Apparently, MMORPG Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa bombed. And when games bomb, heads roll. If true, it's at NCSoft's Austin Studio! The Korea Times reports that the Austin subsidiary "has proven to be a financial disaster." Making Tabula Rasa was no cake walk, with rattailed Richard Garriott restarting the project several times, costing NCSoft added expenses. In a conference call, NCSofts chief financial officer Lee Jae-ho said:
Because of this disappointing result, some downsizing in Austin is inevitable. We are going to revamp our Austin development organisation... I should admit that the actual result of Tabula Rasa has been disappointing... If you talk about our development cost we spent in the past several years, probably we are not making any money from this Tabula Rasa project. That should be the reality.
NCSoft hasn't decided how many Austin Studio staffers it will let go, but plans to keep enough for Tabula Rasa maintence. Of course, rattailed Richard Garriott won't get the axe. However, NCSoft games will no longer be developed at the Austin Studio as individual projects.
According to website Massively, contacts at NCSoft say The Korea Times article blows things out of proportion and omitted key details about the conference call. For example, NCSoft CFO Jae-ho Lee stated that "some" downsizing was going to happen, but that he hoped Tabula Rasa would eventually improve its revenue. What's more, NCSoft is putting several more million dollars into the game, which is launching in Japan later this year. (Garriott's games typically have done well in Japan.) Only the Tabula Rasa team will be effected by the downsizing. It is not uncommon for MMO teams to ramp up during production and then reduce after launch. Glaring omissions, damage control and rattails. This post has it all!
NCSoft Downsizing Austin Studio [The Korea Times via Massively]
Tabula Rasa Not In Dumps [Massively][Pic]