Entry #36

What Happened to Tarboy 2?

2017-08-02 07:06:53 by JamesLee

A lot of people are asking me “Where’s Tarboy 2?” There’s going to be some new Tarboy footage coming out in my studio reel, but before people board the hype train for a sequel, I feel the need to explain a few things:

Soon after releasing the original film, there was a serious Tarboy game project in the works with an overseas development team, a well-known game designer and a major party’s involvement. Part way through the project, the developer had broken a critical agreement, and hadn’t delivered to what I felt was a passable standard.

At this stage, contractors were in dispute with the developer over pay, and the game designer had left, having not received his first cheque. I had already spent close to a year building a trailer for pitch materials, as well as the assets for the first level and much of the character animation. I still cringe a bit, thinking about the sheer volume of wasted art I had built for it. The developer did not accept my wish to terminate the project, and I spent many more months digging myself out of the legal hole to get the game rights back. It was an exhausting time.

Shortly after this, I began work on Tarboy 2, but I was burning out. I completed the first main sequence, but didn’t feel the quality was up to scratch. It just wasn’t in the spirit I had hoped for it, so I pulled the plug.

I’m not working on anything Tarboy related currently, just the odd artwork and branding content for my social media. I can’t realistically see myself getting back to it anytime in the short to medium term. I’m more interested in doing smaller illustrations, and seeing where experimentation takes me. I do have ideas for Tarboy-related shorts, but this isn’t something I can promise on, as I’ve experienced first-hand how announcing a project pre-emptively isn’t good for me, or the fans.

Working on anything Tarboy related is a bit of a mindfuck, juggling my own expectations on it, while knowing that the most dedicated of you have been waiting years. This isn’t to crap on anyone who’s asked about Tarboy 2, I did promise you guys a sequel, and the sheer love people still have for it years later is something that blows my mind.

I need to detach from the bad history surrounding Tarboy. I plan to focus exclusively on other projects. Hopefully this post will unglue some creative blockages and take some weight out of it all. This news has been a long time coming, but I felt it was important to let a few matters settle before speaking about it, just to get some distance from the mess of it all. It’s never been my intention to string anyone along, or drag out a long tease by posting dribs and drabs of seemingly Tarboy-esque, robot-themed content.

This post is to help clear the air so I can get on with what’s feeling eerily like a second creative phase in my career. It’s been ten years since I finished Tarboy, and looking back, it was the catalyst that started a lot of important things for me. But a lot of new things have begun to fall in to place, and I’ve never been more excited about where my animation could go. I have a new short ready for imminent release, and although it’s shorter, it’s probably my first film since Tarboy that’s taken that same level of focus and work.  Thanks to all the supporters of my work who’ve stuck around. It’s been a slow road getting here, but I think it will have been worth the wait.



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2017-08-02 09:21:18

I must ask, was this game suppose to be a flash game or more of an indie steam game? Sad that it had to go down like that. :( Even sadder when something you have passion for becomes something semi negative in your mind, hope you do overcome it though, I know im not the only one who wants more of Tarboy.

JamesLee responds:

It is a bummer, but turned in to a massive learning experience early in my career. It was going to be for console


2017-08-02 10:25:57

So sorry to hear that, sounds like a very painful experience. Take as much time as you need, you'll definitely want to distance yourself more to be able to enjoy the creative process again with Tarboy... we'll be waiting. ;)


2017-08-02 19:45:50

Woah, I wasn't aware of all those troubles behind Tarboy's projections, huge enough reasons to get burned out about it... That said, it's great to know you're working towards a new path in the world of animation.


2017-08-03 01:08:08

Tarboy had such a great aesthetic, and fantastic sound work. Sad to hear that third party incompetence dashed game hopes. It would have rocked!

Hopefully your creative block dissipates so you can make more wonderful things! I'm rooting for you!


2017-08-03 04:29:15

Hmm. Mildly irked, but I am not too pleased with the fact that I very much understand a large chunk of your problem with the series.

Take your time. Do what you would like to do. Try(and fail, and succeed, and fail) to have fun. You still have my support.


2017-08-03 05:05:46

I am not really waiting for a tarboy 2 the only thing that I really miss is your creepy in a cool way stuff!


2017-08-03 08:48:54

You can't rush art or a game even if it takes 10 years or longer. So your still gonna be super successful keep going!


2017-08-03 10:17:57

Those expressions of the young robot XD


2017-08-03 14:46:35

I am quite happy just to know you're still around and following your bliss.
If we get more stuff (whether it's tarboy or something else) then that's a bonus.
Stay awesome and keep up the good work.


2017-08-03 19:56:06

dude Overwatch Noir is fucking INSANELY good. I'm not even that into Overwatch and at this point I'm way past sick of seeing art and animation inspired by it, but, like, HOLY SHIT. I've watched yours so many times now and I cannot believe how great it is. People might be invested in the Tarboy name but clearly anything you put some time into is going to be phenomenal.


2017-08-06 17:25:01

Well thanks for the update on it, been anxiously waiting for a tarboy 2 and given up hope after a while.
Good to know that your still alive and kicking though, and its awesome to hear that you got the rights back instead of it rotting away.


2017-08-15 10:58:23

Hope you find your steam, man. I really enjoyed Tarboy and still show it to new friends, if I'm recommending them good, short animations. When I'm feeling uninspired, sometimes I put it on and it reinvigorates me.

Semi-related question: would you consider delegating work to other animators?


2017-08-15 10:59:28

Also, just caught bits of your new toon. Your lighting effects are dope. A sequel, whenever it comes, is bound to look amazing.


2017-08-26 15:54:06

Your name reminds me of a comic book artist, Jim Lee. He did a some of batman comics and uncanny x-men. When I saw a bunch of your art work and animation, I thought you might have alot in common


2017-10-05 15:11:13

Man, it doesn't matter when the sequel of Tarboy will be done.
The thing is we all just want to be sure that this moment will come someday.

Still, I want to thank you for this information. It's really important to all of us to know that Tarboy 2 is not forgotten. I'm sure someday it stop to be so much pain in the ass because of all this Tarboy-game stuff.

Credit Twist song from the first Tarboy is still set as a ringtone on my phone)
Every time someone calls me I remember about the first part and hope that someday I'll see the sequel.