Puzzle Studio Zachtronics Announces Closure

Last Call BBS will be Zachtronics' last new game.
Last Call BBS will be Zachtronics' last new game. / Courtesy of Zachtronics

Zachtronics, the development studio behind some of the tightest, most ingenious puzzle games of the last decade, has announced it will close its doors after 11 years in the business.

Zach Barth, for whom the studio is named, founded Zachtronics 11 years ago. He says the studio is closing not because of any external pressure, but because the members of the team are looking to work on different projects.

"We all have different ideas, interests, tolerances for risk, and so on, so we're still figuring out what we want to do next," he told Kotaku.

Zachtronics games tend to inspire a certain quality of cultish devotion among those players who connected with their compelling, but often esoteric games. Titles like Opus Magnum and Shenzhen I/O showed the team's penchant for programming-style puzzles, while visual novel Eliza and tactics game Möbius Front ‘83 showed the studio's range. Still, Barth says that niche is part of why Zachtronics is calling it quits.

"This might sound weird, but while we got very good at making 'Zachtronics games' over the last 12 years, it was hard for us to make anything else. We were fortunate enough to carve out a special niche, and I'm thankful that we've been able to occupy it and survive in it, but it also kept us locked into doing something we didn't feel like doing forever," he said.

This will, in fact, be the second time Zachtronics has shut down. The studio briefly closed in 2015, when Barth went to work at Valve for around 10 months, but re-formed when that gig had run its course.

"I'm not saying the same thing is going to happen here, because we really are shutting down Zachtronics, but when you make these decisions for yourself deliberately, instead of letting circumstances dictate them, it's easier to get the results you want in the long run."

The studio's final new game, Last Call BBS, will be released July 5. After that, the studio will release a solitaire collection before the end of the year, and then shut down.