Transreal Interactive bails out (again)
The latest news to shake the development community was Transreal Interactive's announcement that they were cancelling all development deals and devoting themselves completely to their struggling "New Media" division. At a news conference on Dec. 17, 1998, Nelson Hendricks, Transreal's VP of Marketing, announced to a stunned media that Transreal was leaving the interactive software publishing business. "We feel that our market position is such that right now, we have the tools we need to really break into the emerging New Media field in a big way, and we wanted to bring all our resources to bear in that direction," Hendricks told reporters. When asked if Transreal had learned any lessons from its similar 1992 exit from the games industry, which left dozens of promising products high and dry [ Even today, we get letters about our Christmas '91 preview of "Thirty Days to Jupiter", and Churchbird is still running a beta copy of "Mungo" on our Atari emulator. --Ed.], Hendricks replied testily, "The personal assistant market was still maturing when we went into it in 1992. We were ahead of our time. But Transreal Interactive is a survivor, as I think we've proven. We're ready to move ahead in new directions that I think will prove very exciting for the whole industry."
Transreal's decision has devastated the art-house game development community for a second time. "We're out of business, it's that simple," said Jason Murdoch, lead programmer at Minor Key. "Our group is still in shock over this whole thing. Transreal was the only publisher who ever believed in us. At least, that's what we thought." Murdoch's current project, "Baroque", an action/adventure set in 18th century Vienna, is 70% complete, but he doubts it will ever find a publisher. "This industry right now, they're at the point where they just want the next Lara Croft or Quake clone. Transreal was the exception, and now they're gone too." Stay tuned to future columns for continuing fallout from the Transreal decision.
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