Rune Factory Developer Ceases Operations, Filing For Bankruptcy

By Ishaan . November 29, 2013 . 4:35am

Rune Factory developer Neverland will be ceasing operations, the company has announced via its official website (via: Game Jouhou).

 

Neverland say that performance has been sluggish due to changes in the business environment in recent years, and that their financial status has deteriorated considerably.

 

Additionally, attempts to raise funds to continue operations have been unsuccessful, and Neverland are closing down as of today. They will begin filing proceedings for bankruptcy soon.

 

Neverland have been responsible for the development of Marvelous AQL’s Rune Factory series ever since its conception. While Rune Factory 4 is the fastest-selling title in the series yet, it appears its success wasn’t enough to turn Neverland’s fortunes around.

 

This also raises the question of what will happen to Rune Factory 5, which Marvelous previously confirmed would be coming eventually. In addition to Rune Factory, Neverland also worked on games such as Lufia and Shining Force.


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  • School Idol Addict

    I sure hope this won’t stop RF 5 from being developed and released.
    I will cry if that don’t happen :(

    • InfectedAI

      They’re ceasing operations. I think it’s safe to say it’s over. The best hope you have is a spiritual successor in the future.

      • Scrooge_McDuck

        The IP is not theirs, though.

        • InfectedAI

          That’s why I said spiritual successor. You don’t need an IP for that. Like how Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual successor to Mega Man.

          • Scrooge_McDuck

            I’m saying that because the IP is not theirs, Neverland ceasing operations doesn’t meant that it’s over.

            Marvelous AQL could easily pick another developer/team to produce it.

  • ChiffonCake

    Whoa, what?

    Damn, that really sucks.

  • Lemski07

    WTF is this! the good developers becomes bankrupt and the bad ones becomes the ones with a lot of sponsors (looking at you mobile games)… even if its a niche game the gameplay is a unique one farming + fighting…

    I should have purchased it at released maybe I could somehow altered there decision, Im getting it soon before it become hard to find and a novelty.

    • Luke

      There is always digital download if you can’t find it! Great game

    • Lumi

      Me too! I didn’t get it at release because I’ve got a huge backlog, and now I’m regretting it… Now to try and find a copy before it’s too late

      • Kamakuma

        From what I’ve seen going around through every store I went to was sold out of RF4… x.x

    • Shippoyasha

      I think it’s more to do with how easy it is to set up mobile gaming connections and sponsors than there being any kind of a drive to reward ‘bad developers’ so to speak. It’s not fair, but it’s just the reality of the market.

      That’s why when the developer of Persona 5 said the call for high def graphics was what it took to not make it for mobile, to me, that aim to make a mobile game doesn’t sound so outlandish. I would love Console/Handheld gaming at their fullest, but there’s just not enough support coming to developers in the traditional model. While phone/browser and PC gaming seems to have an easier time garnering support. I really hope stuff like kickstarter can help Japanese devs’ console/handheld efforts as well. There has to be a better way.

      • FlareKnight

        To be fair with Persona 5 I’m pretty sure they meant handheld like the Vita not mobile like…well mobile. There’s no way they could bring that level of RPG to anything lower than a handheld device like Vita/3DS.

        But agree with the rest. Just easier and cheaper to do mobile gaming. Makes me glad that I’ve supported the gaming kickstarters I have. Hopefully more Japanese devs and groups turn to that since people do have a will to support games they want to play.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          There’s no way they could bring that level of RPG to anything lower than a handheld device like Vita/3DS.

          Why do you say that? Persona, especially, is almost entirely menu-driven. Look at P3P, just as one example. That game would be a perfect fit on iPhone. By now, plenty of developers have even managed to do decent movement controls using the touch screen on phones.

          In the case of Persona, the reason it’s on consoles is because it’s a brand that’s strong enough to sell at full retail console game price.

    • serpentear

      I…I just ordered this yesterday…TT_TT

    • FlareKnight

      I didn’t have a 3DS! I was going to buy this after I did. I know that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but just sucks to see people making good games not be able to stay afloat while trash and cheap efforts easily manage to make stupid amounts of money.

      Will definitely try to pick up a copy as soon as I can. Just an unfortunate story.

    • natchu96

      At least Atlus survived . . . considering how badly they trolled everyone on the stream last week they haven’t gone completely mainstream on us yet.

  • Tatsuya Fabre

    What the hell? I wish I’d bought more of their games now…

  • Luke

    This is tragic, I love the rune factory series they are very well done! Hopefully Marvelous will pick up the developers and continue the franchise.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/NitroJava NitroJava

    I know this will sound harsh but, don’t get the illusion that your one purchase would change much in the grand scheme. There’s many factors that has caused this bankruptcy, so don’t beat yourself up over it.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      This is different though. RF 4 is actually their best selling RF here, so it is not surprising that everyone is kinda shocked here even me.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/NitroJava NitroJava

        Yeah and there are cases where you can have massive money coming in with one juncture and bleeding out money everywhere else. Honestly seeing these companies fold isn’t surprising me anymore, it’s happening more frequently as of late.

        • Rob Wu

          Considering RF has generally sold pretty well its either poor business management or the other titles were bleeding money.

        • Ziko577

          This is what happens when you rely too much on one franchise and not diversify. That’s what’s killing a lot of companies off. You can’t do that anymore and survive in this era.

    • TeddyAltman

      Also the “fastest selling rune factory” thing really exaggerates the fact that it only sold well relative to the other games. Rune Factory unfortunately has never really sold well and I guess it finally caught up to losses made by Neverland.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Omg. i, i don’t see this coming at all. I always thought Neverland is doing well due to RF series selling quite well here.

    I mean, i own almost all game they made here. At least, i own all 5 Rune Factory game.

    • Tom Toonami

      6 tho

  • http://amc9988.deviantart.com/ amc99

    WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSOSO

  • Hound

    Ah, if only there was a company that could benefit from the company as well as lift them up in the process *cough*Sega*cough*

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      All according to Sega keikaku. After all small company bankrupt, Sega will buy them over and return to console field……..T_T

    • refrain

      Hope they’ll buy it and then announce Rune Factory All star – Dancing all seasons!

      • http://kuroneko772.blog.jeuxvideo.com/ KuroNeko77

        Doesn’t MarvelousAQL hold the rights for the Rune Factory Series ?

        • dawnbomb

          yeah so it could still go on. under new makers. (oh god, its all over)

          • http://kuroneko772.blog.jeuxvideo.com/ KuroNeko77

            It just wouldn’t be the same (´・ω・`)

  • Periklis

    So , will Rune Factory 4 still get a EU release?

    • http://kuroneko772.blog.jeuxvideo.com/ KuroNeko77

      Marvelous Europe and ZEN-United are the ones in charge of the EU release, so it shouldn’t affect it.

      • MasterScrub

        Zen United? Have fun getting RF4 in 20 years.

        • http://kuroneko772.blog.jeuxvideo.com/ KuroNeko77

          Well I went ahead and bought a japanese 3DS with RF4 last year, so it’s not like I was waiting for it.

          But hey, they managed to release A New Beginning rather “quickly”.

    • Guest

      isnt it supposed to release Q1 of next year in PAL regions

  • Flandre Scarlet

    Disappointing. The Japanese game market isn’t looking very hot.

  • klkAlexar

    Too bad, they did a great job with RF4 and I was looking forward to RF5. I wonder if the guys that are in charge of HM can take over RF.

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    Aw what a shame. Goodnight Neverland, Lufia 2 remains one of my favorite games of all time.

  • http://backloggery.com/wanderingmind WanderingMind

    What a bummer. :<

  • http://www.twitter.com/weaponlordzero weaponlordzero

    I never got to play Rune Factory but the Shining Force series is one of my favorites. Sad to see this happen.

  • http://www.segalization.com/ Kuronoa

    Aww I like this developer. Besides Rune Factory and Lufia they also made Lodoss War on Dreamcast.

    Would Marvelous buying them save the team?

  • fyi1191

    THIS CAN”T BE REAL!!! It’s not the 1st of April yet.

  • persona_yuji

    Whhaaaaaaaaaa!?!?!
    One my favorite developers, bankrupt!?
    Today is a dark day in gaming history… ;_;

  • makubexnas

    Sigh, We get Persona 5 but we lost Rune Factory 5…..

    Sorry for double image post.

  • ReidHershel

    Wow, you’d think with 4 being the best in the series and selling more than 150k, this wouldn’t happen.
    http://www.siliconera.com/2012/09/28/rune-factory-4-sales-cross-150000-in-japan/

    Marvelous also said the game boosted their profits a lot:
    http://www.siliconera.com/2012/10/19/marvelous-aql-profits-soar-thanks-to-rune-factory-4-and-senran-kagura-burst/

    TT~TT Hopefully the series lives on, I would have loved to see a next gen Rune Factory.

    • JonathanisPrimus

      A work for hire developer usually doesn’t see the revenue generated by the game’s sales. They just get paid to develop the game.

      • dawnbomb

        but it has to be releated in this case. a work–for-hire dev can’t go bankrupt for not having enough income if their income is a solid pay-to-make

        • JonathanisPrimus

          I was responding to why this happened when their latest game was so successful. We don’t know the intricacies of what happened to Neverland. They may have not been able to secure projects during the downtime between Rune Factories, or perhaps they had a devastating game cancellation.

  • LM009

    what a shame, I always liked RF(except for the tides one)

  • TheExile285

    WHAT THE ****? This is twice now :(

  • PlatinumMad
  • Aristides

    My god! We should start a kickstarter just to keep them from dissolving! I mean come on they made some of the greatest RPGs EVER! It’s not fair!!!! We need them!!!!!!!!! Great JRPG makers can’t die in Japan! ;_;

  • xe7en

    This breaks my heart. I’ve been playing every iteration of rune factory. Sad to see this one go ;_;

  • IS | 桂木

    That’s incredibly disheartening… I was looking forward to RF5

  • abysswalker

    WHAT!!! nooo RF4 was my first RF experience and I loved it :(

    I guess the only good point is that the franchise belongs to Marvelous so it’s possible we get to see more RF games but it’ll never be the same…

    I’m gonna go cry now and play a little RF4 this evening :´(

  • MrTyrant

    NOoooooooooooooooooo!! this is horrible, this games were ones of my favourites datim sim x RPG In fact is one of the few that manage to come here. This can’t be happening.

  • Rogerrmark

    We’ll pretty much get more RF games,but developed by someone else.

    Marvelous is strong and going.

    The news are bad,but could be worse,a lot worse.

  • Espoir

    It’s Index all over again…

  • kylehyde

    This is a really sad day for the videogames. They really make a great ip (or spin-off). Unfortunately the videogame industry is very unpredictable. I wish the best to the staff.

    • kylehyde

      I expressed my grief and I was downvoted? I guess the internet is a very unpredictable place

      • NeoAthanasius

        I’ve noticed that sometimes using disqus on a mobile device makes it really easy to downvote accidentally. The way the options below a post crush together can lead to accidental downvotes when you try and see an entire post. I’m sure it was an accident. Your post couldn’t have upset anyone.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      I guess your downvote come from people who are reminded of CIng from your avatar there who also had died.T_T

  • AkiraScare

    WTH?!!!!! theres no reason for me to have a 3ds anymore the only reason i bought one was for RF4 and any upcoming games (TT_TT) pls find a way to make more RF

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    No No No NO! Not you too……Who’s Next?! :{{

  • AkiraScare

    1st Brian Griffin Gets killed earlier this week and now RF is bankrupt… they just keep taking all the stuff i love away(TT_TT)

    • Göran Isacson

      Wow, so they did kill Brian? Here I thought it was a publicity stunt or something… weird.

      • AkiraScare

        Nope sadly he is dead (TT_TT)

    • J_Joestar

      really? haven’t watched Family Guy in a while,

      never did like Brian though…

    • Weeb

      People still watch Family Guy?

      • AkiraScare

        lol yeah i actually didnt even watch the episode but it was everywhere that he died…. i rather use my time on videogames and anime (^_^)

  • Masa

    AHHHHHHHHHH!
    Hope RF4 still makes it too Europe.

  • PreyMantis

    That’s not a good joke Siliconera. You’re all just joking.

  • Arcana Wiz

    Oh… sorry to sad to think something to comment ;_;

    http://theunboundedspirit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/crying-eye.jpg

  • Göran Isacson

    … The guys behind Lufia are GONE-gone? That’s… something I truly didn’t see coming.

    And to think Rune Factory 4 was selling so well. One wonders if the company was mismanaged in some way, or if the sales just weren’t enough to plug other leaks the company had. A sad day, in either case.

    • Zero_Destiny

      I know, no more Lufia. >_____> *bam* Hits me right in my childhood. *sobs* Totally bummed by that.

      • Göran Isacson

        We’ll just have to remember the good times. Raising monsters, beating Sinistrals… it may not have shook the heavens, but it did touch our hearts.

        • Zero_Destiny

          lol Yeah, there will always be the memories. And maybe going back and replaying them too if I can ever get the time! xD

          I started to listen to some of the music again from the series today. Been awhile since I gave it a listen. Still quite nice.

  • :V
  • Tom_Phoenix

    While this is incredibly sad to see, everyone should keep in mind that a bankruptcy isn’t automatically doom for everyone and everything involved. A bankruptcy also wipes the financial slate clean, meaning that the developers will get the chance to start anew.

    If nothing else, I seriously doubt this will be the end of the Rune Factory series. RF4′s success means that it’s very likely that someone will be interested in picking it up.

    • Arrngrim

      Well said.

    • Ziko577

      If operations are ceasing then chances are low that they will come back. THQ didn’t but those at the helm of it were smart enough to sell the rights of the franchises under them to other companies. These guys didn’t do that. Lufia, one of my favorites, is dead and it’s sad to see it go but I won’t miss it as there’s many more RPGs out there to play.

      • Tom_Phoenix

        I meant start anew as a new company. I realise that Neverland itself is finished.

  • FlyingPony

    Nintendo, please buy Neverland so Rune Factory wont turn into a dead franchise.

    Or Sega, just don’t forget to localized the next RE after that.

    • J_Joestar

      well it is just the developer isn’t it? Who actually holds the rights to the IP?

      • dawnbomb

        Marvelous does. but now noone is making RF5. cause these guys were the developers of the entire series. the most we can hope for now is for marvelous to have another developer make it. (thats like having the next mario game be sent to a developer who makes mobile games by the way, the series is about to either die or have a huge turn, in a really bad way)

        • J_Joestar

          well it isn’t like the actual developers (the people) died or anything, they could easily be hired by another development company/group,

          And there is no guarantee that if MAQL found someone else to develop the games that they would turn out worse, they could just as easily turn out better for all we know, don’t lose all hope just yet.

  • ZEROthefirst

    My heart… it broke.

  • Natat

    Wait… what?! this is so sudden… too sudden ;___;

  • Arrngrim

    This honestly makes me very sad to read this. I’m not a Rune Factory fan, but I have a few who are and I know they love this stuff. This really sucks. Maybe there’s hope, they could get picked up similar to Atlus?

  • Somber

    Sad that Japanese game industry is declining. This is the proof. Yesterday, Lightning Returns and Mario 3D World sales proved it and this again. I hope industry will be okay again.

    • InfectedAI

      Mario 3D World is doing bad because the Wii U is doing bad because of many terrible decisions Nintendo made. The Japanese industry may be doing bad, but Wii U sales aren’t a good measure of it. Also FF XIII completely tarnished that series. LR could be the best RPG ever made and many still wouldn’t buy it. I’m sure the next FF game will do significantly better.

  • Brii-Nanas

    Man, this is terrible! Just last night I was getting excited about a kickstarter that was in the vein of these sort of games, but now one of the developers of an established series in the genre has gone under? This is saddening… I wonder what went wrong.

  • Betrayer

    Noooooooooooo.
    Not my Rune Factory.

  • TheSwordUser

    My reaction
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AaLLCltcMY#t=5m31s
    I’m hoping that this is not the end of Rune Factory series as we know it.

  • Slickyslacker

    Well, this is rather unfortunate. Given that the developers themselves have gone bankrupt, this is far from what happened to Atlus – in which the parent company simply went bankrupt. There’s much less hope of them being re-financed or having their IPs picked up by another company.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Rune Factory (the IP) belongs to Marvelous.

      • Slickyslacker

        Oh, it does? That’s right, of course. Given XSeed has been handling the localization of the games since Frontier.

        • Just Tim

          I thought since the Marvelous-AQ Interactive merger, XSEED is now Mavelous’ de facto USA office.

          As for the article itself, I hope that Marvelous AQL is savvy enough to have bought the rights for the franchise’s game engine. It’s the very least they can salvage, due to Neverland’s closure.

  • Freud_Hater

    Well, this is sudden…:/

  • http://kuroneko772.blog.jeuxvideo.com/ KuroNeko77

    Producer Hashimoto posted a message on RF4′s blog saying that he can’t tell how the next installment will turn, though the staff is still spirited:

    http://www.maql.co.jp/message/runefactory4.php?itemid=3666

    I really hope that Marvelous will help them pull something.

  • Tom Toonami

    I just typed a whole rant up of me confusing Neverland with Idea Factory
    Anyway I blame The lack of character requests in 4, that kinda killed the game and didnt allow it to be better than 3

  • http://yaminoseigi.blogspot.com/ Yami no Seigi

    This is really sad sight to see, a good small JRPG developer for decades finally goes down. I will always remember the Lufia series that neverland created especially the GBC one

  • Will Jay

    I’m hoping Marvelous just buys them up, even if it’s just for Rune Factory.

    Plus even if they’re gone Marvelous will still make it, they own all the rights, it just could easily end up shit.

  • PersonaBull

    My day is ruined ): I can only hope Rune Factory gets picked up somewhere once all the legal junk is out of the way and the bulk of the staff involved can get back to RF5. This is really disappointing. Funny story is I accidentally preordered RF4 at Amazon and Gamestop, and then when I was visiting a friend in another state I ordered a copy for her fiancee as well. That’s three copies of RF4 from me! I love this series so much, it would be really sad to see it lost in legal/layoffs. Nothing worse than a great series people want getting hidden by paperwork.

  • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

    Rune Factory, Lufia, and the other Tactics games were their best they could do, but I guess it wasn’t enough to get them to last long. A sad day for all.

  • Zonder88

    Lufia 2 was amazing on the SNES. Cant believe its developer is gone. :

  • laurenhiya21

    Nooooo ;-; The Rune Factory games are my favourite ;-;

  • SBKJAZZ

    What a shame. Frontier was the BEST Harvest Moon-like game, beating out even the old favorite Harvest Moon 64 as the most definitive experience IMO. I guess I should pick up 3, 4, and Oceans before they become extremely rare…

  • meiam

    Should have kept making console lufia instead of switching them over to portable.

  • personablaze

    Damn, I really loved the RF series :(

  • Lutfi Ardiansyah

    please just don’t let Rune Factory dies, how about sega? you can make shining force again with atlus now is gonna be epic

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    That’s too bad, I really liked Rune Factory 4.

  • http://vindictushots.tumblr.com/ Okuni-chan

    Oh no!! I was so looking forward to what they will do next with the series. I really, really, hope this doesn’t mean the end to Rune Factory. It’s my top favorite series *tears up*

  • Taylor Greene

    Really sad to hear this. Been a big fan of RF since 2 and have since played every entry in the series. Going to miss the work these guys did.

  • EmptyWarrior

    Very sad day. I hope all that talent can quickly find new work.

    Even if Marvelous finds another developer for Rune Factory it just isn’t gonna be the same without Neverland.

  • Savage Sui ♥

    This is terribly sad news… Rune Factory is one of my all-time favorite series. It’d be so awful if it died off completely… ;w; *goes to cry in Corner of Woe*

  • PoweredByHentai

    WTF.

    Rune Factory is a series that I really enjoyed.

  • Brandon Hunt

    Sad face, just put down my copy of RF4 and I see this :(.

  • Death Saved

    So marvelous was eating the lions share while neverland had to live on crumps wtf!?

  • https://twitter.com/Panda_castro Panda

    Sad to hear.

  • Zimmer Remmiz

    I’m going to go cry a lot now…

  • mockturtle

    Well, this is a great way to kick off the Christmas season. Brb buying all their games.

  • Crimson_Cloud

    One upon a time, my only fear was to have enough money to buy a game. Then it shifted to if the game will be localized and now it’s fear if my favorite company will go away. Shitty times indeed. -_-’

  • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

    Very sad news. I’ve never played a Rune Factory game I didn’t enjoy.

  • Max

    Here’s hoping the developers start from scratch and make RF5.

  • Warboss Aohd

    and here we have an interesting opportunity.

    who shall buy the rights to Rune Factory and Lufia?

  • lozffvii

    There is but one word:

    http://nooooooooooooooo.com/

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    I’ve never played a Rune Factory game in my life but was always aware that they existed, and this news makes me sad.

  • Hinataharem

    This is a factory I did not want to shut down

  • http://shadious.tumblr.com/ Vince

    Seems to me that the business environment in video gaming industry can be quite merciless if it is moving in a rapid pace. I guess this is a challenge that video game companies have to bear or try to meet up with.

    • Derek E Nay

      It’s extremely hard being a medium size company now a days. You either need to be a behemoth (Blizzard) or a Small team in order to get profits.

  • Kornelious

    Wow…This sucks on astronomical levels :’(

  • Kai2591

    I…never even got to try their games…omg…such a loss…
    I pray their beloved developers can continue making great games elsewhere somehow…

    they have some fastest-selling games, yet they become bankrupt…such a weird contradiction…business these days are so scary.

  • KaiYamato

    Um, well crap.

  • Saga Meow Meow

    segmentnext.com has contacted the European branch about RF4 release in Europe and they said it may be at risk and never come out after this….

    I bought a 3DS just for this game……

    Seriously fuck this shit….

  • http://queensblade.net/index.php/characters/cattleya gulabjamuns

    No! Nooooooo!!! Lufia 2 is actually my most favorite game of all time, with Lufia being my favorite series! Sure, I never got around to playing the Rune Factory games (my only interest in them was from learning that they were developed by N-land), or the Shining Force games, and I didn’t like how their Lufia 2 remake on DS turned out enough to get around to bothering to play it… (that was just… not a good direction for them to go in at all, imo, I wish they had made it an all new Lufia instead). But Lufia and Lufia 2 has influenced me more than any other game I’ve played, and Lufia 3 and Ruins of Lore were totally underrated hidden gems of their own. Not to mention the massive potential of another game of theirs on GBA called Cima. It never surprised me to learn that they had a hand in some of the most popular and critically acclaimed games in the Harvest Moon series, they were small but always remained one of the most passionate and powerful little developers out there. They were a lot like the old Falcom to me (if only they had gained the same kind of success). I actually used to dream of one day working for Neverland, more than with any other developer including Nintendo.

    I feel like I’ve just given an eulogy… This is most likely the darkest moment in the gaming part of my life…. ;_; if anything has finally driven home that the generation of gaming that I was part of has finally ended, it’s this…

    I only wonder what has happened to Lufia’s director, Masahide Miyata, and it’s composer Yasunori Shino. I hope they still get work in this industry… as unknown as those names are even to other Lufia fans let alone gamers in general, those two are legends to me and I have always wished them bigger success…

  • Zind Keeper

    Farewell Lufia…

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