The Heartwarming Response To The Closure Of 2K Australia

The Heartwarming Response To The Closure Of 2K Australia

Late last week 2K Australia closed down in Canberra. It was the last of the ‘AAA’ studios in Australia, a final reminder that, in a different time, Australians once helped make major, big budget games for consoles.

But what about those people who lost their jobs in the process? What happens to them? That’s where #2kAusJobs, created by Aussie developer Josh Caratelli, comes in.

More than sympathy, more than condolences – #2kAusJobs was a practical, efficient, crowd-sourced response to the closure of 2K Australia; a means to helping those who just lost their jobs find new ones.

#2kAusJobs started life as a simple shared Google Document. Before long it was its own hashtag and a comprehensive list of just about every single available job in the Games Industry, both in Australia and abroad.

“In light of 2K Australia closing its doors today, as a community we’re gathering a list of employers looking to hire people,” Josh Caratelli wrote on the now sprawling document.

“If you know a game development company hiring, please leave their application website or application email address below under the respective fields (Australia or International).

“There’s some amazingly talented friendly devs coming out of there who recently released Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!

“Please tweet your jobs with the #2KAusJobs hashtag on Twitter.”

Josh Caratelli is a talented young developer developer studying and working out of Melbourne. At the age of 18 years old he’s already won awards, spoken on panels at PAX Australia and currently works out of the largest burgeoning hotbed of new talent in Australia: The Arcade, a communal workspace shared by a large number of small development teams working on their own projects.

He started #2kAusJobs for many reasons. But first and foremost, he wanted to pay back a favour – to former 2K Australia Technical Director Adam Boyle.

“While I’ve never met him in person,” Josh said, “he’s always taken the time of day — even several years ago when I was a fourteen year old nobody — to answer my questions. His personality accurately reflects everyone who worked there. I figured whether he knew it or not, that since he had helped me out so much over the years, it was my turn to pay it back and help him and others out.”

The second reason: many of those who lost jobs in the closure of 2k Australia had families. Uprooting those families and moving overseas – like many may have to do – would be extremely difficult. Josh wanted to help create a resource that would have some sort of focus on work available in Australia.

He took inspiration from the #MaxisJobs hashtag, created by Bryanna Lindsay, in the wake of that studio’s closure. Josh figured if he took the initiative he could make sure Australian jobs were highlighted first, alongside international ones.

“For those like Adam, who have families, it means that uprooting and moving overseas or going indie aren’t the only visible options available to remain in the game development industry. There are actually a lot of opportunities, as you can tell from the document, which are available in Australia.”

The shared Google Document created by Josh grew rapidly. Local developers added available jobs. Some, like Hipster Whale, dropped past to offer their support. International developers also came by to add jobs from overseas.

According to Josh, the document was regularly capped out at the 50 person limit Google sets for people editing a single document. Many people got in contact with Josh: they couldn’t get into the document — too many people were trying to add jobs at the exact same time.

At time of writing there are 75 jobs posted on the #2kAusJob document, 33 of which are Australian. It was a tremendous effort started by Josh, supported by the tight-knit games development community in Australia and beyond.

“2KAus was a game development icon in Australia,” explains Josh. “It doesn’t take long to find out quite a few of your friends either worked or knew someone who worked there.”

“One positive out of this mess is that it showed, as a global community, how everyone in the industry, from students to veterans, came together to support these talented developers who have now lost their jobs. I’m sure in a few months’ time when this all blows over, the developers who once worked there will be back to doing what they love and will be making games – that is if they haven’t started already.”

If you have any jobs that might fit the bill, you can add to the #2kAusJobs document here.


    • I guess; “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to Work in Australia.”
      But honestly, it could be anything.

      • Because his government has made it legal for a small business (< 15 people) to fire you any time they like if you’ve worked for them less than 12 months, or 6 months for businesses > 15 people. Also, Hockey specifically cut Games industry funding. Among other things. So yeah – friends of the common working man like you and me, and games devs particularly, they’re not.

        • I’m sure that’s the reason why 2K international did it… Absolutely no other factors whatsoever.

          EDIT: Are we saying that TPS was cobbled together in less than a year and all were new employees dismissed due to probation period laws?

          • Added the funding issue – ‘unfair dismissal’ likely to be an added ‘sweetener’ in some cases, but industry funding likely to be a more ‘meaty’ consideration …

          • But hey – we’re the ‘clever country’, right ? Never mind we’re cutting industry funding to interactive entertainment or the CSIRO … as long as our coal miners and other ‘old world’ resources companies keep getting their industry rebates and tax concessions, we’re set for the future …

          • The clever country that wants 300% to manufacture and produce what others do all paid for by the magic money tree.

          • Hey, if we play smart like the guys and girls behind Relenza or Gardisil (or Fruit Ninja) we can get a premium for commercialising UNIQUE ideas that no-one else has. But yes – our manufacturing sector is far from unique – ditto our resources sector – that’s why we need to be smart like Singapore or some of our other neighbours, and make ourselves a ‘knowledge economy’ instead of one driven by the (dying) resources ‘boom’ and the (dead) ghost of manufacturing lumpy goods.

          • Absolutely but then we scare them away by saying we’re going to tax you into oblivion for being successful…. And they go back to Singapore.

        • Because his government has made it legal for a small business (< 15 people) to fire you any time they like if you’ve worked for them less than 12 months, or 6 months for businesses > 15 people.

          The qualifying periods you mention have been in the Fair Work Act 2009 since its inception (see section 383) under the Rudd Government.

          I get that you dislike the Abbott Government, but try sticking to facts.

      • Anyone still defending Abbott on anything at this point is just a blind fool that only votes for the Libs because they always have most likely because thats what their parents did. Do a little research and make your own mind up. The Abbott government really havent helped anyone if it dosent help them.

        • Take out Liberal replace with any other political party and tell me it makes any difference….

          Any “blind fool” could see that… The worst thing about your comment is your total disregard for anyone else and thinking you’re the smartest on the planet.

  • Also reminds me of the #38jobs hashtag from a few years ago after the closure of 38 Studios & Big Huge Games. Wonderful way to do some good for the local industry.

      • I lol’d, but I should elaborate because that’s not what I meant at all!

        Game development is a narrow specialisation in the otherwise gigantic field of software engineering. Game dev degrees are an anomaly because they set you up for an industry that really doesn’t care about your qualifications. Infact its very hard to get a job if your only experience is your uni portfolio. (“Just make games” – Morgan Jaffit)

        Studying software engineering doesn’t preclude you from being a game developer, but studying game dev restricts you to a narrow field that doesn’t value your narrow degree.

        Fortunately 2K is a great springboard so these devs will probably have no problems finding jobs, but its also kind of sad because there are a ton of unemployed game devs in Australia right now who can’t find anything and would benefit from a broader degree.

    • I have a couple friends who are studying games technology at Uni here in Perth. I pretended to be very surprised when they told me all their units are mining simulation focused. On the flip side, the other unit option for them was games production, which just involves making simple flash/ mobile games. Laced with corporate networking of course.

      So studying game dev at uni is subjectively the wrong way about learning how to make games anyway. Apparently the TAFE courses are more comprehensive when it comes to learning how to code and make games (And things other than mining simulators).

  • I found it both sad and ironic that when news of the closer of 2k australia happened, most non aussies and kiwis were blaming it on the presequel because the game catered towards our humour and pop culture instead being the same old american references and humours because they didnt understand our humour. Hell just look at everysingle review for the presequel, if it was from the USA the game was marked down because the it had no humour, but if it was from here or NZ it was rated up because of the humor

  • It’s a real shame, too. I hecka enjoyed Pre-Sequel and am just about to start True Vault Hunter mode on it. While Borderlands 2 is the better game overall, going back and playing it, I really missed the cryo weapons, laser weapons, zero atmosphere and butt slams, as well as the vault hunters having a larger speaking role this time around.

    I guess we’re not getting any more DLC for this, are we?

    • I think you might be right. Which is shame because Borderlands has the best DLC, hands down.

  • Good luck to all, I was made redundant last sept and still looking for work…it’s not getting any easier out their regardless what bs govts of the day are spouting…

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