A number of staff are being laid off in the process
The bizarre internet sports-sim Blaseball is coming to a close. Developer The Game Band has announced that it’s ending Blaseball ahead of its new era, and laying off some staff in the process.
Posted on The Game Band’s Medium page, the studio confirms Blaseball is headed to an end, rather than its planned Coronation Era. In short, Blaseball “isn’t sustainable” to keep running.
“Since Blaseball’s inception, we’ve been fighting against the amount of work it takes to keep Blaseball true to itself while financially supporting the team and keeping our staff healthy,” the dev team wrote. “We’ve tried countless solutions to make it work, and we’ve come to the conclusion that this fight isn’t one we can win in the long run. The cost, literally and metaphorically, is too high. So we are making the decision to end it here instead of changing Blaseball into something unrecognizable.”
As part of this, The Game Band is also parting ways with “many” of its team members. The team had grown in order to start making some of its plans work for the rebooted Blaseball.
Rest In Violence
I stumbled across Blaseball the way I imagine many early participants did. It was a social media hit during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you never got around to learning about it, Blaseball mixed a running fantasy sports sim of baseball with narrative mechanics that let players vote on different decrees and rules, which would shift the game in unforeseen and interesting ways. Sometimes another base would appear, or stats would go up. And other times, players would rise from the dead.
This community participation, combined with the sparse text interface filled with wildly inventive names like “Jaylen Hotdogfingers” or the Baltimore Crabs, was a blessing in 2020. Fan art and writing instantly emerged. Teams were free to define themselves and develop their own stories, lingo, and vibe, while still welcoming new fans in. The Seattle Garages made a lot of music.
All the while, Blaseball evolved too. It continued to “yes, and” through each wild pitch the community made. The Game Band developed some incredible moments, like the universe ending and fighting a shelled god. All of it, inside a text-display baseball sim.
We are Blaseball
So while this is a news post about a disappointing, difficult layoff, it’s also a send-off of sorts. Blaseball was, for several years, a very important corner of the internet for a number of people. And it will likely remain so, long after the games have stopped.
In this industry, I tend to see a lot of live-service games come and go. Some feel like it’s their time, as the natural cycle of the industry also shifts towards something new, but others stick with you for a little while. This is the latter, for me. Even during the times I wasn’t avidly watching every match on a second monitor, I loved the community effort that turned Blaseball into a welcome respite.
I hope, at the least, it’s remembered well for that. And that everyone who played a role in making Blaseball what it was lands on their feet. Thanks for the games.