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Nuclear Throne studio Vlambeer details future as Rami Ismail sells shares

Jan Willem Nijman now full owner.

A Nuclear Throne screenshot showing a player's chaotic laser battle against robots across icy tundra, viewed from a top-down perspective and drawn with a cute 2D pixel art style.
Image credit: Vlambeer

Four years after Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer announced it was shutting its doors, the highly regarded indie studio is back in the news, with co-founder Jan Willem Nijman now its full owner following Rami Ismail's decision to sell his shares.

Vlambeer was founded by Nijman and Ismail back in 2010, and the studio - after releasing a succession of acclaimed titles, including the likes of Super Crate Box and Luftrausers, alongside the aforementioned Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishing - celebrated its tenth by winding down. "We had a beautiful run, made incredible games, and worked with amazing people, but it is time for new things," the pair wrote at the time. "So we're announcing the end of Vlambeer... It feels like we've achieved what we set out to do - as a studio, as a voice, and as individuals, and we are extremely grateful for these past years."

And that seemed like the end of Vlambeer's impressive run. However, co-founder Jan Willem Nijman today revealed he now owns 100 percent of the studio, detailing some of his plans for its future. "After my current unannounced project is done," he explained, "I will make sure Vlambeer's long-anticipated Ultrabugs gets released." Additionally, an update for Ridiculous Fishing EX - the 3D remaster of Ridiculous Fishing, co-developed by KO_OP Mode - is also in the works, promising "a lot of cool new content and some... unconventional fish."

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Nijman says he also wants to preserve Vlambeer's classic catalogue of releases to "make sure they get the maintenance they need to stay playable far into the future", and that's alongside his intention to "keep making indie games with cool small teams like I always have!".

"A big thanks to all of Vlambeer's amazing collaborators," Nijman concluded in his announcement, "and everyone who made our games possible throughout the years!".

As for Ismail, he discussed his reasons for selling his shares on his blog. "In the almost half-a-decade since Vlambeer shut down," he explained, "it has become clear that — while we were both happy with our new freedom and our ability to work independently from each other — we were not fully happy with where things ended up. It felt like a strange limbo in which neither of us could commit the time and effort Vlambeer needed to be maintained, but both of us were dependent on each other to take any action."

"Ultimately, we've come to the conclusion that Vlambeer is better off in the hands of one of us. After discussing what that means and who should be that one, I have decided to let Jan Willem buy out my share of Vlambeer. Jan Willem's current work still closely aligns with the aesthetics of the studio, and his continued focus on small games continues to fit the brand. His ability to take decisions without having to align times and schedules with a second party will allow Vlambeer a better future. I am hopeful that this new situation gives Vlambeer a more sustainable future - even if that ends up being simply a continued hibernation."

"For me," Ismail concluded, "that is the end of one story - and the beginning of yet another. With this newly gained freedom and time, my future as a game developer lies in a few quite different projects that are spinning up that are no longer fit within the aesthetics and brand that Vlambeer has so carefully curated over the years... While I won't have news on any of my exciting games projects anytime soon, I do expect to be able to share some initiatives I'm very passionate about in the nearby future."

"Stay tuned, and for now, thanks for all your love and support for my work at Vlambeer the past decade-and-a-half."

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