Helsinki-based Papukaya is officially closing down after three years of operations. The company’s goal to reach non-gamers who might play games was driven by inspiration from books, movies, social media and real-world hobbies.
Papukaya created more than a dozen prototypes and two live releases based on its out-of-the-box ideas.
An experimental journey
In the three years since its 2020 founding, Papukaya has explored multiplayer dating sims, photorealistic bed & breakfast fantasies, interactive stories, new puzzle mechanics and more, even receiving $3 million in backing from mobile giant Supercell. Support was also given by Supercell’s peers and sister companies throughout Papukaya’s journey.
But unfortunately, this time it hasn’t worked out, as Papukaya CEO and co-founder Drussila Hollanda has taken to LinkedIn to share the difficulties in the games industry for newcomers and in making experimental games: "UA has become a whole other game to crack on top of the actual game," she said.
Ultimately, the decision to close down has come after questions arose around what Papukaya hoped to achieve - from original aims to reach non-gamers to becoming part of the free-to-play space.
"It was tempting to ignore these thoughts and keep pushing forward with blind optimism, but I ultimately reached the conclusion that the wisest decision for the company is to pull the brakes and recalibrate," Hollanda continued. "It's not a decision made lightly and has impacted the whole team, who are some of the best people I’ve worked with.
"Thank you Collin Foss, Saara Mäkinen, Venla Heino and Samu Aapa for jumping aboard and being so committed to creating genre-defining games, as well as building an amazing team culture. You are all superstars and I’m confident you will make a big impact on whatever team you choose to join next!"
Thanks were also given to Hollanda’s fellow co-founders Tiago Rocha and Johannes Ahvenniemi, who all formed the company together right in the thickets of the pandemic: "A crazy move in hindsight."
This year hasn't only been tough on Papukaya; it's also seen Stranger Things: 1984 developer BonusXP shut down and Gameloft's Budapest studio. Layoffs have been common too, even impacting gaming giant Roblox.