Vodeo Games, the first unionised game studio, is shutting down

Vodeo Games played an historic part in the union movement within the games industry.
vodeo games industry union video

Vodeo Games, developer of Beast Breaker and the first major North American game development studio to formally unionise, is shutting down. The company made history in December 2021, coming together to form an official union with the blessing of studio heads and its entire workforce. In the wake of this movement, several other studios began pushing for unionisation, with groups in Raven Software and Keywords Studios going on to successfully organise.

While Vodeo Games did not have a direct role in these movements, it was seen as a leader in the union space and likely encouraged games industry workers to learn more about the value of unionising.

‘We are a small, young company and I constantly encourage my coworkers to speak up and tell us how we can do better,’ studio founder and co-director Asher Vollmer said of the union formation in late 2021. ‘When [the workers] approached me and told me they were forming Vodeo Workers United, it was a no-brainer to step back and proudly watch them do what no other game company in North America has.’

In a new update on Twitter, Vodeo Games has confirmed the studio will now shut – as a result of not being able to find secure funding for its next project.

Read: Dragon Age QA workers unanimously vote to form union

‘We have some sad news to share: there will be no new Vodeo Games,’ the studio’s Twitter announcement read.

‘This story is unfortunately a familiar one for small studios. Despite a year of avid efforts, we’ve been unable to secure funding for our next project from publishers and investors. As such, we’ve run out of funds and aren’t able to keep the team together – and there is simply no Vodeo without our incredible team.’

The ‘final efforts’ of the Vodeo Games team will go towards a Steam release for Beast Breaker.

‘We hope that it will bring our creation to many new players, and continue to support our team even as we all go our separate ways,’ Vodeo Games said.

Regardless of the studio’s closure, it will be remembered in the years to come, for its impact on the games industry and its encouragement of the union movement. We wish the team at Vodeo Games a successful transition as work on Beast Breaker wraps up.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.