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Nerd Kingdom lays off half its team

Team behind TUG sees delay in funding, forced to downsize and push back Kickstarter backer rewards

Being an indie developer can be brutal sometimes. In a letter to its community on its Kickstarter page, labeled "The Cost of staying independent," developer Nerd Kingdom, which is working on a sandbox-style game called TUG, has announced an unfortunate round of layoffs that will cut its team size in half.

"A round of funding, that was to come in, to sustain us clear through the end of this year (January) was held back by an investor. The deal that would have gone through would have lost us all control and ownership and we are not huge fans of being owned by investors like this. Sadly, we need to cut off a few limbs to be able to ensure this does not happen," the developer wrote.

"With this, we are now on a path to growth to fully support a small team with no outside investor support. And this means we have to cut our team in half... its the hardest thing we have ever had to do, but it's what we all collectively have agreed is the best move for us, and you, our community. We certainly have had people come and go from this project for many reasons, but this core group is all family... and its heartbreaking."

As a result of the delay in funding and subsequent layoffs, Nerd Kingdom also apologized for the fact that it won't be able to deliver its Kickstarter backer rewards on time in January. While the developer is facing a difficult time, the good news is that it also may receive help from an unnamed publisher in the near future.

"There are a few large publishers (not scary ones), that may want to give us access to more resources. This would allow us to make the game and tech bigger and better than we could have imagined before. We cannot discuss who they are just yet, but ironically in this situation, it really would mean a chance at ACTUAL freedom and independence," the team explained. "And before we do accept whatever offer from any of them, we will reach out to you, our community, to share what is going on and get some feedback to create dialog around this topic. It could end up that what is put on the table simply is not in our, or your best interests. But we want to make this project everything it can be, so its worth reviewing everything we can."

Nerd Kingdom is comtinuing where Yogventures developer Winterkewl left off before its demise in July. Nerd Kingdom was given the assets and source code for Yogventures. Physical backer rewards were already delivered, but Nerd Kingdom is still looking to make good on in-game item rewards that were originally promised.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.