Yesterday (February 5), the internal disbandment letter of 91Act (Chengdu Fighting Technology), the developer of “Blank Wings: Chaos Effect”, was circulated. In the letter, 91Act founder Jiang Lei explained the company’s current difficult situation.
On the one hand, the team partners did not sign a formal agreement and pay the development fee as agreed, causing the future of the project being developed by the team to be full of uncertainty;
On the other hand, after the official version of “Blank Wings: Chaos Effect” was released, sales revenue was lower than expected. The team’s cash flow was difficult to maintain the company’s operations, and it was impossible to maintain the team’s normal operations in the form of layoffs. Therefore, the team plans to dismiss all personnel except the founder before the Spring Festival.
The severance plan is: ① Full settlement and payment of wages from January to February 5th; ② Payment of N times monthly salary as severance compensation (no waiting notice payment); ③ Partial payment of overtime pay (prorated based on remaining cash).
After completing the layoff of employees, 91Act founder Jiang Lei plans to continue operating through a small amount of income from published games, and strives to recall some employees to carry out the development and transplantation of the mobile game version and console version of “Blank Wings: Chaos Effect”. If the partner subsequently pays the development costs, Xinyou will also recall team members to continue research and development.
After the disbandment letter of all 91Act members was spread on the media platform, the official account of the game “Blank: Chaos Effect” also responded.
He said, “Until last night (February 4), we were still making and launching updated patches, and were still studying everyone’s feedback, hoping to improve this game even better. Along the way from EA, in Under the witness of players, we have advanced this game to the official version. All members of the production team of “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” fought until the last moment. As a member of the production team, I will also stand by the last guard. Serving everyone until the end.”
Public information shows that 91Act (Chengdu Fighting Technology) was established on January 14, 2014 with a registered capital of 1.76 million yuan; in the past 10 years, it has received investment from Tencent, Sanqi, Zilong, Dongjing and other companies. At present, Tencent and Zilong are still its shareholders.
Founder Jiang Lei has been working in the game industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for Shanda and Tencent and participated in the development of many games such as “Kung Fu Kid” and “Life and Death Fighting OL”. In 2014, Jiang Lei founded 91Act. The team has launched many games such as “Blade of BlazBlue”, “Dengeki Bunko: Zero Realm Crossover”, and “Bangladesh: Chaos Effect”. Among them, the two-dimensional game “Dengeki Bunko: Zero Realm Crossing” was launched in 2018, with sales exceeding 100 million in the first month.
The new game “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” was exposed in 2022. In early 2023, the game launched a round of testing with 20,000 people and was well received. In August of the same year, when Mr. Gyro communicated with 91Act founder Jiang Lei, he revealed that “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” has been changed from the mobile version to a buyout system on Steam first.
Then “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” was launched in the EA version. After the launch, the game initially received 83% special praise. With the content update, the game’s praise rate rose all the way to 90%. Before the official version was launched, the game’s evaluation in the past 30 days was 95% with rave reviews.
On January 31, 2024, “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” officially ended the EA stage and turned into the official version. At that time, Mr. Gyro also gave a detailed explanation of the content of the official version update, such as the first 10 characters, plot content and system adjustments.
Now only 5 days have passed, the official has no choice but to announce the disbandment.
In the official disbandment announcement, many players expressed regret and encouragement for this. Some players left a message saying that “Blue Wings: Chaos Effect” is not a domestic classic that EA has run away from, but it has proudly survived to the official version and launched a large number of hot patches to make the experience normal. “The production team is definitely not a production team that runs away and doesn’t care about their own work.”
Some players expressed pity for this and said, “This game is not hopeless, but it was cut in half when everything was going in a good direction.” Some players also suggested that the official start a “crowdfunding”.
From the information disclosed by the production team and the messages from players, it is not difficult to see that all parties have regrets about the team’s experience.
Similar cases have been common in the past year. In January 2024, Yuhagi Information, the developer of the two-dimensional action mobile game “Glimpse of Conflict”, announced the dissolution of the project team.
At that time, Xu Kan, the founder of Yuhai Information, stated in an internal letter to the team that the company announced its dissolution due to a broken capital chain. “Investors have made judgments and decisions based on the cold environment of the game industry, the product market performance of Mihagi’s projects, and the cost-effectiveness of the projects, and decided to stop supporting the team.”
At the end of 2023, ByteDance also adjusted its organizational structure and abandoned its game research and development business. It not only abolished ongoing projects and dismissed the game team, but also sought to sell online game projects.
In the same year, Youmengchuxin, the developer of the otome mobile game “Legend of Civet”, announced that the game would be suspended and disbanded. In addition, in the past year, there have been many cases such as the cancellation of ongoing projects in the industry, the dissolution of teams, and the cancellation of companies.
At present, the gaming industry has passed the stage of hot money flowing across the industry, and the investment environment has become colder. Among the industry investment and financing in the past five years, 2023 is the coldest year for game investment. In the new year, under the “cost reduction and efficiency improvement” strategies of major manufacturers, there is probably limited room for recovery. Therefore, under this circumstance, it is not easy for small and medium-sized game manufacturers to “survive”. At this time, starting a business not only needs to avoid competing with the full-fledged giants, but also has the creativity and implementation ability to attract investors, and strictly controls the progress and cost of the project. It is no exaggeration to say that at this time, the game market no longer allows entrepreneurial teams to make mistakes, nor does it allow progress to be too slow.