OMG: Our Manic Game for Windows Phone 7

OMG: Our Manic Game didn’t exactly set the gaming world on fire, but it did hold the distinction of being the only shoot-em-up available when Windows Phone 7 launched back in 2010. Its best feature is its neon-colored vector art, a style later seen in games like geoDefense and BulletAsylum. OMG has two major strikes against it though. One is a control bug that prevents the player’s ship from staying at the bottom of the screen. Worst of all, it’s not compatible with Windows Phone 8.

Unfortunately, it looks like neither of those problems will ever be fixed. Arkedo Studio, the French studio behind Our Manic Game, has ceased game development. Read on to learn what the future has in store for both the developer and their Xbox Windows Phone game.

The story so far

Nervous Brickdown and Big Bang Mini for Nintendo DS
Left: Nervous Brickdown. Right: Big Bang Mini

Arkedo was formed seven years ago in Paris, France by Camille Guermonprez and Aurélien Régard. The studio’s first games - Nervous Brickdown and Big Bang Mini appeared on the Nintendo DS. They then went on to publish three smaller titles for Xbox Live Indie Games on Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation Network. In 2010, their first non-indie Xbox Live game OMG debuted on Windows Phone. Check out our review, written by none other than Daniel Rubino.

As a tiny studio, Arkedo always kept the scope if their games fairly small. That changed with Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, their first Xbox Live Arcade game. Originally conceived as an I Dig It clone, the developers presented a prototype at an event called Game Connection, where SEGA saw it and became the publisher. The design shifted from a focus on drilling to Metroiodvania-like exploration, and protagonist Ash traded in his drill for a buzzsaw.

18 months of Hell

Creating Hell Yeah! was hard on Arkedo. They had never made a game of such complexity and had trouble delegating tasks and outsourcing work when necessary. Development was always running late, and as a result some elements of the game like the Island mode didn’t get properly fleshed out. I always thought the Island always stuck out as a weak link, but I still gave Heal Yeah! a positive review. If you like explorative platformers, it’s worth a buy. Shame the iOS version (which was outsourced) never came to Windows Phone.

Closing in spirit if not name

Hell Yeah! XBLA
Hell Yeah! for XBLA

Sadly, the studio leaders didn’t enjoy the experience of making Hell Yeah! As such, they would like to create smaller games again. But the studio had already expanded and become unsuitable for that type of project. Money also became an issue, as without another big project lined up, Arkedo wouldn’t be able to pay everybody. Both Camille and Aurélien have wanted to make their own solo games for a while, so the lack of funds and disillusionment with a larger structure has inspired them to step away from Arkedo and chase after their dreams.

Arkedo isn’t technically closing down; they’ve just released all of their employees, apparently giving them generous severance packages. Because the company still technically exists, Our Manic Game won’t likely be delisted from the Windows Phone Store. However, it also won’t be updated for Windows Phone 8. I did predict that many of the incompatible Xbox games would remain Windows Phone 7 exclusive…

It’s always sad when a developer shuts down. Since Arkedo remains technically open, maybe they’ll find funding and return to making games someday. Let’s hope someone else steps in to give Windows Phone 8 gamers the shoot-em-up they crave sooner rather than later.

Source: Aurélien Régard’s Blog via IGN