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July 14th, 2021, 21:24
Here's the current status of Realms Beyond and the (possible) future:

Realms Beyond Status & Future

RB (Realms Beyond) is not currently being worked on because the business manager / level designer who owns 50% of the company & was supposed to be finding the game a publisher basically abandoned the project in late 2020. This year he has been unresponsive when Hobgoblin42 the programmer (other 50% owner) contacts him with anything pertaining to the company. Unfortunately as 50% owner they require his approval to sign with a publisher or make any business decisions (he could legally shut down any attempts to sell anything related to RB).

Ceres is expected to go bankrupt very soon. Why? Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.
Then assets & IP of the game will be auctioned off to pay down company debts. The programmer personally owns the RB game engine so he will retain that no matter what.

After bankruptcy, the programmer and the lead writer plan to form a new company and attempt to buy the assets back with personal funds. If all goes well, the programmer and writer will resume work on the project with the new plan of first making smaller adventure modules that can be made in a relatively short time period with a small budget. These would be standalone stories (similar to some of the premium Neverwinter Nights modules). They will give the small module/s to RB backers and sell to anyone else interested. If it sells well, then they will probably make some more small modules, with the eventual goal of resuming work on the larger "Ashes of the Fallen" game as originally pitched.

If they are not able to get back the RB assets & IP from the auction, then they still hope to create a new game project with the RB engine. It would likely still be similar in many ways (turn-based party cRPG with 3.5e rules). But obviously this would be a major setback as they'd have to commission or acquire new art, music, etc. and start from scratch with the lore & world-building.

So is the game cancelled? Vaporware? Call it what you'd like. For now, I'd call it development limbo or Hell. We'll hopefully get more definite news later this year.

As the lead writer said on the RB Discord channel

wrote: Tharagavverug

It's not "cancelled". Nobody sat down and made the decision to stop development on the game. One owner is unresponsive and his actions interfere with the company's work, but Hob and me are still willing to keep working on the game and finish up something releasable, even if it's just a smaller module for the start. Were it not for the other owner, we would resume development part-time right away.
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July 14th, 2021, 21:42
Their forums don't let reader "spoiler" text unless you're logged in so in case anyone is wondering about the explanation for bankruptcy:

The company received a portion of a government grant in 2019. But they are expected to show progress and release a finished product. Since they cannot, Ceres is required to pay back what they've received… since some of the grant money has been spent on development, the company will soon be forced to declare bankruptcy.
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July 14th, 2021, 22:30
I was already aware but still, pretty sad to hear. Seemed like an interesting game
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July 14th, 2021, 22:35
This is complete crap.

I am a backer and was looking forward to this…in otherwords our money is gone and it's never going to be released.
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July 14th, 2021, 22:44
Old news but thanks for adding the discord part daveyd. At this point their reputation is ruined on Steam already, and they will have an uphill battle getting trust back.
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July 14th, 2021, 23:03
Pity, I liked the game
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July 14th, 2021, 23:18
This is really bad. Didn't they have any RL contact possibilities to the non-responding 50% owner ?
I wonder why he doesn't respond anymore ? There are so many possibilities … accident ? illness ? I wonder …
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July 14th, 2021, 23:24
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This is really bad. Didn't they have any RL contact possibilities to the non-responding 50% owner ?
I wonder why he doesn't respond anymore ? There are so many possibilities … accident ? illness ? I wonder …
Ran with the money?
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July 14th, 2021, 23:25
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This is really bad. Didn't they have any RL contact possibilities to the non-responding 50% owner ?
I wonder why he doesn't respond anymore ? There are so many possibilities € accident ? illness ? I wonder €
To be clear it's not as if he disappeared off the face of the Earth. He has responded to the programmer earlier this year, but only confirm that he is not dead. He has ignored any questions specific to the game or company including simple requests like changing a company address. Also, never responded to their smaller module idea. Apparently he has a new IT job and couldn't care less about the game anymore.

Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Ran with the money?
Doubtful, as there wouldn't be much money left to run away with. All the Kickstarter money has been spent on development: the map, level & quest design, music, etc. They had a small core team that briefly took salaries, but other writers / designers were paid on a temp contract / intern basis.

Ceres only received about half of the government grant money, some of which was also spent on the above. Since they can't release the game, they don't get the rest of the grant money and have to pay back what they took.

The whole reason this guy was co-owner of the company is he invested a significant chunk of his own money to pay for the art assets after bitComposer went bankrupt (if you recall Realms Beyond is the resurrection of the cancelled "Chaos Chronicles" project). So his behavior doesn't really seem rational as by abandoning the project he's forfeiting all of the money he invested in it. But apparently he's got a new job and is financially comfortable enough that he just doesn't care about the game / company anymore.
Last edited by daveyd; July 14th, 2021 at 23:42.
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July 14th, 2021, 23:49
I suppose we must consider the possibility that this guy has a reason for his behaviour. Perhaps he decided he wanted nothing more to do with this clusterfuck and these people, and wants to move on with his life.
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July 14th, 2021, 23:54
Possibly the most frustrating news is that Hobgoblin42 said they had offers from publishers which would have given them enough funds to get the game to Early Access. He was willing to accept a publisher's offer last year but apparently Sheihadul (the co-owner) didn't think it was good enough and pulled out of the deal at the last minute.

Now, since he's abandoned the project, any other publisher offers on the table also cannot be pursued.

Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I suppose we must consider the possibility that this guy has a reason for his behaviour. Perhaps he decided he wanted nothing more to do with this clusterfuck and these people, and wants to move on with his life.
Anything is possible, but since it appears he's not communicating with anyone, we're left to speculate. His last public activity on the Discord was in May of last year when he was discussing the combat beta with me. And he did an interview with Gamestar, a German gaming site last Summer.

For now, I'm inclined to believe the writer and programmer's side of the story considering they at least still communicate with backers on their Discord.
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July 14th, 2021, 23:56
I'm guessing we've only heard Hobgoblin's side of the story, though?

EDIT: Seems you added a bit to your post before I posted.
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Last edited by Ripper; July 15th, 2021 at 00:11.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:28
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I'm guessing we've only heard Hobgoblin's side of the story, though?

EDIT: Seems you added a bit to your post before I posted.
Yeah. It seems to check out though. IIRC there was a backer on the Discord who found Sheihadul's linked in page and sent him a message. Several of us also sent a message to the official Ceres business email he's supposed to be in charge of. No response to either.

Whether or not he had some sort of beef with HobGoblin I cannot say. (Hob said they had been co-workers at Coreplay and always got along well enough). But the thing is, by abandoning the project, he's not just screwing over his Ceres teammates, but also the 2,000+ backers.

The writer has said that he and Hobgoblin emailed Sheihadul about the small module idea earlier this year. They offered to work on it without any help from him. All he had to do was give it the greenlight. And apparently he did not respond.
Last edited by daveyd; July 15th, 2021 at 01:18.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:32
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
Whether or not he had some sort of beef with HobGoblin I cannot say. (Hob said they had been co-workers at Coreplay and always got along well enough). But the thing is, by abandoning the project, he's not just screwing over his Ceres teammates, but also the 2,000+ backers.
Not necessarily a beef, as such, but maybe a whole different take on events, which might explain the otherwise irrational behaviour. Perhaps he thought the backers had been well and truly screwed over at the point he left.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:40
So I get screen names and such, but these guys were running a business why don't we know their real names? Legally you would think this would be a requirement.

At least with real names you can reach out to contact them even if they want to run from what they did.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:42
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
So I get screen names and such, but these guys were running a business why don't we know their real names? Legally you would think this would be a requirement.

At least with real names you can reach out to contact them even if they want to run from what they did.
If it's the same as over here, you can definitely look up the shareholders and directors of a registered company. If it's a German GmbH company, I'd guess it's the same.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:44
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
If it's the same as over here, you can definitely look up the shareholders and directors of a registered company. If it's a German GmbH company, I'd guess it's the same.
It just sucks that they can just walk away and not have any legal responsibility.

Think about if a business just walked off with it's assets from shareholders.

This is real money not play time, if they start a new business I would expect some lawsuits.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:48
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
It just sucks that they can just walk away and not have any legal responsibility.

Think about if a business just walked off with it's assets from shareholders.

This is real money not play time, if they start a new business I would expect some lawsuits.
If it's similar to here, then if you have a limited liability company, you are not personally responsible for the debts of a company. But, and it's a big but, that protection only holds if you have behaved properly and responsibly as a director. If you have blatantly taken money and run, you can be held personally accountable. But if it looks like they've spend the funds in good faith, though incompetently, they'd be legally safe.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:49
I wish bitComposer didn't go bankrupt and cancel Chaos Chronicles. I quite enjoyed their take on the Jagged Alliance games. This ip is basically cursed to not succeed.
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July 15th, 2021, 00:58
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
So I get screen names and such, but these guys were running a business why don't we know their real names? Legally you would think this would be a requirement.

At least with real names you can reach out to contact them even if they want to run from what they did.
The two owners names aren't a big secret. They're right on the Kickstarter page. I am hesitant to post real names because I don't want to encourage people being doxxed or harassed, but I suppose it doesn't matter as it's really not hard to find out. Hobgoblin is Peter and Timothy is Sheihadul the "managing director" who abandoned ship.

As I mentioned, Sheihadul has not responded to any recent inquiries, either from Ceres teammates or backers.
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