What Happens To Developers When A Studio Closes?

What Happens To Developers When A Studio Closes?

The past few years have seen the closure of some of Australia’s biggest studios. This year alone we’ve lost two THQ-owned studios and just last week we heard that EA would be closing Visceral Games. Most of the talk surrounding the closures has been about the state of the industry, which is an important discussion to have, but what about the developers themselves? What do all these closures mean for them? Kotaku spoke to some Aussie game devs to find out.

When the news comes, it comes hard…

Morgan Jaffit, lead designer of Pandemic Studios in Brisbane, was standing on a train platform in rural Victoria on Christmas Day, 2008 when he received a phone call from studio president Josh Resnick: EA was closing the studio.

It was Jaffit’s job to take the news back to his staff.

“It was tough,” says Jaffit, who has since founded independent games studio Defiant Development.

Jaffit had to tell his staff that the studio they had worked so hard for was being shut down; it didn’t matter that they had already spent months working on a new IP, that some of the staff had been at the studio for years, or that Pandemic was one of the biggest studios in Brisbane. The plug was being pulled and that was that.

“The main thing going through my mind was that I was sad for the people: Pandemic was a good family, there were a lot of people there who had been there a lot longer than I had. They were really committed to the studio and I thought then and I think now that it was unfortunate that that value is lost.”


But Christmas Day 2008 was not the beginning or the end of a stressful period for Pandemic staff. Rewind a few months earlier to mid-2008: the then-production assistant of Pandemic (who later went on to be associate producer at Blue Tongue on De Blob 2), Jen Timms, says that developers at the studio knew something was wrong when Josh Resnick was in town. There was no warning given and few people knew why the head of Pandemic, who was mostly based in the US, was suddenly in the Brisbane studio. That day marked the first round of redundancies, the loss of most of their contractors, and the cancellation of an unannounced project they were working on at the time.

“Then they started to split the remaining team up,” she says.

“Some joined the other team on a Wii game that had been in development for just over a year, some were sent to Pandemic LA to help out with The Saboteur, and a small group stayed on to figure out the next move and to start pitching new IP.”

It wasn’t long before another round of surprise redundancies hit. It was October 31 and no one saw this round coming. Spirits were high enough for there to be a Halloween bake-off in the studio — Timms had even made spooky cupcakes with edible nougat “bones” for the bake-off. Again, without warning, the entire new IP team was let go, leaving just the team who were working on the Wii project.

“We floated along for a little bit longer, still focusing on developing our secret, super fun Wii game… but by now it felt really unstable,” says Timms.

“No one felt safe. When would the next round of layoffs be coming? What would happen to Pandemic?”

Pulling the plug…

Then came Christmas Day. After being dragged along for months, EA decided that they were no longer supporting Pandemic Brisbane. In an unusual move, they allowed Pandemic to keep the IP they were working on and gave them the opportunity to find a new publisher. While this led to a surge in hope within the studio, it ultimately meant that the developers would be living in a stressful limbo for the coming months.

“As it turns out, it was a very bad time in the middle of the global financial crisis to try and get interest in a new project,” says Jaffit.

“As a result, it was never a clean separation, it wasn’t a case of what happened with THQ (Studio Oz and Blue Tongue) where they effectively called everyone in on Monday and said the studio was closed, don’t come in Tuesday, which is pretty sudden.”

“Pandemic bled slowly to death over the course of multiple months and that was a very hard process.”

Some developers decided to take Pandemic’s redundancy packages and leave, while others hoped to stay on as the heads of the Pandemic that was now free from EA tried to find a new publisher for their IP.

“I decided to stay on and see if I could be a part of the new company,” says Timms.

“If we found a publisher to support us, it sounded like a great opportunity and a fresh start. This was a very memorable day — we were called into the room with Christie Cooper (Pandemic’s business director) and Morgan Jaffit, one by one, and told our fate. We never knew when we were going to be called in, and we sat within view of the room watching our friends and colleagues go in, and watching even more closely when they came out,” she says.

“If they were carrying a yellow Pandemic folder, we knew they sadly weren’t going to be joining us. We lost quite a few people that day, but luckily I was chosen to join the new company.”

Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before those yellow folders made another appearance. By February 2009 Pandemic was still unable to find a new publisher — EA could no longer float the company while it pitched its IP to publishers around the world and, with the global economic crisis worsening, the studio finally closed its doors for good.

A swift and sudden end…

Not every studio closure is a drawn-out process, and even fewer are given the hope that they will be able to keep their IP and try their luck with a different publisher. Andy Symons (who now works for Big Ant Games) was at Melbourne’s Transmission Studios when it closed. He was the lead developer on Heroes Over Europe and says that while there was some writing on the wall in the way of earlier redundancies, he did not expect that the studio would close.

“I came into work and people were sitting around not working,” Symons says.

“One of the producers said that it might be a good idea to start backing up work. No one was sure what was going on. Then at around 10am there was a meeting with the CEO who said that the company was going into liquidation but entitlements would be covered by the government’s GEERS system (General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme).”

“There had been two rounds of staff lay-offs leading up to the closure… at the time I was working on a fully-funded project that was meeting its milestones, [so] I didn’t see it coming. There was some writing on the wall for sure but not enough for me to start updating my LinkedIn profile.”

Robert Walkley was also a game developer at Transmission when it closed in 2009. The studio had just released Ashes Cricket 2009 and Heroes Over Europe; he says that the latter sold poorly against IL-2 Sturmovik, so the studio experienced some losses.

“While our games reviewed reasonably well, they didn’t achieve reviews high enough to generate sufficient enthusiasm from publishers,” he says.

“In addition to this, very few new projects were being green lit in the wake of the global financial crisis. Add to this, you could see the Australian dollar was on a sharp upward trajectory against the US dollar… I’m sure this would have frightened anyone doing due diligence in looking at signing an Australian developer,” he says.

The company was dealt with a round of redundancies that Walkley describes as being very difficult for all involved, but because the company had cut costs he believed this was enough to keep the studio open. As he went back to working on patches for Ashes Cricket 2009, the sad news came that the studio would be no more.

“Around 8 or 9pm [the night before the announcement was made], my studio manager came past to say hello after a meeting with the board of directors. I remember at the time he advised me to go home; he had an air of resignation that was out of the ordinary for him,” says Walkley.

“At the time I didn’t think an awful lot about the conversation, but in hindsight it’s now clear that something significant must have taken place. As it turns out, the reason why the company hadn’t made deeper cuts in the previous weeks was simply because it did not have the funds to pay the entitlements of any staff who were made redundant.”

The next morning a meeting was called to break the news to the staff, but the administrators were already on the way. Walkley recalls that a few people representing the administrators were present, with a few guarding the door to ensure that no one left with any items — personal or otherwise — until they had been signed off.

“I remember I left some of my own items there because I wasn’t in the mood to be squabbling with them over random personal junk,” he says.

“It was a strange feeling to now be effectively unwelcome in what was our own workplace.”

The rumours that bubble…

Craig Duturbure, former lead designer at Krome Studios and now lead designer of Melbourne’s Fiasco Studios, has been at a number of studios when redundancies have hit, and was at Krome when the doors finally closed. He says that sometimes the first rumours to go around about a possible studio closure don’t come from within the studio but from other companies.

“With the redundancies, the rumours usually fly around before the announcements [and] they often come from other companies entirely as they suddenly receive desperate phone calls, asking for jobs, from other branches of our company interstate,” says Duturbure.

“How do these events go down? There’s always two meetings and you hope to be in the second,” he says.

“For the first, the boss goes around and invites all those to be made redundant to a meeting, where they’re all told. You wait for the dreaded hand on your shoulder and the quiet invitation in that first round. It’s awful.”

“Then there’s the second meeting, for those who will stay, where the situation is explained and everyone has the chance to talk about it all. In the case of the Krome redundancies, before the big fall, these meetings were handled very well because the head of the Melbourne studio, Kurt Busch, really cared for all his employees as people.”

According to Duturbure, it is usually easier for those who are let go first to find work than for those who stay until a studio closes completely. Duturbure says that during the earlier redundancies there were more jobs on the market, but when the final wave of employees were made redundant the market had already been flooded by the previous wave of game developers and there were fewer opportunities.

The immediate aftermath…

So what happens then? Duturbure says that some developers at Krome saw the writing on the wall well before any redundancies were made and had been seeking other employment for months. Others saw it coming and, while it was sudden, it was not unexpected. Those who were hardest hit were the ones on international visas, and those with families and couldn’t afford to be out of work for too long.

For Timms, the closure of Pandemic ended up being an enormous relief after the months of uncertainty.

“It had been so stressful, full of ups and downs and change, and feeling like a big, dark cloud was constantly hanging over our heads,” she says.

“So by the time I finally received that yellow folder, it was almost a big relief — finally being cut free from this constant state of not knowing and questioning my job security.”

But despite finally getting closure after a drawn-out period of stress, things weren’t about to get easier. Timms found herself doing the “unemployment shuffle”, constantly updating her LinkedIn profile, checking her email, updating her contacts list, waiting by the phone, updating her LinkedIn profile, and so forth.

“It’s a constant state of highs (when the phone rings), lows (when it’s just a telemarketer), and disappointments (‘We currently do not have any production vacancies at this time, but…’),” she says.

After four months she found work at the now defunct Blue Tongue Entertainment working on De Blob 2. Others were also able to find work, with Walkley picking up contract work at the newly formed Trickstar Games and also lecturing at QANTM College, Symons moving onto Big Ant Games, and Duturbure and Jaffit joining and creating independent studios.

Coping with closure…

The experience of a studio closure is different for everyone and, while some developers managed to get work right away and others had to play the waiting game, there is little doubt that opportunities in Australia at big studios are no where near as available as they once were.

“There was a time when developers were much more secure in their jobs,” says Jaffit.

“But overall the games industry has never been a secure blue chip industry. The fact of the matter is it has been much more turbulent as we’ve seen the transition to the next generation of consoles, then through to mobile over the last four years.”

“The last four years have been the most catastrophic in the games industry since I’ve been involved. The flip-side is when I first entered the games industry little over a decade ago, from that point the whole industry was in growth year on year every year I was involved. So every year there were more jobs, more positions, more opportunities and for a couple of years that hasn’t really been the case, and that’s been a really tough transition for people to wrap their head around.”

Jaffit says that one of the biggest losses to come from Australia’s many studio closures is that there are now fewer opportunities for people who want to work at big studios.

“One of the advantages I have is early on I had the advantage of working in Vancouver. Vancouver suffered the repercussions of large cuts at a large EA Canada branch, which had resulted in thriving smaller studios like Relic and Barking Dog, so there is not a doubt in my mind that the overall repercussions [in Australia] will be to get up more independent developers.”

“That said, it would be really nice if we had a large studio in town because a large studio provides training grounds for new staff — they can accommodate more students and more people to get into the industry and learn. There would be a lot of things that would be in our favour in terms of having that ability and growth,” he says.

Ideally there would be a healthy mix of large studios with independent development teams, but given the current situation in Australia, with another EA studio closing just last week, what is a developer to do after a studio closure? Is it a cue to leave the country for greener pastures? Do developers who have spent their entire careers making titles for current-gen consoles suddenly make the switch to mobile games? Or is it time to throw in the towel and opt for a career change?

“Everybody responds to turbulence in different ways,” says Jaffit.

“I can speak to my attitude as a developer and, broadly speaking, [the closure] brought the focus for me to quality. I think there’s always a market for quality and by focusing on only doing good things we help to embrace that market for quality. It’s made me realise that life’s too short to work on stuff that you’re not passionate about.”

The current landscape…

Symons believes that despite the success of Firemint, Half-Brick, Iron Monkey and The Voxel Agents, he doesn’t see the iOS market as a magical pill that will solve all of Australia’s game development woes.

“The entry level nature of it means that it’s going to get harder to be noticed, and soon you’ll need greater fidelity, marketing, and up go your costs,” he says.

“I think console development in Australia is not in great shape and realistically we should have an industry that is healthy in all areas. I have a lot of friends who saw game development as a bit of a crazy love affair and put up with its ‘quirks’ because it was fun. Now they’re a bit tired of the craziness and are moving on to something a little more stable. I get it, but that’s a lot of great experience lost to stockbroking databases. At Big Ant I am really blessed to have an a really experienced team who understand the importance of achievable goals and, even though we’re not critically darlings, we’re producing the best games I’ve worked on.”

Duturbure, who now works at Fiasco Studios making small-scale, quality games, says that the old model of game development may no longer be viable in Australia, but this should not stop game developers from making the games they want to make.

“Watching the big games studios in Australia has been like watching a polar bear clutching at a melting ice floe,” he says.

“With a high dollar and no original IP, companies just don’t have the value to overseas publishers they had a few years back, so closures are inevitable.”

“There is the other side of the coin, though. For those who change their thinking and adapt to the new environment, this can be a time of hope. More and more, the push is towards smaller indie companies making small-scale, quality games, based on original IP. It’s like a reboot of the early Commodore 64 days, only now there is an abundance of free and powerful tools with which small teams can create polished, quality games.”

“For those in the industry and those looking to get in, so long as they break from the idea that big companies are the only option, they could actually do a lot towards an excellent career filled with more creativity and originality than was possible under the old model.”

Matt Ditton, a game developer who worked for Krome and was at Pandemic Studios when it closed, echoes Duturbure’s sentiments. He believes the devastating closures of the past few years will usher in a new game development scene, one that will lead to Australia making better games.

“The foreign owned studio system in this country is really shrinking, but the independent system is blooming. That’s not to be confused with the ‘indie’ scene — I’m talking about small teams working full-time to develop games and intellectual property that can grow their business or just make the business sustainable,” he says.

“On a quality standpoint, I think we’re better than ever. We aren’t making the same games we were, and that’s a good thing. I think there has been a lot of soul searching and a lot of people in a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to not let the last three years happen again.”


For many developers, one of the things they take away from a studio closure is the need to work on projects they’re passionate about. Jaffit has taken this lesson and applied it to his independent studio, Defiant Development, who are taking a risk with a game that has not been attempted before. But the closures have also taught him something else.

“The one thing you learn through studio closures is the worst that could happen is they’ll shut down the studio, and you don’t die, and you wake up and if you’re like me you spend three months not really being able to focus on what you want to do next, just getting over the whole thing, but then you dust yourself off and you work out what you want to do next and you put yourself together and you make it happen,” he says.

“If you’ve lived through the worst case scenario, you no longer fear the worst case scenario and you can do what you want to do without fear.”

For Ditton and many others, it’s about a renewed focus on quality and making the games they want to make without working to the creative restrictions of a large, foreign-owned publisher.

“I’ve learned a lot from studio closures, and it’s really changed the entire way I look at and think about working in the industry,” he says.

“If there’s one thing, it’s that we’ve started a whole new chapter of the Australian industry, and at the start of that chapter we have to stand on our own and make damn good games.”


    • Agreed. I always wanted to make games for a living, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from things likes these it’s that higher ups are going to get rid of you. It may be for the economy or because they are jerks (more common) but they WILL do it eventually.Kinda sad really.

      I just want to make games and have fun with others playing them 🙁

  • A good article.

    One point to add is that this isn’t just the way it works for game studios – this is the most-common lifecycle of any IT production house. One thing you never get in the IT industry is job security.

  • I used to actually work on the same street as Pandemic’s horrible yellow building. Around the time that they were shut down, the majority of businesses on the same street also went out of business. The GFC really hit that part of the Valley with a vengeance.

    It wasn’t until THQ set up shop in the same building that it was changed from the disgusting yellow to a more palatable purple.

    Not entirely relevant, but that’s my personal knowledge of the situation.

    On a more related note, I like the idea of a rise in indie development around here. We have the talent, it could just be a case of finding the right group of people to develop the right IP before things turn around.

    Foreign owned publishers getting local developers to make cheap licensed games doesn’t really work when local developers are not necessarily that cheap. That model hasn’t worked and this is the unfortunate result.

  • A really interesting read.

    It looks like a double-edged sword: on the one hand large foreign-owned publishers seem to be necessary to grow some medium or large scale domestic console studios – but at the same time they restrict what employees can create and are liable to pull their funding when conditions get tough.

    It’ll be interesting to find out if it’s even possible for the Australian industry to make awesome games with small teams and without the backing of huge overseas publishers.

  • A very cool read, thanks Tracey.

    Unfortunately, a friend of mine was caught up in the Studio Oz closure, so this gives a bit of an insight into what he went through.

  • It’s not just a sad state for those who work in the industry, but also for those who are working hard to try and step in to the indsutry for the first time.

    There are already very few positons for game devs in Australia at the moment, but when another studio closes that means there will be that many more people all fighting for whatever openings there may be in the industry.

    These extra job-seekers all come with that amount of “industry experience” which ultimately will make them stand out on any list of potential employees, but for someone with less experience it just makes their hopes of getting any job )and therefore any experience) in the indsutry slimmer and slimmer.

    I’m not trying to talk down the situation that the current studios being made redundant are in, I really feel for them all, its just such a sad position that the Australian industry is in at the moment where talented and passionate people are slowly running out of options, until eventually they won’t have any chance to continue doing what they love professionaly.

    • Speaking from experience, if you’re an amateur dev looking to break into the industry, you’d do yourself a favour to work as a dishwasher instead if it means you’d be working on your passion project on the side.

      I’d offer the same advice to anyone doing a degree in ‘games design’. You’re giving someone money to occupy your time while they help you discover something you already know; games are fun.

  • It sux when money gets in the way of creativity. All we need is an proper Aussie publisher to form with their own manufacturing plants (all aussie owned and run), hey whatever happened to Dick Smith saving the world…

    • Publishing is different to manufacturing. Where it says “In an unusual move, they allowed Pandemic to keep the IP they were working on and gave them the opportunity to find a new publisher.” it means that they were looking for someone to fund their project, not just make and distribute copies of it.

  • Same story everywhere it seems… Happened to me in Melbourne; was laid off 3 times in two years after knowing we were treading water for months. Never knew when the axe would fall… Went on half pay sometimes to help lessen the load.

    I was QA and unofficial designer on a project which was completed. Then lost my job, got redunancy pay and was called two days later and offered a new position. I was one of two designers on an unnannounced Wii game for a huge unnamed publisher. It was music dependent and we developed it for over 8 months and still had no official music from our publisher; we felt neglected and it made sense once we got the call that the project was canned before release of the movie it was intended to coincide with. This was due to financial reasons and not the quality of the game.

    So I was back out the door when I managed to snag a writing and designing gig on a decent, albeit very well known license, for a title on the Wii. We successfully released it last last year and were promised another title. That promise fell through and I was in the last group to get chopped – of which there were about 20 of us in the same meeting.

    No more project, Aussie dollar too high.

    I also left them with an original 3DS concept
    That had Square Enix on the phone saying “everyone in the building is behind this. What do we need to do to get it green lit?”

    And that has since fallen through… Not sure how after that feedback though!

    We are no longer cheap and while we were we failed to build our own capital and original IP portfolio.

    It will always be like this if we rely on outside sources for support; we will be slaves… And that’s the reality. We need to build our own portfolio and value that stays inside the economy.

    I’m back at University since it seemed like a safe place to be for 3 years… Then I’m running overseas. Sad that I have to… But that’s the reality at this point!

    • Wow, I’m surprised that anyone wants to work in game development. Sounds like you can be chopped at anytime. I know it’s for the love of what you do but there must come a point where you would want some job security?

      I see what you are saying about not building these studios when we had the chance…so much wasted opportunity and talent.

      It’s sad to hear you have to head overseas to find work, any chance that your square enix game will ever see the light of day?

      • Yeah I think Australia made the mistake of thinking that being subservient to America is a good thing; a sort of security blanket like having an older friend in secondary school. But that older friend will finish school before you do, and so you better learn to stand on your own two feet before that happens… That’s what we didn’t do unfortunately.

        And you’re right, it is for the love and right now I’m collecting a HECs debt for that love… As for job security; yes, hell

      • Sorry, my iPhone had the ‘cancel autocorrect right above ‘publish’ so that last one was premature.

        To continue; Job security, hell yes. It bothers me every day for at least a few seconds… Sometimes up to hours on particular days. The crushing thought of “Is this a smart thing to push toward? Should I be doing something else?”
        But then my brain returns “But what?” and I realize there isn’t anything else I’d rather wake up for every day and there are people out there making their lives with it. If they can, so can we!

        And I think the Squeenix title is dead in limbo; obviously all rights to the idea were forfeit the moment I submitted it. There would be hundreds of potentially amazing games out there, being held by legalities that prevent anyone doing anything because maybe the company will ‘feel like taking it seriously one day’. That really annoys me!

        But, we’ll see!

        The game industry is still young and full of potential; as long as there is demand it will be here. The issue is that such a dynamic industry is governe by static business models that have been around for ages. It just doesnt work anymore; at the very least a company needs a savvy and flexible CEO.

        Anyway, end rant! Thanks for your reply 🙂

  • It’d be nice to see an internationally successful Aussie Publisher. Seems like that might help alleviate some of the international big companies’ aversion to local development here…

    Good to see this sort of content; it’s exactly why I come to Kotaku AU.

  • I think we need to look to the future. Take what was learnt from these closures and start again in the new climate of games development.

    I was at Pandemic and part of the second last round of redundancies, Krome and part of the second round of redundancies and then at THQ (All within 10 months) where I was lucky enough to finish up well before the closure. However depressing and agonising it is to see your hard work gone and your friends without jobs so much can be learned.

    After leaving THQ I started a small indie company in Brisbane. Like most small companies it is a hard road but I have faith.
    I don’t believe the Brissy games industry is as doomed as it looks right now. With some strong small new development companies like popping up everywhere with impressive work, plus a lot of Indie developers working in spare time the industry will build again.


  • I was one of the employees caught by the sadness of Bluetongue’s closure. All I can say as a developer is that its emotionally and physically draining .The jobs currently available in Melbourne are few and far between, especially for people with rather niche skill sets, i.e UI Artists, Combat Designers. I really hope the Melbourne game dev’s will help support the local industry, there is so much talent here, it would be a shame to lose it all to Canada.

  • It has nothing to do with “the economy” its because the games they make suck balls. Game companies are all about hierarchy which is their downfall. Sure there may be a ton of talent in the studio….but ultimately the boss decides what IP idea to pursue, and usually his ideas are the worst, and no one will say anything because he’s the boss. Then they blame it on the economy why no one invests in their IP, no, they won’t invest because you haven’t made anything good. People have high standards when they play games, but they don’t use those same critical high standards to judge their own work. Big mistake

  • Very sad…

    I work in IT as a developer, and I’ve decided a while ago that I would NEVER apply for a job in the gaming industry, despite how much I love games. The unstable job climate is one thing, but also because I’m afraid that I would start to despise gaming if it became my full-time job. Similar to if you work at a fast food joint, you’d get sick of the food there…

  • I used to want to work in the games industry. In the past few years I’ve been to four interviews (not gotten any of them, though I’ve come close).

    Three of the four places I interviewed at have since closed.

    As others say, this may be the way of IT companies in general, which is why I do IT but not for IT companies.

  • I remember the ‘2 meetings’ Craig was talking about. Sadly, I was in ‘meeting #1’ and had that tap on the shoulder from the bosses.

    I will never forget that feeling. The rumour mill swirled around the office – people were typing away at their computers to friends in the same office and those in the other offices (Brissy, Melbourne, Adelaide) and there was this horrible sense of dread. You’d pass people by in the corridors and say ‘hello’ like you normally would, but both you and the other guy could tell something was just not right.

    Hours would pass, and I distinctly remember feeling sick and just angry – we all knew something was happening (we had even read rumour reports on Kotaku and Sumea that something was up BEFORE being given official announcements by our own management). Everyone starts guessing what might happen: ‘He’ll be ok, he’s on x project’ or ‘That project doesn’t look too good, I think that team is probably first to go’.

    It was honestly just hours of sitting around and waiting for something you knew was coming, and in the meantime being told to ‘work like it was a normal day’, which is just impossible. Finally, after lunch, the bosses start walking around and tapping people on the shoulder, and its a strange mix of feelings: relief? Disbelief?

    You go into the meeting room with the managers, and I’m surrounded by amazingly talented guys: some of whom had been at the company a long long time. Seeing these people gave me hope. ‘Maybe this isn’t the same as the last round of layoffs? They can’t possibly be firing x or y’. But no, we’re all told we’re going. With no redundany payout.

    Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I, like a lot of people I know, changed career after that.

    To those who are studying a games degree, I urge you to really think about what you want. Yes the industry can be fun and yes it will be rewarding if you work your ass off, just like any other job. But the security is not there and you must be completely committed to your career and be prepared for a lot of ups and downs.

  • Damn straight! The best is ahead of us and I look forward to watching this new chapter unfold. A focus on quality is exactly what the industry needs. Good luck to all the other upstarts 😀

  • Honestly, I got about a quarter of the way through before I realised how sheltered an existence these guys live. If this is news for anyone out there, you live a sheltered existence, too.

    That is life. Nothing too difficult to comprehend. People have experienced much worse workplace tribulations, and to be honest, I didn’t hear one story or rape, murder, or war, anywhere in the story.

    Sure, it sucks, but it’s not new, it’s not going to stop, it happens all the time, and at least they didn’t get pack raped in the arse.

    • While we’re at it lets just stop posting articles about new games or discussing such things… after all it happens all the time.

      It doesn’t matter that there are worse things in the world. Children are starving in Africa and were complaining about video games? The nerve! But really it’s still a real problem. Job security is always an issue. The economy is always an issue. We’ll stop talking about it when companies keep growing, games keep improving, and companies stop shutting down.

  • As a programming student studying at a game college and graduating this year, I’m feeling pretty grim.

    Good article.

  • gah, thats so sad, i remember destroy all humans 2, it was a fantastic game! when i heard pandemic was closing down, i was shattered, especially since it was my dream to be a games designer back then (still is sort of now, but not as much as back then)

  • Definitely not a nice time to be trying to get a job in the industry. I got laid off from Visceral at the end of 09, and from Blue Tongue this year a month or 2 before they shut. Neither of those rounds of redundancy made big news, and I consider myself lucky to be laid off before everyone else. I’m no longer working in the “Games” industry, but I have atleast found stable programming work, and now that I am no longer under contract, I am able to work on my own games outside of work. I hope everyone in the last few horror months manages to find work, cos they’re an incredibly talented, hard working bunch of great people.

  • HR and their handling of layoffs are an absolute blight on the games industry. All the time, effort and money they spend trying to work on staff education, skills development, productivity and morale disappear down a drain when they blindside staff with dehumanising instant layoffs. Everyone who’s left automatically knows that they are just another brick in the wall.

    How many of us would respect and respond professionally to a statement like: ‘Hey Guys, times are a bit tough for us, and there’s a risk that we might have to shut down in a few months unless there’s a turn around. You’ll continue receiving a paycheck, we’ll keep you up to date. In return we’d appreciate you continuing to work as hard as possible.’

    The company would lose some people who got spooked and ran off, but I think you’d gain in solidarity, focus and effort from those who didn’t.

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