There’s a notable departure from the rFactor 2 development team, as Managing Director Marcel Offermans leaves Studio 397. Offermans was MD for almost six years, and previously worked at Dutch company Luminis as an experienced software architect and engineer, who took over development of rFactor 2 from Image Space Incorporated until they agreed to sell to Motorsport Games in March, 2021.
Offermans revealed his departure in a Youtube video titled “So long and thanks for all the fish!”, a quote from the Hitchiker’s series of books by Douglas Adams, and featuring a Corvette GTE exiting the final corner at Circuit Zandvoort.
A text overlay references the opportunity to start Studio 397, and continues to say “Over time we grew the user base by an order of magnitiude, improved just about every aspect of the simulation and did some really cool projects and collaborations. i had a great time, met many interesting people, worked with a lot of smart people and made some good friends. by the end of May it is time to move on. I’m leaving rFactor 2 in very capable hands.”
Offermans was a popular figure, as well as a big fan of the Corvette GTE. And his departure is notable considering the concerns being raised about new parent company Motorsport Games over recent weeks and months around legal cases, share prices, and delays to previously announced titles.
Motorsport Games announced their acqusition of Studio 397 in March 2021, in a spree which also included Black Delta (KartKraft), 704 Games (NASCAR Heat, and now Ignition) and Digital Tales (World SBK mobile games). And it’s fairly common for buyouts or sales to include conditions around the management of the company staying for a set period to aid the transition to new owners. Given that the big rFactor 2 Q2 update will arrive on May 9th, 2022, it’s a natural break in the development cycle to make changes.
But it’s also a nervous time for fans of the games, studios and licenses held by Motorsport Games, and the rFactor 2 player base is the oldest and most devoted sim racing community of that group. Of the three people quoted when the Studio 397 acquisition was announced, both Marcel Offermans and Motorsport Games then-President, Stephen Hood, have now left, with only CEO Dmitry Kozko still involved in the business.
And while it may be just the timing of any agreements made during the acquisition phase, the poor reception to NASCAR 21:Ignition due to range of issues with the game, the removal of both a follow up and the official BTCC title from release schedules, and the current investigation into the legal and financial activities by a number of sim racing sources, it’s possibly a little surprising that Offermans wasn’t encouraged to stay around a little longer to let some of the dust settle. Especially when a filing with the SEC has reduced the deferred installment amount due to be paid on the first-year anniversary of the acqusition transaction from $3.2 milllion to $1 million, with the remained to be paid within a further 90 days.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with rFactor 2 and Studio 397. While Offermans mentions leaving the company in ‘very capable hands’, any fans of Douglas Adams will know that ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish’ was a final message dolpins were trying to communicate to humans before the earth was destroyed.
Keep up with all the latest rFactor 2 updates and news, here. Or check out the full rFactor 2 car list, and the rFactor 2 track list. Along with downloading the demo version for free via Steam, or buying rFactor 2 for the PC.