Five years after its October 2016 release as a free-to-play game on PS4 and subsequent shutdown 13 months later, The Tomorrow Children is set to return. Q-Games, the Kyoto-based indie developer behind the game, has acquired the rights from publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment, returning the Tomorrow Children IP to creator Dylan Cuthbert and his team.
During a rare private server gameplay video in September 2021, Q-Games CEO and founder Cuthbert told IGN Japan that he hoped to acquire the rights and re-release The Tomorrow Children if Sony would allow it. A small-but-vocal audience has called for its return since public servers were closed in November 2017, rendering the game unplayable, and Cuthbert says it was this dedication from fans that convinced him to pursue negotiations with Sony over the rights.
“I’d like to thank first and foremost the fans of The Tomorrow Children, without whom I would never have had the confidence to keep pursuing this deal,” Cuthbert said in an announcement today. “Our fans are some of the most amazing gamers out there, and every day for the past four years they have kept the dream alive. I think the happiest thing about this decision is imagining the enjoyment those fans will feel as they re-enter the crazy post-apocalyptic neo-soviet world of The Tomorrow Children.
“Secondly I’d like to thank Sony Interactive Entertainment for also working with me to have the IP returned to Q-Games. It has taken a concerted effort by all of us to get to this ultimate step, and I’m full of gratitude to everyone involved in the process.”
The Tomorrow Children was an online-only multiplayer experience in which players collaborated to build towns, farm resources, and protect the world from attackers – all set in a surreal, Soviet-inflected post-apocalypse. The game received a mixed reception upon launch and its servers were closed just over a year later, but it built up a cult following.
Although no release date or platforms were announced, it appears The Tomorrow Children will return in an evolved form, as Cuthbert promised that he is “now tweaking and re-working parts of the game every week”. The Tomorrow Children was already a pioneering title, having been developed in partnership with Sony from early in the PS4’s life cycle. Its advanced Voxel Cone Tracing graphics engine resulted in a Pixar-like visual presentation that still looks impressive today, while elements of its loose online co-op system would later be reflected in games such as Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding. Together with planned updates, we can hope the new version of The Tomorrow Children will look at home alongside modern games when it is finally released.
In the meantime, Q-Games will be publishing a newsletter with behind-the-scenes updates so that fans can see how development is progressing. Registration for the newsletter is available here.
“I hope everyone follows along and gets involved in this process,” commented Cuthbert. “We plan to make quite a few changes for the better, and give The Tomorrow Children the re-launch it deserves! Come watch the fun!”
Cuthbert has a close relationship with Sony, having worked there for a spell around the turn of the millennium, and he has had a hand in backend aspects of several PlayStation consoles since the PS2, most famously including the PS2’s rubber duck tech demo and the PS3’s XrossMediaBar interface. Q-Games’ flagship PixelJunk series was closely associated with PlayStation platforms for many years and helped to raise player interest in indie games on Sony consoles. The Tomorrow Children was developed by Q-Games and published by SIE, with production support from Sony’s Japan Studio.
The specific details of the deal between Q-Games and SIE were not announced.
Sony has occasionally collaborated with the creators of its classic IP on reissues, such as working with Parappa The Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura on a PS4 remaster, but in general it has held on to the rights to the vast majority of its second-party franchises. This makes Q-Games’ achievement in acquiring the rights to The Tomorrow Children all the more impressive. It’s exciting to see what this development will mean not only for The Tomorrow Children, but for other dormant Sony titles as well.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan. For full disclosure, he worked at SIE Japan Studio while The Tomorrow Children was under development, but didn’t work directly on creating the project. He is also a fan of the game. Follow him on Twitter here.
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Author: Joe Skrebels