Publisher Project Cancelled At Double Fine, 12 Employees Let Go

Not long ago, we were talking about the massive, even pioneering, success of Double Fine's Kickstarter to make a game it wanted to make, to escape the random, rogue-like survivability of sustaining one's game business on the whims of publishers. In a sad twist, it's a canned project from a publisher that has led to DF letting 12 of its staff go.

There's not much to say; Gamasutra's Christian Nutt received the following short statement from Double Fine's Tim Schafer:

"One of our unannounced projects was unexpectedly cancelled by its publisher, forcing us to reduce our staff by 12 people. Our remaining projects — Broken Age, Massive Chalice, and Grim Fandango Remastered, were unaffected."

At first glance, you might be wondering why DF would have to let anyone go, after not one, but two wildly successful Kickstarters and even cutting back on the original scope of Broken Age to save money and putting it up on Steam to generate income. Unfortunately, game development doesn't quite work that way.

The likely scenario is that DF recruited staff explicitly for that project and while some developers and publishers might be in a position to keep staff on until something new rolls around, with their salaries paid for by other projects, it's a tougher proposition for an independent. Sometimes it's better to keep projects — and the staff associated with them — compartmentalised.

Double Fine loses a project, and lays off 12 staff [Gamasutra]


Comments

    Between this and what they did to Spacebase DF9 I really think there is some truly terrible mismanagement going on at DF

      What in this story indicates to you a cancelled project due to mismanagement? Other than saying "but, but, Spacebase DF9!", which is entirely another case.

        A lack of foresight and preparedness for a 'worse case scenario' (or at least a lack of clear dialogue between their own company and the publisher, decisions like cancelling projects aren't made on a simple whim). Nowhere did I say "but, but, Spacebase DF9!"

          None of what you mentioned appeared in this article or the source.
          Once again, what in this story indicates to you a cancelled project due to mismanagement?

          Currently you are stating mismanagement by conflation with SDF9, that's a narrative not present but for your inclusion. What I would like to know is how you came to the conclusion that an unannounced project was cancelled due to mismanagement, when there is nothing to indicate such a thing.
          I hear that an unannounced project is cancelled and my first thoughts are "that's common in this industry, I'm more surprised that we heard about it than it occurring ".

          Edit: Always important to put an 'n' after an 'a' in an.

          Last edited 23/11/14 4:33 pm

      Considering they had $3.3million and they only managed to make half of a game, yeah, Doublefine has some serious issues.

      (And I am still totally mad about SBDF9

    At first glance, you might be wondering why DF would have to let anyone go, after[...]and even cutting back on the original scope of Broken Age to save money and putting it up on Steam to generate income.

    This doesn't make me wonder why they let people go. On the contrary, it makes a fair bit of sense. Clearly they couldn't afford to keep them after losing the project.

    I really enjoyed Broken Age Act 1; I hope Act 2 isn't too far away.

    This is sad, but it does make sense.

    They probably hired people to work on this project that was being paid for by a publisher, so the money that the publisher is giving to DF was most likely going into paying these people their salaries. If the case is that these people were already working there, they may have been let go anyway had DF not found more work through other publishers (they're developers after all, not a money pit).

    Hopefully these people will find some more work and be back on their feet soon.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now