Vlambeer: beyond the cloning debacle — Ridiculous Fishing coming soon

After having been a source of constant worry for two years, Ridiculous Fishing has become a source for joy for two-man formation Vlambeer. The tormented duo seems to have finally overcome the trauma and is looking forward to the coming release of the iOS game.

Anyone entering Vlambeer’s little office these days will encounter a happy and clearly inspired Jan Willem Nijman. Ridiculous Fishing is nearing completion and the 22-year old designer is eager to discuss the games progress.

“There’s so much new stuff in there, the game is so much more substantial. You can keep playing for hours. You unlock new areas by catching new species of fish, and some of those fish only come out at night. No, really. You’ll have to play at night to catch them.”

“Billy, the protagonist, is crazy. He has a wooden phone on which he receives messages via a social network that exists in the game. If you put the game away for a while, Byrdr fills up with new messages for when you come back.” The game – that Vlambeer is developing in cooperation with IGF-nominees Greg Wohlwend and Zach Gage – is a blast to play. Nijman has taken the already over-the-top game design an extra step towards the extreme. Fish are disposed of with double Uzi’s, mortars and explosions.
Nijman: “Since the whole cloning debacle I haven’t been positive about the game, but now I can tell: this is going to be fucking cool.”

It’s a radically different tone than the duo used to discuss the game in the past two years. In July 2010 Nijman and Vlambeer-partner Rami Ismail encountered the ‘dark side’ of the game-industry when publisher Gamenauts scored a massive iOS hit with a game that was a brutal rip-off of Vlambeers debut game, Radical Fishing.

For the duo, the devastation that followed was caused by not by the revenue that Gamenauts had made through questionable morals, but by the broken motivation and bludgeoned inspiration. The effects of the episode would last longer than the duo seemed to realize.

Vlambeers iOS version of Radical Fishing, the upcoming Ridiculous Fishing, was shelved after the clone. Ismail: “Nobody really felt like working on it. Every attempt at continuing work on the game was a confrontation with that distant nagging feeling – and the chance that ironically, Ridiculous Fishing will be labeled a clone on release.”
As a way to deal with their trauma, the young duo (both are in their early 20’s) made a tour around the worlds gaming conferences to encourage press and audiences to distinguish clones from original games.

Whatever they did to get their motivation back up, it seems to have worked. The fun in making games has visibly returned to the team and even the release of LUFTRAUSERS, another imminent Vlambeer-release, had to make way for Ridiculous Fishing’s sudden revival.

Ismail: “We hope to release the game on the App Store by the end of March. That’ll wrap up a period of almost two and a half years – a period sparked by optimism, and a run that was needlessly cut short with the biggest blow to our motivation we’ve ever had. All of us managed to overcome all that in the end. Now, everything is coming together perfectly. I couldn’t be happier.”

Matthijs Dierckx
Matthijs Dierckx
Dierckx is Composer and Marketing Lead on roguelite cult hit Unexplored and two undisclosed projects. He is co-creator of Android puzzle hit Sumico, the numbers game. Dierckx is the former Publisher and Founder of Control Magazine, Control Conference and Control500.com and writes about games on an irregular basis.

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