Firewall: Zero Hour Developer First Contact Entertainment to Shutdown After Nearly 8 Years

First Contact Entertainment studio will be shutting down due to lack of support for VR within the industry.
Firewall Zero Hour
Image: First Contact Entertainment

First Contact Entertainment, the American game development studio headquartered in Los Angeles, California, is set to cease operations after nearly eight years in the industry. Founded in 2016 by Hess Barber and David Kovacs, the studio specializes in creating multiplayer-centric, live-service video games tailored for virtual reality technology. Notably, First Contact Entertainment is renowned for its 2018 release Firewall: Zero Hour, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The impending closure was officially revealed through a post on First Contact’s Facebook account.

After almost 8 years of working with the most amazing team I’ve ever have the pleasure of being part of, I’m sad to announce that we will be closing our company First Contact Entertainment by the end of the year.

The lack of support for VR within the industry has eventually taken its toll. As a AAA VR game developer, we are just not able to justify the expense needed gouging forward.

We are a team of fearless innovators willing to push new technologies to its limits. I am extremely proud of the team and grateful to our investors, our partners and of course our community of dedicated and passionate players. It’s been a wild ride, Thankyou!

Throughout its existence, First Contact Entertainment maintained a strong partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment. The collaboration began with their debut game, Firewall: Zero Hour, developed for the PlayStation VR headset. Just a year after it was announced at Sony’s PlayStation Experience event in 2017, the game was eventually released in August 2018. It received generally favorable reviews since its launch.

In September 2022, First Contact Entertainment and Sony announced a second collaboration, a sequel titled Firewall Ultra. Built for Sony’s PlayStation VR2 headset, Firewall Ultra hit the shelves in August 2023, receiving mixed reviews. Despite ongoing updates, such as the recent launch of the first seasonal operation event, “Operation Bloodline,” the studio’s closure suggests an uncertain future for the game.

This year, the gaming industry has witnessed both remarkable game releases and unfortunate closures and challenges. Studios of all sizes, including major publishers and developers, have not been spared from layoffs and shutdowns. First Contact Entertainment joins the list of studios shutting down this year, reflecting the broader challenges in the industry. In any case, it is hoped that the coming year will bring a more stable environment, with fewer closures and setbacks for game developers and publishers.

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Shemiah Ruina

Shemiah Ruina

Shemiah is a gaming niche writer and an Electronics Engineering graduate at the Technological University of the Philippines. She plays a lot of RPGs and FPS games. She also enjoys watching movies and anime.

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