Following two weeks of bad news here in the UK - Barrysworld being liquidated, Gameplay shedding 275 workers, Sega sacking most of their third party division, and Codemasters losing 90 employees - it seems that the industry gloom has now spread to the continent. Last Friday Mannheim based publisher TopWare AG (the company which published games such as "Earth 2150" and "Gorky 17") announced that it had filed for insolvency.
Exact details were rather sketchy, so we contacted TopWare to find out what the truth behind the reports were. According to a statement from the company, the problems started with an advisor embezzling funds. "Although every effort has been made on the part of TopWare to recoup these losses in the course of business, recovery has proved to be impossible". The final nail in TopWare's coffin came when Deutsche Telekom subsidiary DeTeMedien won a long-running court case against the publisher, with the company facing a claim for millions of Deutschmarks of damages. Sadly the company was unable to continue, and "when it became clear that even the most intensive efforts at financial rehabilitation were to no avail, the company had no other alternative but to immediately honor its legal obligations and file for insolvency".
Although this is obviously terrible news for the many staff at TopWare who will have found themselves suddenly unemployed this week, the company's closure isn't expected to effect the overseas release of "The Moon Project", a semi-sequel to hit 3D strategy game "Earth 2150". GAME Studios (the publisher formerly known as Mattel Interactive) were due to release the game in the UK and USA in April, and although they are still unsure of the details at this stage, their UK PR agency Bastion assured us that "my understanding of the situation is that Moon Project will be unaffected by this news". We are hoping to get our hands on preview code of the English language version of the game soon, and will keep you posted on any further developments.