I`m worried about the future

Hello everyone, I don`t want to continue this discussion

However I`m still very confused about what to think of the whole situation…

I love stonehearth and Radiant is one of the most honest and friendly game studio I know so I was very worried when I saw the news about Radiant being acquired by Riot/Tencent… I didnt knew what to think... I dont know if this is a good thing or bad thing and even great posts like @spacefiddle posts or @sdee posts
couldn`t help me kill this doubt either…

Then I saw something one of my favorite internet writers, Jim Sterling, wrote at his blog today and I quote:

It’s weird to see Legends suddenly canceled after so much promotion, but it just goes to show how your head’s always on the chopping block once you throw in with corporate buyers.

It should go without saying that you ought never sell your studio to a “AAA” publisher if you have any hope of said studio surviving long-term. Unless you only care about money, or selling it would prevent a closure anyway, you should view any sale as your studio’s death warrant.

If you have actual pride in the thing you built, and you want it to have a lasting legacy, simply don’t sell. We’ve seen it too many times by now – a great indie studio is bought, turned into a processor more than a creator, and is quietly shuttered with a whimper. Chances are good your studio won’t be one of the few exceptions.

(Sterling, JIM. the jimquisition. 03/11/2016. source.)

I wish with all my heart that Radiant will become one of the few exceptions, but I`m worried about the future…


I agree that this is a discussion we do not want to restart here. Going to add a few notes here, and likely close up the discussion shortly afterwards.

The news article you shared brought up concern about indie game studios bought and then shut down by large companies that only look at their bottom line. Does this happen - absolutely. This isn’t something unique to the game development industry, it happens in almost every type of business out there. When a small company has devoted customers, and the company is bought and shut down, you hear about it. It makes the news. What you have to remember is that there are just as many small companies that are bought, or that merge, keep doing what they were doing for many, many years. Lionhead was bought by Microsoft 10 years ago. They kept producing games for 10 years. Is it sad that they have been shut down - no question. But can we say that they would still be producing games if they were still self-owned - no, we cannot.

We can be nervous about the future. Honestly, I would be concerned if people weren’t concerned. But…and this might sound a bit extreme…honestly anything can happen. Say Stonehearth wasn’t bought - tomorrow Blizzard could decide that Stonehearth sounds too similar to Hearthstone, sue them for millions, and destroy the company with legal fees. Tom, Tony and team could decide tomorrow, regardless of who their owner is (themselves or Riot), that they are done with Stonehearth and end development. A giant earthquake could take place off the coast and Los Altos could be destroyed by a tsunami!

In any case, trying to imagine all the possible scenarios is impossible, and doesn’t help do anything to prevent them. Stonehearth will be in development until it isn’t. That could be tomorrow…that could be when it is complete years from now. No one knows.


Tom, Tony and team could decide tomorrow, regardless of who their owner is (themselves or Riot), that they are done with Stonehearth and end development.

They could, but there would be a clamour for restitution based on the KickStarter terms. This is why I am particularly nervous over the takeover. Have the limited protections provided by KickStarter been removed at a stoke? I don’t know and those who do can’t say it seems.

Still, hoping for the best, but keeping an eye on the worst.

I noticed this on here yesterday, being a really dedicated (well kinda) player with over 600 hours play time this scared me a lot. From a business point it would be incredibly stupid to buy a game studio, then just stop the development of the game, there would be a upset community, money wasted and the company would have a bad reputation. Microsoft recently brought minecraft, The community thought they’d destroy minecraft, but honestly Microsoft hasn’t changed much. It does scare me much like it seems to be everyone, But honestly we have no way of telling, We just gotta keep the community strong, keep the vision of this epic game in mind and it’ll all be good :slight_smile:

I for one, Am going to just be positive about this situation, Whats done is done, They may have seen Stonehearth as a huge hit, And want it to strive and give it full stability.Who knows whats going to happen in the future, But I trust Team Radiant know what they’re doing. I hope it all goes well :slight_smile:


From the Kickstarter FAQ:

Who is responsible for completing a project as promised?

It’s the project creator’s responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

(emphasis mine)

There is very little recourse through Kickstarter, as the terms and conditions put the requirement on the project creator to issue refunds. Kickstarter doesn’t hold the money. That being said, Riot bought the entirety of Radiant Entertainment. If my understanding of business law is correct (and I am not a lawyer, so take it for what it is worth), they bought everything - which would include the Kickstarter project and thus all the terms and conditions that go with it.


I don’t think going into the nitty gritty of things is of any benefit to the simple fact that Stonehearth in ran by a company - and the business landscape is always changing, we can worry about it until we’re blue in the face and pulled our hair out - but all we can do is wait, nothing so far has lead to any one thinking TR are not going to do what they started off to do - and whilst the conversation to the community of merging / being took over was not had, it doesn’t take from the fact they must have felt it was beneficial to their long term goal - so have patience ye lacking in faith, let time be the judge, not speculations.


If it makes you feel any better, a lot of the most successful kickstarter projects have also gotten corporate backing. If this results in an infusion of cash and a quicker and more in depth development cycle, it could end up a big win for us all.

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I am optimistic about the future

And with that I don’t necessarily mean only Stonehearth but the whole “business/industry” landscape at large.
The scope of very individual or innovative solutions and ideas has always been hindered by the fact that in the end everything needs some money to become a reality.
Crowdfunding and crowdinvesting are new concepts that dramatically change how things work so for entrepreneurs it allows the question “is my idea guaranteed to attract enough buyers?” to be changed to “How can I attract enough attention to get started?”

Team Radiant with Stonehearth is among the best examples of how inclusive this way of starting a business is.
They had a vision and presented it in such a well done manner, it was among the campaigns I backed the most.
Now they deliver regular video updates and are approachable in the forum and already the game is good fun and just adorable to watch. For a company to have just one game is silly though, so getting some more resources and working on other projects does show that Radiant is becoming a mature business, which is a good thing, because it means they have a better foundation. I believe that does improve the outlook for Stonehearth :smiley:


Thanks everyone…

Although I`m still a bit concerned, I will try to be more optimistic and like @Battlewrath said, let time be the judge.

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Well… to devil my advocate, as it were… Jim’s accurate in view of past events. It’s the “AAA Publishers” part that bears examination.

It’s a whole 'nother dissertation which would need someone to go on at great length - and I could :wink: - about how “AAA Title” has become a subverted term. But when talking about those publishers, they generally mean not just the size but longevity of places like Microsoft, EA, Activision-Blizzard; the behemoths.

Riot is something new. The gold rush of eSports - and it is a gold rush - has generated enormous amounts of attention on gaming, a second wave of investors and prospectors not seen since gaming’s original transition from “weird niche thing computer nerds do” to “a cornerstone of the entertainment industry.”

Less than two years ago, ESPN writers were saying “video games are not a sport.” Now they broadcast eSports. Why? Money!

Something like Microsoft or (ugh) EA has a long, tiresome history of buying companies, technologies, teams… and then snuffing them out. In MS’ case, not just in gaming, either. Sometimes they buy things just so they’re never seen again, if it competes with their institutional ego regarding their own in-house development… and then we get monstrosities like Bing. Long story. Jim’s looking at places like EA, and developers like Bioware and Maxis, for example. EA ate them, applied their cookie-cutter model, and that’s that.

Riot doesn’t - yet, and hopefully never - have this history. Their profit potential, and therefore motive, is enormous - but they are not, as far as I know, a public company. This is a massive factor. EA is beholden to stockholders, as is every public company.

See, the issue is not selling a developer to a company - it’s any company, large or small, going public. Similar ideals apply: we’ll generate an infusion of cash and attention, it’ll be great! It is not great. “Investors” are not various interested people playing with their E*Trade accounts; they’re gargantuan holding companies and VC groups and small, select circles of billionaire friends and contacts. When something gets hot, they swoop down and make sure they gain control of it. From then on, it’s the same cookie-cutter model: cut costs, cut quality, cut content, cut personnel, cut anything and everything except executive salaries and shareholder returns.

If Riot’s owners remain interested in Riot, and not just the cash-out option of an IPO, and the company remains private, then they really can do absolutely anything they want, with no one but themselves to determine what to spend on projects, the deadlines those projects have, and the monetization models they get.

My original concern was: I don’t know what Riot’s motives are. Many startups are created for the express purpose of the cash-out: spin something up, make its balance sheet look golden, do a happy dance in front of investor groups, sell ownership and call it a day. With a couple dozen million in your pocket, ideally.

If there was an IPO or Riot itself was sold to a larger group, that would be where Radiant’s future would transfer hands to a new party, and what I’m babbling on about in my original post.

Having looked up a bit about Riot… I am relieved to find them privately traded (meaning, there are investors but Riot agrees to terms with them, some outside force can’t just come in and directly buy control on the market). There may come a day when Riot leadership decides, sod this I’m off to Bermuda, and cashes out. From what I’ve read here and seen of the company so far, I infer that should that day come, Radiant would possibly, hopefully, have the opportunity to purchase its independence again and therefore not be sold off with other assets (probably minus the {secret other project} that triggered the Riot acquisition in the first place).

This is actually what Activision-Blizzard did with Viacom (on a MUCH MUCH LARGER scale). Viacom was having… issues… and their plan was to squeeze A-B for dividends, basically. ABlizz said “how about we instead give you this large pile of reserve cash we’ve carefully hoarded over the years for just such an occasion, and walk away,” and so they did.

I still have Thoughtful Concerns. As mentioned above, by both forumites and Radiant staff: nothing is certain. As I’d mentioned before, priorities can change. Directions can shift radically. The earthquake scenario is a more literal example of that, but sure, let’s include that too.

This is neither a guarantee of a rosy future with office hot tubs, nor a certainty of EA-level doom. Riot may not be interested in the Microsoft and EA business model; they don’t have the same kind of investor pressure or, frankly, decades of entrenched management ego behind them. On balance, I’d say that tilts the scales to “cautiously optimistic.”

If you’ve gotten this far down the post in one sitting, I congratulate you, sir or madam.


Rock paper shotgun brought up something interesting - they didn’t know about Stonehearth - or very little - and was more focused on Rising Thunder - and how it is THAT what Riot mainly wanted, as a new PvP focused Esports game in the likeness of LoL - so maybe Stone Hearth is just along for the ride.

From my understanding it’s a action fighter with a combat style much like street fighter - because one of the main developers of that is apparently working at radiant - so ex Cap-con.

It’s interesting but hey, I’m just in this for the ride also.

I’ll be honest, I was upset by the new as well, however, Team Radiant surely did their research on this. Riot is a gaming company that takes great pride in their work. They have no history of buying companies to kill them. Team Radiant is VERY passionate about their game, and has been doing great work.

After some thought, I am actually happy about this move. It ensures Team Radiant is going to have money to move forward at their own pace, and that they don’t face a buy-out from a company like EA or MS.

In the end, only time will tell, so lets not second guess what could be, and lets support the choices of Team Radiant as they finish up an awesome game and move on to much more!


As a Kickstarter backer, this sort of news just makes me sick. There is absolutely no upside to this from Stonehearth’s perspective. We have repeatedly been assured that Stonehearth is financially solid, and we’ve seen plenty of evidence of that such as the delayed Steam Early Access release, and the staff size increases. Riot won’t be giving the Stonehearth team anything they didn’t already have. At best, all we can hope for is no downsides.

Well, anyone who’s been a gamer for any amount of time knows there’s no such thing as a acquisition that didn’t have downsides for the company being acquired. Already, we know that Alpha 16 is going to be delayed due to company restructuring. Maybe that’s a one time delay, but it still counts as a negative to Stonehearth. Like everyone else who’s seen this happen before, for dozens of small game studios and always with the same result, I’m now just waiting for things to get worse from there.

It certainly seems that Riot wanted Radiant for Rising Thunder. That makes sense to me, and it does shield Stonehearth from at least most of Riot’s potential meddling. Let’s face it though, being “along for the ride” isn’t exactly a wonderful position to be in, either. Sure, Stonehearth will be the little pet project of a small team in the huge megacorp, easily overlooked, but also easy to point to as underperforming compared to other huge AAA games in their roster. How long before Stonehearth is identified as an opportunity cost in the balance sheets, or some far-removed executive with no understanding decides it should be a much larger revenue stream if only this and that were changed?

I’m also reminded of my own concerns when Radiant announced Rising Thunder. I’m sure many of you remember as well, people were worried at how it would affect development on Stonehearth. I myself pointed out that what it really meant was that Tom and Tony would both be spending more time away from Stonehearth, and looking back we’d already seen evidence of their withdrawal without knowing the cause. Now, it seems, even less of their time will be spent on Stonehearth as they have “more paperwork to do” and Riot demands more of their attention on some new LoL-related fighting game.

The ideal scenario would simply be to have sold off Rising Thunder, and kept Team Radiant an indie company working on Stonehearth only, like in the beginning. None of us knows what happened in the negotiations, but there’s really no scenario I can imagine where that would have worked for Riot. They’d insist on Tom and Tony joining Riot, and that would mean the death of Radiant and Stonehearth if Riot didn’t also acquire the rest of the company. If Riot indeed wants to make a LoL-related fighting game, they’d be primarily motivated by a desire to acquire Tom and Tony, two world-famous fighting games experts and IP holders of some rather important netcode for fighting games. I know we don’t usually think of them that way, but that’s what they’re known for in the industry. Riot (and their parent company) is going to want a return on that investment, use them to make a new AAA game, and there’s just no way around that.

I don’t begrudge them for selling out. If somebody came to me with a big pile of money and asked me to give up my dream project and work on an even bigger dream project, I’d take the money too. As enthusiastic as Tom and Tony may have been about Stonehearth, there’s no denying they’re extremely interested in fighting games; the opportunity to make a big blockbuster one and shake up the industry using a well-known IP must have a strong appeal.

It’s just, as a Kickstarter backer, there’s no denying the emotional investment I made in the idea of a brand new indie studio with a cool team and a cool idea making something that looked amazing, and the disappointment that comes from hearing it’s now at the mercy of a completely different group of people and no longer an indie game at all. For years, I’ve held up Team Radiant, and Stonehearth, as the best example of how to do indie development right. I know other indie developers held Team Radiant in high regard as well, especially with its emphasis on community. Well, they’re not indie anymore, and whatever they accomplish now will be under the auspices of a huge company called Tencent.

That’s really what it comes down to, anyway. This isn’t Riot acquiring Team Radiant, as it’s being described here, it’s Tencent acquiring Team Radiant. Whatever promises Riot has made, or will make, are irrelevant when they, too, answer to a larger company above them. Stonehearth’s Kickstarter backers supported a brand new indie company because they trusted Tom and Tony and the rest of the team. That trust now doesn’t mean a whole lot, because who we really have to trust is some far-removed executives at Tencent who we’ve probably never heard of, who probably don’t know the first thing about Stonehearth, and who definitely don’t care about why Stonehearth got backed on Kickstarter to begin with. When it comes to trust, I don’t believe in the transitive property.

Riot, and by extension Tencent, will have to earn that trust back, and it’s not going to be a quick process. Am I hoping disruptions will be minimized, and that Stonehearth will still get made as Tom and Tony intended? Sure. Am I still sick to my stomach about it? Absolutely. Mostly right now I’m just hoping Stonehearth development can be completed quickly before anyone higher up notices it, I can get my release version 1.0 DRM-free copy off of the Humble Bundle store, and then modders will keep it alive no matter what happens when the other shoe inevitably drops.

I know Team Radiant is scared of the community turning against them because of this sale, and don’t want a lot of negative comments here on the discourse, but they must have, and should have, considered that as a consequence before selling. That sort of response needs to be factored in. I’m personally not going to abandon Stonehearth now, and I want to be optimistic, but it’s very hard to be optimistic when this same exact scenario has played out countless times to very awful ends. I’m open to trusting Riot and Tencent, but they will still have to earn it.


I was pretty loud about this in the other thread, but having taken the weekend to think the situation over, I’ve come to change my mind.

Whether the sale was a “good thing” or not is far too early to tell. At this point, threads like these are serving more to convince people that the future is doomed, because collective panics are fun social events, like concerts or themed brunches. What are these words doing right now, for the game? They’re stressing out the devs and giving mods more work. I’m pretty sure sdee is an active developer, and she wrote like three essays’ worth of stuff in the other thread. Like, let’s give them a break, okay?

Don’t trash the torches and pitchforks, because as we all have discussed and as we have come to understand, sales can be bad news. And yes, if we see Stonehearth going south, I will be complaining with the best of us. However, for now, all this is doing is causing panic for no solid reason. Ranged combat, after having been requested for ages, finally makes its appearance. Stonehearth is going exactly where we want it to be, and until there is proof that it is doing otherwise, my angry mob implements are laid to rest.


This is not true. Specifically, @not_owen_wilson says that is “Utter bollocks.” and “(Feel free to quote me on that :wink: )”.

@Moai sums up the mod team’s thoughts pretty well. No one has a crystal ball, and everything here is speculation about what “might” or “could” happen. Going to close up this thread, everyone has had time to vent their concerns, now we need to sit back and wait. Anything can happen!