Robert Bowling’s Robotoki Studio Closes, Human Element On Hold
Robotoki, the studio founded by former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling, has closed. The studio was working on a title called Human Element, which was shown off for the first time at The Game Awards in December.
Bowling departed Infinity Ward in 2012 to strike out on his own. The title was originally intended to be a free-to-play offering, with support from South Korean publisher Nexon. After Robotoki opted to shift development to make Human Element a premium title, Nexon pulled out.
According to Joystiq, the game is now on hiatus, as Bowling works to find another publishing deal. We reached out to Bowling, who confirmed the studio's closure.
Update #1: In a follow-up communication, Bowling provided a statement that elaborates on the studio's situation. "This week we have ceased operations at Robotoki and the development of Human Element is on hiatus," Bowling writes. "We were actively negotiating a new publishing deal for the premium version of Human Element but unfortunately I was unable to continue to self-fund development until a deal was finalized."
Update #2: Robotoki has posted a more extensive statement on its website, complete with a reel of the studio's work over the past two years.
On April 9th, 2012 I left my highly paid, highly successful career as Creative Strategist of the Call of Duty franchise at Infinity Ward. A role I started a decade earlier after making the decision that I would settle for nothing less than doing what I loved.
My entire time there, I was in love with my job. I loved our fans, I loved our games, and I loved the team I was working alongside. Once we finished the Modern Warfare trilogy, I felt it was time to move on, to try my hand at independent game development and try to make something different.
Over the last two years, we made a lot of different.
We were actively negotiating a publishing deal for the premium version of Human Element but unfortunately I am unable to continue to self-fund the studio until that deal finalizes.
I want to thank every single person who supported us along this journey. It was an experience of a lifetime, and we learned a lifetime of experience.
I will never forget the friends we made, the experiences we created, and the lessons we learned.
The women and men who make the games you love are risking everything, and its worth it.
Support indie development, play experimental games, and continue to do what you love to do.
Our thoughts are with those who are impacted by this turn of events. Losing Nexon support when the project transitioned from free-to-play to premium was a serious blow, though this story might not yet be over. Bowling could still find another interested publisher.