I got the news yesterday that Freeverse, the fabulous iOS development company that I had the privilege of interning at last summer, and then freelance writing for throughout the past months, was all but closed down by parent company ngMoco. A lot of really great people were suddenly left without jobs. And while I’m not too worried about them—any employer would be lucky to get programmers, designers, and artists like these people—a sudden layoff from the corporate Powers That Be is a tough blow for anyone. Almost as hard was the news that Freeverse’s most recent game, DragonCraft, which had been near the top of the Android charts for a few short weeks, would soon be pulled from the markets. So that’s a farewell to Vivian, Hereward, Congreve, Alessandra and all the other characters and dragons and crafts we worked on.
Well at least Freeverse is getting a swansong in the media, guys! Lots of news outlets, including Gamasutra, are covering the layoffs. I’ll just say this: Working at Freeverse was the best experience in my admittedly young professional life. I mean, there was an espresso machine in the office! And a talking portrait of Cave Johnson on the wall that exhorted Freeversers to pursue science above all else. It was pretty cool. At Freeverse I never felt like “a chick” at a videogame company. I was one of the geeks, and it was awesome.
I really hope you guys publish your DragonCraft postmortem online somewhere, or write a reflection about your experience with big gaming companies or free-to-play games or the overabundance of dragons or whatever. And I look forward to seeing what new projects the Freeverse people will go on to, from Ian and Colin Smith, the fellow Vassar alumns who gave me the internship, to Matt and his @horse_ebooks game to Pat Dorian’s Doom & Gloom webcomic.
Thanks, Freeverse. Live Long and Prosper.