Tony Hilliam: Rumours of Auran's Demise "Greatly Exaggerated"

furydude.jpgAuran CEO Tony Hilliam has made a statement regarding the rumour that the company today planned to let a number of staff go, mainly in its QA department.

While Hilliam confirms that the Fury team will be reduced, it's more to do with creating an "agile" group of developers better able to address the needs of the game. Contrary to what the original Angry Gamer story led many to believe, the company is not going bust:

As I explained to the staff yesterday, whilst FURY has started off slower than expected, I still see a bright and long future ahead. However, that future will not include the full 60 man development team who have worked on FURY for the past year. The future will focus on a smaller, more agile core team of Fury developers. These are people who are incredibly passionate about the game and work until 4 in the morning to ensure they get things done.

It's actually fairly normal for a dev team to shrink after the release of a title. The difference here is that Auran is going to the trouble of finding ex-employees other opportunities instead of just casting them into the sea of joblessness.

The statement goes on to mention that Auran plans to outsource at least some of the content development for Fury to China, where it says it has had a lot of success already.

Finally, Hilliam says that Tantalus (who we're stilling waiting to hear from) is right now opening a new studio near Auran's base of operations up in Brisbane. The new studio, which will focus on Wii and DS titles, will employ a few ex-Auran folk.

Tony's full statement can be found after the jump.

Several websites have circulated rumours regarding impending doom at Auran. Here is the official comment from Auran CEO, Tony Hilliam:

Auran has grown from 30 to 70 staff over the past few years, and in the past few months we’ve released FURY, Battlestar Galactica for XBLA and the 6th Edition of the long running Trainz franchise. In addition to game development, we also have a successful publishing business and release around 40 titles each year in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, we have just started licensing Australian-made titles to take to the world market.

Fury has been operating for 6 weeks and our first Free content update, the “Age of the Chosen” will definitely be released on December 14. Fury: AotC addresses many of the issues identified by players and reviewers in the original release. We’ve greatly enhanced the new player experience and made huge improvements to a number of systems. There will be another major FURY announcement next week about further changes that will be very exciting to all players (unless of course one of the staff under strict NDA decide to leak those details as well).

As I explained to the staff yesterday, whilst FURY has started off slower than expected, I still see a bright and long future ahead. However, that future will not include the full 60 man development team who have worked on FURY for the past year. The future will focus on a smaller, more agile core team of Fury developers. These are people who are incredibly passionate about the game and work until 4 in the morning to ensure they get things done.

FURY has been a big part of our lives and the core team will be doing everything they can to make sure it reaches its full potential. Anyone who has played a close game of Vortex or come back from 2-0 down to beat the opposing team in Elimination know of that potential. Sadly, too many players have only experienced a savage beating at the hands of veteran players. Perhaps they may pick up their bloodied corpses and return next weekend to see what we have done to help them get into the game.

Regarding China, during the past two years we successfully used several outsourcing companies and will be looking to China to create much of the new content that we will release in future updates. Furthermore, we’re talking with a number of publishers in Asia regarding co-development deals.

In addition, Auran and Tantalus are working together with a view to selecting a number of Auran staff to be part of new Tantalus studio (in Brisbane next to the Auran studio) working on DS and Wii titles. In fact, those interviews are taking place right now.

So the rumour mill got a number of things right or close to it, and I am happy to be able to add a little more detail. As they say in the classics, the death of Auran and FURY has been greatly exaggerated.

Tony Hilliam CEO, Auran Games


Comments

    smells like damage control

    "These are people who are incredibly passionate about the game and work until 4 in the morning to ensure they get things done"

    This quote here just seems so wrong, especially in this post EA-spouse world and stories of other developers trying to install more normal working hours.

    They're going to de-suck the game? yeah like that'll happen. Great to see they're sending OZ dollars overseas as well, pricks.

    "Regarding China, during the past two years we successfully used several outsourcing companies and will be looking to China to create much of the new content that we will release in future updates."

    Hang on a minute. Fury has the "Made in Australia" logo on the back of it!

    I mainly find it funny because the topic title is a reference to Rise Against.
    All of a sudden I have slightly more approval.

    It will be interesting to see how Fury fares in a while, after then initial release phase, and how the company will fare afterwards.

    Smells like Damage Control? Why would they keep the full staff running at 100% of development costs for anything longer then 6 weeks post release?
    Are they making Fury expansion or Fury 2? No, for obvious reasons, so for now they don't need all that staff.

    Compare this to GuildWars, ANet had great early success then cut the team in two: half working on the free content drop, and half on the first expansion. How much staff remained working on the original game? Same number that Fury will have, most likely.

    I'm NOT convinced that this isn't standard practice, because it makes sense financially.
    Should Fury start climbing out EVE style and they need an expansion, they will start hiring again.

    "They're going to de-suck the game? yeah like that'll happen. Great to see they're sending OZ dollars overseas as well, pricks." - Australians need to support there home grown stuff, or this happens! Why not make some useful suggestions on how they can make Fury not "suck" rather then post comments like this that just make Aurans job of selling the game harder!

    It is standard practice to ramp down the number of people you have on a project. It is not standard practice to sack everyone.

    Doesn't matter what Hiller says, I know from people who work there, most of them don't have jobs at Auran. Tantalus will rescue maybe 20 and another 20 at least are looking elsewhere.

    "Smells like Damage Control? Why would they keep the full staff running at 100% of development costs for anything longer then 6 weeks post release?
    Are they making Fury expansion or Fury 2? No, for obvious reasons, so for now they don't need all that staff."

    Actually, theres a expansion comming out(or massive content update), probably wont change much however, but the point is, the game flopped, THATS the reason they are laying off staff, you can bet WOW, Guildwars, or anything remotely popular didn't need to lay of staff and try to fill the spots cheaper in china...

    Think about it for a sec, do you think if your game was a MASSIVE success you would stop there? Maybe if you were an idiot, everyone else keeps rolling with the punches, keeps pumpin sequels because they know the public will buy (and hopefully enjoy) it, and they can continue to do so until the game or IP expires.

    But because Fury was garbage, they don't have those options, they are forced to cut corners, outsource to china, and masquerade around like a proudly Australian company with kangaroo stickers and all, but end of the day, everyone knows there just dodgy.

    Whats even funnier I think Auran even get Government funded assistance, sad state of affairs.

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