With the news of Telltale's closure, many gaming developers and gamers alike were both shocked and not surprised. Not because of the output necessarily, but between the sales numbers and the negative reports surrounding the work environment.
It's a difficult situation to be in and it is heartening to see so many big names in the industry rally together for the 250 plus employees suddenly kicked to the curb with no warning. But this isn't something new, and Telltale is not alone in its sudden plummet in direction. The industry is changing, and that means financially as well. Because of that, there is instability in it within the age of cut, ship, fire.
Below is a list of studios that have closed in the last 12 months with how many employees affected. This loss affects the employees, it affects the gaming community, it affects the infrastructure of stability as a whole.
The sudden closure of Visceral Games kickstarted a whirlwind of emotions in the gaming industry and what seems to be a war of Us vs. Them regarding EA and the rest of the gaming community. This was incredibly apparent at this year's Game Awards and PlayStation Experience as big names in the industry made it clear that they did not agree with Electronic Arts' grand statement that players "do not want" linear, single-player games. That very narrative from the mega publisher lead to the Visceral Game closure, where they were working on a highly anticipated linear Star Wars game. EA scrapped it saying there was no value, and is currently restructuring the given material into an online experience.
This shut down affected approximately 80 team members.
Gears of War / Lawbreakers alum Cliff Bleszinski announced the closer of his studio Boss Key Productions after Lawbreakers failed to deliver and his take on Battle Royale with Radical Heights never left ground.
“Four years ago I set out to make a
Approximately 60 team members lost their jobs.
An ex-employee, who spoke to Massively OP under anonymity, explained the situation when the Marvel Heroes studio shut down abruptly right before the holiday season started last year:
“The ex-employee says he was terminated as of today, that Gazillion is being shut down entirely, and that Marvel Heroes will sunset this coming Friday, not at the end of the year as originally announced,” Massively OP noted. “The termination letter written by CEO Dave Dohrmann was shared with Massively OP and claims that banking creditors have effectively pulled the plug on the company, leading to the termination of almost every employee at the studio and the apparent renege of benefits including accrued PTO.”
Nearly 200 team members lost their jobs.
Even more than the previously mentioned studios alongside Telltale Games, Dead Rising's Capcom Vancouver saw 158 jobs lost. Surpreme Commander's Wargaming Seattle saw over 150 team members suddenly jobless.
Drawn to Death's The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency saw 150 jobs lost. Torchlight's Runic, Wildstar's Carbine, Gigantic's Motiga - all with numerous team members affected.
The Video Game industry is in no way new, but it has seen rapid growth at alarming rates in recent years. Because of this, deadlines are constant - often time with less preparation time than required, team members are constantly shifting, and the gaming audience is always evolving.0comments
God of War director Cory Barlog is one of many, many voices rising up to help those lost find new assignments - new teams - to settle in with. If you or someone you know has been affected by a recent shut down, please consider sharing this Google Doc with a list of developers looking for work and how to help support them during this transitory time.
A huge thank you to PC Gamer for the numbers of employees affected.