Robert Bowling’s indie studio, Robotoki has been forced to lay off some staff after deciding to abandon the free-to-play business model for its upcoming game, Human Element. The change in business direction has also forced the company to abandon its publishing deal with publisher Nexon.
Human Element is now due to release as a premium game and has apparently already found another publisher with details due in the future.
Robert Bowling told Gamasutra
As the game evolved we realized that the elements that make Human Element the most fun would be hindered by keeping it a free-to-play experience. Therefore, we made the decision to switch to a premium experience for our players; which also meant that working with the premier publisher in free-to-play was no longer the best partnership fit for the game we were creating.
A Nexon America representative made comment regarding the parting of ways
Nexon and Robotoki have come to a mutual decision to end their publishing agreement for the game Human Element. As development of the project progressed the direction of the game naturally evolved, and it no longer aligns with the Nexon portfolio.
Robert Bowling left Infinity Ward where he was Creative Strategist for Call of Duty to found Robotoki in 2012. Nexon had previously made a “strategic investment” in Bowling’s company in 2013 and agreed to publish Human Element in 2014.