After four years offline, original creator Q-Games has successfully regained rights to The Tomorrow Children from Sony in a historical first.
Do you remember The Tomorrow Children? The PlayStation 4 store sure used to have this experimental unpredictability to it. Look no further than P.T.‘s press release-silent release or, indeed, the strange social experiment game The Tomorrow Children.
I distinctly remember playing the game in its public beta phase in June 2016 (after an alpha period in 2014, no less).
It was an odd, experimental Soviet-era game. With an ‘unorthodox rendering technology called Voxel Cone Tracing and an emphasis on large scale cooperation, you played wooden dolls working together to rescue humanity by mining, as well as building and protecting towns in ‘The Void.’ It was received mixed reviews, to say the least, but it also had a dedicated following.
Unfortunately, the game accelerated through the usual life-cycle of a struggling product. Within a month it shifted from an early access package to free-to-play, but already its fate had likely been secured. Initial technical issues, resulting struggles with player retention, and the PlayStation Network simply not being built for a free-to-play game’s rate of updates, all compounded things. Within five months of its full release, the decision to shut the servers was made when those initial months didn’t see enough copies sold to balance ongoing server costs. The game was officially shuttered on 1st November 2017 after barely releasing its planned updates.
The good news? It’s having a second chance at life. Back in September, the founder and director of Q-Games, Dylan Cuthbert, indicated in an interview with IGN for its fifth anniversary that they were trying to secure the IP from Sony. A long-shot, since relinquishing control of an IP from Sony is something that had never before been achieved.
In a historical move by Sony Interactive Entertainment, The Tomorrow Children is home again! Q-Games has acquired the IP rights and will bring back #TheTomorrowChildren in the future.
— The Tomorrow Children: Phoenix Edition (@TTCGame) November 9, 2021
There’s a first time for everything. A blog post from Q-Games has announced that an agreement has been reached with Sony Interactive Entertainment for the ownership of the game, and they intend to get to work immediately on bringing it back from the dead. What this means in terms of intended platforms and a release window has yet to be confirmed, but Q-Games has promised development updates ‘every step of the way’ if you join their newsletter, follow their social media, etc.
“I’d like to thank first and foremost the fans of The Tomorrow Children, without whom, I would never have had the confidence to keep pursuing this deal,” says founder and director of Q-Games, Dylan Cuthbert.
“Our fans are some of the most amazing gamers out there, and every day for the past four years they have kept the dream alive. I think the happiest thing about this decision is imagining the enjoyment those fans will feel as they re-enter the crazy post-apocalyptic neo-soviet world of The Tomorrow Children.”
“I am now tweaking and re-working parts of the game every week, and I hope everyone follows along and gets involved in this process. We plan to make quite a few changes for the better, and give The Tomorrow Children the re-launch it deserves!”
Have we any clues on the game’s future? In both the IGN interview and another with Push Square, Dylan mentioned that in the scenario wherein he regained the IP, he might consider relaunching it without a server and its ‘free-to-play elements’. He cites Minecraft and its peer to peer approach as a potential new direction. Understandable, given the game’s reliance on a server had meant the difference between it existing or not.
“…it was the running costs of the server that brought it down, if it didn’t have that we probably just could have left it running and people could have kept playing it, right?” he said.