Krome Lays Off 100+ Employees, Shuts Adelaide Studio

Word is that Australia's largest development studio, Krome Studios, has today closed its Adelaide office and laid off many more employees from both its Melbourne and Brisbane studios. All up, over a hundred jobs have been lost.

Gamepron reports that the news broke via Twitter as various members of the local games development community expressed their sympathy for those now out of work.

Industry veteran Tony Albrecht tweeted: "My condolences to the Krome guys and gals that were let go today. Sometimes the Game Dev Industry sucks. Go get really drunk is my advice."

He followed shortly afterwards with: "Yup - Adelaide Krome is shutting down and Melbourne and Brisbane have been cut back heavily. Krome Adelaide are already at the pub."

UPDATE: Tony Reed, head of the Game Developers Association of Australia, also confirmed the cuts via Twitter: "Looking for solutions for recently unemployed Krome staff. Big Ant in Melbourne are looking for engine programmers - www.bigant.com"

Gamepron says "more than 100 staff members have been let go, from a company boasting 400 last year." Kotaku has also spoken with well-placed, anonymous sources who claim the 100+ figure is accurate.

The cuts and closures cap a tough year for Krome. In April, we heard that around 50 jobs were lost at the studio after losing out on a deal with LucasArts to develop the Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. And in November last year an "undisclosed number" of people were also laid off.

Krome has recently inked a deal with Atari to publish Blade Kitten for PSN, XBLA and PC and last month launched a new Ty the Tasmanian Tiger game on Facebook.

Major staff cuts at Krome Studios [Gamepron]


Comments

    Bad news. 100+ people from a 400 strong company is HUGE. It's always sad to see this happen to local devs, I really wish there was more support of the games industry here in Australia

      Yes, and with the recent election campaigning, maybe the industry should get together and take to the streets (with incredibly artistic and well-crafted banners) in protest for the lack of support?.

        What industry? Australia has no real studios left to produce AAA games I'd dare say Krome is now under half their previous force, sure we've got a strong mobile and handheld scene but thats it.

        Kitty, speaking as a developer myself, the industry here in Australia does NOT need government support in any way.

        It's an open, free market. It's a shame that Krome couldn't secure the work it needed, but that's life. Developers simply have to do better.

      Sorry to all those people who are have been let go, I hope you guys find work to go to soon.

      As far as government support goes... I wonder which party would be good to get behind. The one that is pushing for an internet filter, or the one that thinks that we're not really that far behind with our broadband infrastructure, and just need to patch it up. They both seem like such modern, and forward thinking parties...

        Vote neither. Either donkey vote it, or vote for a 3rd party like the sex party.

        If you do that, make sure both the major parties are at the bottom of your ballot ;)

      It wasn't 400... it was more like 250, after a heap of people got laid off last November, then again this May.

      Krome would be lucky to have 150 people left now.

      Sad, sad, day for the Australian Games Industry.

    Local investments + A Unique IP = Continued Employment.

    Shame it happened but if they had been relying on a force unleashed contract then they were vying for something others were too.
    Blizzard is currently working on 3 Games we know of, if Krome had a back up game they were devolping while trying to get a contract they could release that in the intrum and possibly stayed afloat.

    Perhaps - but then what would I know just an armchair observer.

    this is why the miners need to be taxed to support other industry. and things like the NBN, reduced company tax rate...

    good on ya miners, the rest of the country was hardly as resilient to the GFC as you, and the miners constantly pushing up the dollar, inflation... only makes it harder.

    when we are all out of dirt, will their be anything left in this country at all?

    game devs have it real tough... they work for America, and America is ****ed. need to cut ties and try your luck with your own IP before the bloated publishers take you down with em.

    Oh man, that makes me sad. Hope everyone who got laid off lands on their feet.

    Considering the intellectual climate of this current election, I can't imagine either side of politics taking any interest in the Australian gaming industry, outside of attempting to further regulate it. But for real, do you think that WORKING FAMILIES will allow their HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS to be WASTED ON MAKING KIDS TOYS?

      Actually, I am pretty sure there was at least talk, if not actions being taken to spend some of the mining tax money on Aus game developers.

    There was a time when the games industry was thriving in Adelaide, then Ratbag got bought out and everything went downhill from there.

    Adelaide is just not the state to be in for game development anymore.

    It'd suck to be an employee at Krome, but really it just shows you - if you don't make any good games, your company isn't gonna last.

    I doubt it will get mentioned here in Adelaide, but that really puts a knock on the state governments high tech jobs programme.

    Now I have 100 extra people with experience in a studio to compete against...I really chose the worst time to graduate.

      Being one of the Adelaide folks who went missing last year (and a former Ratbag guy), Adelaide is indeed the wrong place to pursue a job at a console gaming studio. We're just too far off the track for landing big console games. None of my former colleagues have been re-employed LOCALLY in the games industry for anything more than a short contract. And the ones who left the state when Ratbag folded? Majority are still in gaming today, in Melbourne, LA, Toronto...

      BTW: For the record, the guys who ran Ratbag and run Krome worked very, very hard to keep the Adelaide team in the industry. Respect them, even if you don't like the games.

      On the flip side, there are talented folks in this town doing small-scale indy work. There is a community, and I hope it thrives. XBLA/PSN and iPhone teams are around. Hook up with them, Scared, and best of luck.

        QFT Adelaide is, and always has produced awesome stuff.

        I like this reply. Well thought-out and constructed, and an interesting insight into the local gaming scene. Former, if you're reading this, I'd love to get in touch with you.

        David, can you possibly pass my details on to this person, or vice-versa, please?

    this is really sad news!

    How depressing. Not only because of how many jobs have been lost, but also at the state of the gaming industry in Australia. Hopefully these guys get back on their feet soon. And hopefully, *hopefully*, the industry picks up. And becomes awesome.

    My brother was one of them too, sadly.

    About a fortnight before he moved into his newly built house.

    Shit timing eh?

    Oh boy. This does not scream out well to me.

    Considering that A) I live in Adelaide and B) I'm 98% sure that I'm going to put down a Uni degree in Digital Media (read games design). This has made me reconsider that again, and every time I hear of "X people have been sacked" I think that's more people to compete at the end of that 3 year degree.

    Screw it. I'll start my own company.

    With blackjack.

    And hookers.

      In fact forget about the Blackjack and hookers!

        Ah just screw the whole thing

    Not surprised at ALL. With the way the industry has been going for the past couple of years it was only time for the bigger companies to crumble. Ironically this means the rise of indie development in Australia...

    Also do not believe when people say the industry is doing well/recovering/nothing happened. That's complete bullshit and people who are in it making any games other than mobile games should be commended (or pitied) for clinging on to some old business model that's clearly not working.

      It's cute that you think mobile games should be commended, considering the traditional publishers are getting a stronger stranglehold on the market and it's much much harder for the smaller guys to make enough money to survive these days if their games aren't in the top 20.

      Sincerely,
      A professional game programmer.

        Given how much a studio's performance in the market can be measured critically, it's not really fair to say that it was a matter of not being or having a larger publisher.

        Krome games were on shelves and didn't sell well enough because no-one wanted to buy them. They had a chance to make better games and never took it.

        I don't think anyone reading this article bought the Ty or recent Spyro titles, and that lack of product interest is what lulled sales.

        Just follow the Bioshock formula:

        * Make a good game
        * Sell many copies
        * Profit

          Oh, my bad - I misread your comment.

          Well, ignore the upward post.

    I can't help but wonder how many are left at Krome Melbourne. Last I heard it was almost deserted...

    There is only 10 people left at Krome Melbourne now. lol. I'm glad I'm safe.

    My sympathy for the Krome victims, it seems the Aussie industry must reinvent itself with a better business model.

    Our industry was hand to mouth and not set up for lasting success. 'Work for hire' only for foreign publishers and relying on a strong US$ to compete meant that the GFC destroyed the Aussie business model.

    Publishers got cautious and kept work in their own studios or could suddenly afford their local studios who were now super-competitive. There was no longer a cost saving for farming the work out here.

    Ultimately I agree with other posters who point out that the local industry with a few exceptions has not been delivering quality games. If you can't compete on cost OR quality, you don't have a business.

    That said, when a publisher comes calling with a doomed-to-be-crap cookie-cutter kids licensed project with minimal budget that keeps the studios lights on and people in jobs, I can't criticise a manager that takes it. It's a shame they dried up though, and there's no bank of original IP to draw from.

    The age of the Aussie Indies is starting. Tenacious developers will team together for lack of employment ops and the best among them will create critical and commercial success by not being shackled to a dead business model. It's these guys the Govt needs to get behind.

    Agree completely with ex-dev. Who wants to band together to generate content for XBLA? The traditional shrink-wrapped route seems impossible these days but I'd bet that there are plenty talented Aussies out there who could do XBLA stuff easily. I have some ideas so if anyone is interested, give me a yell @ [email protected]

    Devastating, I hope everyone lands on their feet.

    As an Adelaidean it's especially sad to see their Adelaide office close down.

    Sad day.. many have now been rendered unemployed. As a former employee (left before all this happened)I see it as a terrible thing for my friends and former colleagues. Does this make it the 3rd or 4th purging? Just when you think its over a new batch is taken out. Morale must be at an all time low. You don't know if your next.

    If one of the programmers wants to write an RKV decompressor there's plenty of star wars modders who will pay for one.

    And the first reviews of this terrible game begin -

    http://tinyurl.com/2eesq4m

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