give me a little time to get my shit together first please…).

If you want to know more about  what game developers go through, I suggest reading this very interesting post of a former game developer on reddit:  https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/3cg2hc/repost_as_a_former_developer_theres_a_lot_of/

Thank you,

Wim Wouters

WOOLFE IS LIVE!!!

March 17th, 2015

LAUNCH-image

 

It’s done, guys. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears we are now finally ready to show you

Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries

Now all that’s left to be done is getting ready for our ‘push-the-button’ party. Like, cleaning the office and reminding everyone that we will be livestreaming this big moment.

 

You too are welcome to join us on Twitch. The more, the merrier.

TUESDAY 17 MARCH at 21pm CET (1pm PDT).

http://www.twitch.tv/WoolfeGame

 

Yes, yes, this might sound a bit cheesy but it’s true: We couldn’t have done it without you. Our loyal backers, our amazing supporters, friends, family,… You’ve all helped us out in so many ways. Either by hunting for bugs, backing us on Kickstarter, spreading the word to your friends or by giving us a heart-warming pat on the back by leaving a positive review on our Steam page. (http://play.woolfegame.com)

 

But this is not the end of Woolfe, of course.
We still have a lot to be looking forward to. Like the tier rewards for our backers. And… the second part of the game, for example. We really do depend on you guys. The better our sales are, the better our next game can be.

 

We’re really looking forward to finally seeing our hard work paying off and to our game being enjoyed by many. And as always: We’d love to hear from all of you.

 

Cheers and thanks,

  • The Woolfe Pack

18 Days till launch

February 27th, 2015

Since we were unable to provide a new build last Tuesday, we’ll have a big one today! It’s only 18 more days before the big release and it’s ‘all hands on deck’ right now. Let’s have a look at what’s coming up and what we’ve been up to, shall we?

 WoolfeGranny

Twitch: Live from GDC

Next Tuesday, March 3rd,  it’s time for our special edition Twitch Livestream. Wim will be meeting with press in the USA all through next week and he’ll Twitch live from GDC in San Francisco. Definitely worth checking out! Exact timing to be confirmed.

Granny, what nice voice you have!

It was great to see so many of you have casted your votes on the Granny Voice Audition. Number 4 was everyone’s favorite by a long shot… including the devs’! It’s awesome to see we all mutually agree on this so far. We’re still receiving a lot of auditions and will close the submissions on Tuesday. Who knows, there might still be an even better Granny out there. We’ll keep you posted!

Localization

Another update on the localization/subtitle front: Woolfe writer Yasmin is currently finalizing the Dutch subtitles (and she’s super happy to be writing in her mother tongue again for a change!).  We hope to implement the Dutch version before the next update.

Changelog

Alright, time for this week’s changelog.

Read the rest of this entry »

NEW UPDATE & HOMEWORK

January 30th, 2015

Hi there, you early access birds!

Okay… day 4 on Early Access, and what a rollercoaster it has been. We want to thank each and everyone of you for buying, liking, sharing our Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries. For reviewing it, for giving us feedback – you’ve been a tremendous help, really.

Please report all issues here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/281940/discussions/ We’re on a mission to answer and process your questions and remarks as fast as we can (finger cramp!).

Read the rest of this entry »

The final sprint – Early Access

January 27th, 2015

You’ve all marked March 17th, the official release date for
Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries, in your diaries, right? Just a few weeks away from D-day, it’s all hands on deck in our studio – as you can imagine.

And -with only a small but perfectly formed team- we need all the input we can get. Especially from people looking at the game for the very first time. Are our tutorials clear to a first-time player? Do they understand where to go in the levels and what to do? We also need help in balancing out the difficulty of the game, tracking down bugs and flaws, fine-tune level design and get better stats on known issues.

So, guess what: we’re going Early Access, like… now. And we hope you’re coming with us.

Hurry over to our Steam page and get your hands on Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries right away!

EAannouncement

Early… Say what?!

So far some 50 backers (Alpha and Beta soldiers) have playtested Woolfe and provided us with their thoughts. Awesome, but at this stage we need more eyes to scan the Woolfe universe for bugs and flaws to ensure we can fix as many as possible in time for launch. And that’s why we decided to put Woolfe up for Early Access for a few weeks, until launch.

Ready, set, go play!

Drop whatever you’re doing and book yourselves some Steam time for a city trip in Ulrica and an exciting getaway to the forest. Please leave us a note, a pat on the shoulder, a bug report or a review on how you experienced your stay in the wonder world of Woolfe. We’re dying to hear what you think.

Do keep in mind, we are still 48 days / 1,000 hours / a lot of polishing away from release. What you see (today) is not what you get (on March 17th), but… it’s getting closer every day.

Are you a Kickstarter backer?

ALL Kickstarter backers now have access to the Early Access version. Go get your key at http://army.woolfegame.com/. This is where you confirmed your rewards some time ago. You should now see a new button: SHOW KEY. To all alpha and beta soldiers who have been sending us bug reports and suggestions so far: we really appreciate it, please do keep it coming! Your feedback has been instrumental so far.

New in the trailer park!

Of course we created a beautiful new trailer to support our debut on Steam Early Access and to announce the March release. Check it out, like it, share it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa-GJw3Dxos

As always, a thousand times thanks for your support, you rock!

Cheers,

The Woolfe Pack

Alpha / Beta update v1.9.3

January 18th, 2015

Just a quick update to inform you that there is a new Alpha / Beta update available.

A whole lot of issue’s should be fixed. Some new issues seemed to pop up… stay tuned for the next update soon!

menu

The most noticeable in build  v1.9.3 (17/01/2015)

  • A Forest Adrift: No more fairy spawn bugs
  • A Forest Adrift: More combat area’s
  • A Forest Adrift: Redesign of some puzzles
  • A Forest Adrift: Secrets added
  • Unsafe Harbor: Boss battle fixed
  • Menu: new scene
  • Fixed: the impact when hitting guards
  • Fixed: combo interrupts on wolve’s
  • Fixed: incorrect start resolution
  • Fixed: missing characters in descriptions

Have fun!

The Woolfe Pack

Year of the Woolfe

January 13th, 2015

Happy 2015!

First off, we’d like to wish all of you the very best for the new year. May 2015 treat you well!

Woolfe_Xmas_Card-720

Speaking for the GRIN team, this year is going to be an exciting, scary and exhausting one :-) Over the past few weeks, we made some really big decisions and worked our asses off to get a new build ready for our alpha and beta backers. Let’s walk you through some news.

Red Riding Hood’s split-release

As you have probably noticed, we’ve been under the radar for a while. That is because we had some major challenges to tackle and pretty game-changing decisions to make. From the moment Woolfe began to take shape, we were determined to deliver the best story possible within the scope we had defined for the game. Along the way, we expanded our levels and iterated on our story. As a result there is much more content, which is great news! But… if we were to deliver the entire game to match our initial promises on timing, we would need to compromise on quality. And that, for us, was a no-go. After a lot of sleepless nights, we figured out a way to:

  • Deliver -as promised- in spring.
  • Keep our quality on par with your expectations.
  • Avoid having to throw out levels and content in order to maintain the desired quality while doing so.

So… We split up Woolfe into two separate, fully fledged, stand-alone yet successive volumes. Yes, it was an emotional break-up, but a necessary one. The only other option was to drastically postpone the game’s release and we really didn’t want to keep you waiting.

The first volume, Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, will come out as planned on March 17th. We’re working on a new trailer so we can announce the launch date with a splash! Volume 2: is planned for release in August 2015.

Important note: all of our backers will get BOTH VOLUMES, obviously.

As a small team with finite resources, your trust and support mean the world to us. We believe this was a decision in the game’s best interest, and in yours as well. We hope you feel the same way.

Release schedule

So, here is the updated planning for Woolfe:

  • March 17th: Steam Release (volume 1)
  • August: Steam release (volume 2)

Under construction

Yes, we have a lot of new stuff to share… First of all check this new Electro-Guard we made exclusively customizable by our Backers. This bad boy is not to be messed with… one shock and you’re done. Don’t try to take one on, unless you know what you’re doing, so get your combo’s upgraded first! More info about the Toy Soldier editor coming soon…

electro-guard

Previously unrevealed level: Floating Mountains

We’ve been keeping this level secret till now, but I can tell you, it’s our favorite one so far. (maybe still a bit too hard at this point, still cleaning up some gameplay and balancing difficulty)

floating-mountains

Attention, Alpha Soldiers…

Beloved Alpha Army, you have just received another updated Woolfe build. Alpha backers can now play a bunch of new and updated levels, from the very beginning in the city until Granny’s house in the forest. What’s new?

  • We’ve been experimenting a lot to improve the combat fun, a known issue for quite a while now. We’d love to hear what you think.
  • We have been reworking the animations throughout the game. Check out some of Red’s new and improved moves.
  • Ready for some story? In this alpha version, you can listen to Red narrate her story (and yes, this time it’s actually Red’s voice and not some in-house crappy voice actress :-) and on top of that you get to unlock a buck load of back story (look out for the blue “W”s)
  • We hope you make it to the forest and especially our floating mountains level: a personal favourite of ours, and… a pretty challenging one too.

As always, we look forward to your findings: You can use the in-game bug reporter by pressing F8 when playing.

Important note: Please DO NOT post any Alpha gameplay footage or screenshots publicly yet. Alpha updates are to be enjoyed by YOUR EYES ONLY! 

Attention, Beta Soldiers…

Hey, you, wonderful Beta Army! We promised to deliver you a first try at the game in December, remember? Well, we’re a few days late, but now you finally get to experience Woolfe-in-progress yourselves. Hurry over to your Steam account, ‘cause we have a whole lot of Woolfe fun waiting for you.

Explore every corner of Ulrica, from the slums, through the sewers, the residential area, the harbor and the Woolfe Industries Headquarters. Head to the forest for some surreal floating island-fun, get chased by wolves and beat up some freaky fairies along the road to Granny. PS: don’t forget to pick up the shiny blue “W”’s to unlock buck loads of additional story.

We hope you enjoy the ride and can’t wait for you to tell us all about it. You can use the in-game bug reporter by pressing F8 when playing.

Important note: Please DO NOT post any Alpha / Beta gameplay footage or screenshots publicly yet. Alpha / Beta updates are to be enjoyed by YOUR EYES ONLY! 

Countdown has begun, so… back to work it is. We look forward to hearing from you.

Love!

The Woolfe Pack

Bye bye, demo

November 14th, 2014

Two weeks ago, we served you a Halloween themed appetizer. A pretty exciting moment for us, and apparently for you too: the demo earned us a “very positive” rating on Steam and a lot of valuable feedback from those who played it. The pumpkin flavoured micro levels served their purpose.

However, today, we took that demo down. Not for maintenance, but permanently.

What? Why?!

Well, we don’t want to compromise the perception of the final and full game’s quality. The demo was clearly introduced as an early alpha, containing 3 micro levels and -we know- quite a few bugs. Once the full game releases, we would hate to be judged on the quality of this early phase product, for it doesn’t cover the full potential of the game. We hope you understand our choice. We loved sharing this phase in the development process with you guys, but we’re moving on now.

If you were among the lucky ones who downloaded the demo before we took it offline, we hope you enjoy it: it is now officially a collector’s item! If you were too late: maybe you have a friend with a demo? Or maybe you can make a new friend (with a demo)? Or do a quick search on Youtube to see what it was all about!

Cheers!

The Woolfe Pack

Woolfe howls for Halloween

October 31st, 2014

First of all: Happy Halloween to all of you!

We hope you’re having a wonderful scary day. And to thank you for knocking on our door (well, subscribing to our newsletter, that is), we have a very sweet and special treat for you:

The much anticipated link to our first public Woolfe demo!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/330700

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What’s this demo all about?

Basically, this is an alpha gameplay demo which consists of 3 micro levels, fragments of levels that will later be featured in Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. Please note that nothing is final (graphics nor AI, nor sound…) until the full game comes out. This demo needs to be considered as an exclusive fan-treat, a sneak preview of what’s to come. Let’s call it an appetizer. A pumpkin flavoured one.

Some of you may have had the chance to play this demo at Gamescom last summer, and our alpha/beta-backers (Kickstarter) have played it too, but other than that: you’re the first fans to give it a go!

We hope you like what you see and play, feel free to send us your feedback and by all means: spread the word, let Woolfe howl all around!

 

Can I share? Can I broadcast?

Yes, you can. Exclamation mark!

 

Cheers!

The Woolfe Pack.

Alpha update, print goodies and a Halloween surprise

October 27th, 2014

Alpha update: check!

Alpha soldiers, on your marks… A brand new alpha build will go live in the next few hours. What to expect?

  • We have updated and polished parts of the sewer level you received earlier.
  • We have added a whole new level: the city tutorial level, where you get to explore the city of Ulrica. Tooltips will guide you through this first part of the game.
  • We have integrated some voice over placeholders, to give you an idea of the story integration. Pardon, the voice acting quality: recordings of these fragments were done in-house :-)

We wish the Alpha army lots of fun playing, and please feel free to let us know what you think on the dedicated Woolfe Alpha Forum. Enjoy!

 

Print goodies: check!

Start making some room on your wall… We’re making nice progress on the print goodies.

  • 3 out of 4 posters have been designed and printed by now. Only the backer exclusive poster -which will be signed by the team- still needs to be added.
  • The stickers have arrived and we are pleased to inform you that they are very pretty and very sticky!
  • We have the final designs ready for the enlistment documents confirming your entry in the Woolfe Army.

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Now we just have to find someone to come and help us to get all this eye candy ready for sending and shipping. Any volunteers??

Trick or treat: check our Facebook page!

With all the pumpkins, dressing up, tricking and treating going on, it simply wasn’t an option for us to ignore the Halloween craze. So we had a little brainstorm with the team and we came up with a pretty neat TREAT FOR ALL OF YOU. More on that early next week (have fun guessing over the weekend :-) ! If you haven’t already, hurry over to our Facebook page and like it, ‘cause that’s where the Woolfe Halloween Announcement will be made public.

That’s all folks, have a nice weekend!

The Woolfe Team

Copyright © 2013 GRIN, All rights reserved.