Update: Icarus Studios Responds to Closure Report

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Update: Icarus Studios Responds to Closure Report

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Icarus Studios has contacted The Escapist in response to previously-reported news that the Fallen Earth developer had closed its doors.

Earlier today, we reported that an inside source had told The Escapist that Fallen Earth developer Icarus Studios had boarded up shop. Representatives from Icarus Studios have contacted us to clarify the events of this morning. According to marketing manager Jessica Orr, the information from our insider was inaccurate, and Icarus has not closed, though it has undergone severe restructuring.

According to Orr, Icarus still retains 28 employees in addition to GMs and customer support, and did it provide a time by which the laid-off employees had to leave. The studio has not sold any equipment: "[O]ur sound and mocap studios are intact, as well as all office resources."

"The game is actually performing quite well," said Orr. "[S]ubscriptions are doing well and we are on schedule to release the Blood Sports Patch 1.4 next week (including PvP arenas, clan wars, a new achievements system and a new content area, Deadfall); we are also on schedule for all content patches and development beyond the May 7 patch."

So, there you have it - one of our sources says one thing, and the official word says something completely different.

"While the decisions made this morning were difficult, overall they will prove health for our company and the game as a whole," said Orr. For the sake of those working on - and playing - the game, I can only hope she's right.

Update: According to Triangle news site The Observer's business section, the total number of positions cut was a painful-sounding 75, reducing Icarus' staff from 110 people to just 35.

Icarus co-founder and CEO James Hettinger has also left the company, though Icarus' Jessica Orr (who contacted us as seen above) stressed that Hettinger's resignation was completely voluntary. Phillip Hall, former VP of production, will take the helm as acting CEO in Hettinger's absence.

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Well that's good to hear. The title on the other thread quickly confused me.

Funny mishap though.

I wonder who that inside source was then. If they ever find out, Mr. Funk will have to change that number to "27 employees."

inside source i can almost tell was a pissed off ex employee all companies do a downsize and dont forget his company had alot of projects going and seems they shut them down to do a full 100% focus on FE their money maker. Unless u hear it directly from icarus dont beleave it. and i for 1 can tell u the games doin great as im subed on it and population has been growing and even old players have begun returning. :-)

fatboy21007:
inside source i can almost tell was a pissed off ex employee all companies do a downsize and dont forget his company had alot of projects going and seems they shut them down to do a full 100% focus on FE their money maker. Unless u hear it directly from icarus dont beleave it. and i for 1 can tell u the games doin great as im subed on it and population has been growing and even old players have begun returning. :-)

Just as an FYI, people with extremely low post counts aren't particularly reliable sources either, dude. ;)

Russ Pitts:

fatboy21007:
inside source i can almost tell was a pissed off ex employee all companies do a downsize and dont forget his company had alot of projects going and seems they shut them down to do a full 100% focus on FE their money maker. Unless u hear it directly from icarus dont beleave it. and i for 1 can tell u the games doin great as im subed on it and population has been growing and even old players have begun returning. :-)

Just as an FYI, people with extremely low post counts aren't particularly reliable sources either, dude. ;)

Noooo! Now no one will take my plans for world domination seriously.

On topic, it seems like Icarus responded within an hour of the original, possibly inaccurate story. Maybe you should give them a little more of a chance to respond before too much FUD gets out... but I know it's easy to critique in hindsight (and companies aren't usually too forthcoming on such things).

fatboy21007:
ahh dont take ur anger out on me cuz u screwed up and posted the wrong info from sum angry turd who misimformed you. cuz if ud go Visit the FE fourms then welp ud know the truth :-P ok u can ban me from this site u guys already killed off ur rep. and well i never use i use good sites that get the facts directly from the company. Peace. hope to see u in FE sumday so i can give ya a good ass kicking :-)

I can assure you, we have very good reason to trust our sources. As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle - and if you could read well, you'd see that we'd sourced the post on the FE forums already :)

BTW, threatening staff is a no-no. See ya.

zeroReactivity:

Russ Pitts:

fatboy21007:
inside source i can almost tell was a pissed off ex employee all companies do a downsize and dont forget his company had alot of projects going and seems they shut them down to do a full 100% focus on FE their money maker. Unless u hear it directly from icarus dont beleave it. and i for 1 can tell u the games doin great as im subed on it and population has been growing and even old players have begun returning. :-)

Just as an FYI, people with extremely low post counts aren't particularly reliable sources either, dude. ;)

Noooo! Now no one will take my plans for world domination seriously.

On topic, it seems like Icarus responded within an hour of the original, possibly inaccurate story. Maybe you should give them a little more of a chance to respond before too much FUD gets out... but I know it's easy to critique in hindsight (and companies aren't usually too forthcoming on such things).

We're in contact with Icarus. We have a generally good relationship with them. I'm confident that whatever the truth is here, it will become clear in time. Stay tuned!

Yeah, does anyone else see the trend of letting go all of the Dev staff after games are published? Like these companies are set up for single hit wonders or something. Take for example AA3.

Russ Pitts:

We're in contact with Icarus. We have a generally good relationship with them. I'm confident that whatever the truth is here, it will become clear in time. Stay tuned!

Cool. Yeah, I always find it scary how mass layoffs can just happen like that- a few hours and you're out. I know that's pretty standard practice across many types of companies large and small and for various reasons, but it's hardly reassuring. Even at the end of internships I've had the "security will fry your PC and escort you to the gate now" treatment. It's understandable but not the most pleasant way to end. Good luck to the ex-Icarii!

Just goes to show how (presumably) anonymous sources aren't the bottom line in any news. Good news for the folks who keep their jobs then, not so for the rest.

zeroReactivity:

Russ Pitts:

We're in contact with Icarus. We have a generally good relationship with them. I'm confident that whatever the truth is here, it will become clear in time. Stay tuned!

Cool. Yeah, I always find it scary how mass layoffs can just happen like that- a few hours and you're out. I know that's pretty standard practice across many types of companies large and small and for various reasons, but it's hardly reassuring. Even at the end of internships I've had the "security will fry your PC and escort you to the gate now" treatment. It's understandable but not the most pleasant way to end. Good luck to the ex-Icarii!

I saw it happen first-hand, long ago in my past life. People go into a room with a job, walk out crying with a box and are gone within the hour. It's never fun. For anyone.

Well thats good news although im not really sure how it bodes for their MMO. If it is growing, hopefully it can prop up the company, but anytime "restructuring" takes place you know their profit margins are not what they should be. I don't play their game but hopefully for the people that do, this ends well and gives them more content and support in the future.

Russ Pitts:

zeroReactivity:

Russ Pitts:

We're in contact with Icarus. We have a generally good relationship with them. I'm confident that whatever the truth is here, it will become clear in time. Stay tuned!

Cool. Yeah, I always find it scary how mass layoffs can just happen like that- a few hours and you're out. I know that's pretty standard practice across many types of companies large and small and for various reasons, but it's hardly reassuring. Even at the end of internships I've had the "security will fry your PC and escort you to the gate now" treatment. It's understandable but not the most pleasant way to end. Good luck to the ex-Icarii!

I saw it happen first-hand, long ago in my past life. People go into a room with a job, walk out crying with a box and are gone within the hour. It's never fun. For anyone.

I'm too young to have seen that happen, so I can only imagine. How can a company justify not giving the laid off employees at least a week's notice?

This is good news. I've been debating picking up FE recently...seems like it would totally be up my alley game-wise. Glad to hear that they're still actively releasing content!

I still need to get more money to pay monthly, if only they offered lifetime... I really do hope they're doing fine and they will continue to do so, because I want to be able to return to the game.

Still, I'll keep my hopes low just on the off-chance this turns sour.

i didnt even know this game was already out lol. i need to do more research..

John Funk:

fatboy21007:
ahh dont take ur anger out on me cuz u screwed up and posted the wrong info from sum angry turd who misimformed you. cuz if ud go Visit the FE fourms then welp ud know the truth :-P ok u can ban me from this site u guys already killed off ur rep. and well i never use i use good sites that get the facts directly from the company. Peace. hope to see u in FE sumday so i can give ya a good ass kicking :-)

I can assure you, we have very good reason to trust our sources. As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle - and if you could read well, you'd see that we'd sourced the post on the FE forums already :)

BTW, threatening staff is a no-no. See ya.

Now really, this is just silly. Was this guy "threatening staff" when he said he was going to "kick your ass in Fallen Earth?" (clearly he meant PvP). The fact remains it's sad when anyone can check the company's website and forums, and read the post by the community manager, and be more informed than the supposed 'experts' at the Escapist and their "sources" (as a few have said, likely a very angry former or current employee). Sure, there's been an internal shakeup, some people let go, and 'restructuring' which is always company speak for 'downsizing' 'letting people go' etc. and maybe lead/creative developer Lee Hammock left for a reason, and maybe he didn't. It's a sad day when Massively gets the story closer to correct than Escapist does, and doesn't end up having to print an "update"/retraction and end up with their foot planted firmly in mouth. Really, that's just amateur hour stuff guys, you're better than this.

Long time lurker, longer time reader,

"Rayne"

Edit: To further clarify, I am not threatening staff, (I don't even PvP in FE, though I do play it). I generally prefer your guys news reporting to Massively and the like, because it's generally more accurate, or at least a dang sight more funny. This is most assuradly NOT good news for Icarus, but it's not "company is closing it's doors" news either, to be that far off the mark...well. Let's just say if I were Icarus right now, I might be wondering how much damage this news story did to my rep, and if there was any form of liable action I could take...hence why you guys should be more careful when you're posting "breaking news" like that, or at least cooroberate with more than one "source". It's true the truth of it is likely somewhere in the middle, but I'd be worried right now if I were working this one. Of course, if I were working at Icarus, I'd probably STILL be worried...

Its a fun game. Very different from many 1-click-combat MMO's. Not everyone's cup of tea, but its nice to have something different.

I agree. The crafting system reminds me of early SWG (the only part of early SWG that was that good).

Regardless of who got this article right, going from "over 100 employees" (source: Icarus' own website) to 28 is one hell of a restructuring. If you have to lay off about 75% of your workforce in one go, something is very wrong.

Precocious Rayne:

John Funk:

fatboy21007:
ahh dont take ur anger out on me cuz u screwed up and posted the wrong info from sum angry turd who misimformed you. cuz if ud go Visit the FE fourms then welp ud know the truth :-P ok u can ban me from this site u guys already killed off ur rep. and well i never use i use good sites that get the facts directly from the company. Peace. hope to see u in FE sumday so i can give ya a good ass kicking :-)

I can assure you, we have very good reason to trust our sources. As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle - and if you could read well, you'd see that we'd sourced the post on the FE forums already :)

BTW, threatening staff is a no-no. See ya.

Now really, this is just silly. Was this guy "threatening staff" when he said he was going to "kick your ass in Fallen Earth?" (clearly he meant PvP). The fact remains it's sad when anyone can check the company's website and forums, and read the post by the community manager, and be more informed than the supposed 'experts' at the Escapist and their "sources" (as a few have said, likely a very angry former or current employee). Sure, there's been an internal shakeup, some people let go, and 'restructuring' which is always company speak for 'downsizing' 'letting people go' etc. and maybe lead/creative developer Lee Hammock left for a reason, and maybe he didn't. It's a sad day when Massively gets the story closer to correct than Escapist does, and doesn't end up having to print an "update"/retraction and end up with their foot planted firmly in mouth. Really, that's just amateur hour stuff guys, you're better than this.

Long time lurker, longer time reader,

"Rayne"

Edit: To further clarify, I am not threatening staff, (I don't even PvP in FE, though I do play it). I generally prefer your guys news reporting to Massively and the like, because it's generally more accurate, or at least a dang sight more funny. This is most assuradly NOT good news for Icarus, but it's not "company is closing it's doors" news either, to be that far off the mark...well. Let's just say if I were Icarus right now, I might be wondering how much damage this news story did to my rep, and if there was any form of liable action I could take...hence why you guys should be more careful when you're posting "breaking news" like that, or at least cooroberate with more than one "source". It's true the truth of it is likely somewhere in the middle, but I'd be worried right now if I were working this one. Of course, if I were working at Icarus, I'd probably STILL be worried...

This site is trying to beat all the bloggers and their twitter accounts. If they actually cite their sources like any of the old media publications they would have journalistic integrity but they would also be beaten to the punch every time.

Your best bet is not to listen to any news until you can follow their sources. It may seem foolish but with mainstream media always pushing political angles and online media being no better than tabloids you don't have much choice.

On topic, restructuring always means massive firings and with the company so quick to defend its position rather than let it show as a mark against the Escapist's ability to do research, they're going down in flames.

hypothetical fact:

Precocious Rayne:

John Funk:

fatboy21007:
ahh dont take ur anger out on me cuz u screwed up and posted the wrong info from sum angry turd who misimformed you. cuz if ud go Visit the FE fourms then welp ud know the truth :-P ok u can ban me from this site u guys already killed off ur rep. and well i never use i use good sites that get the facts directly from the company. Peace. hope to see u in FE sumday so i can give ya a good ass kicking :-)

I can assure you, we have very good reason to trust our sources. As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle - and if you could read well, you'd see that we'd sourced the post on the FE forums already :)

BTW, threatening staff is a no-no. See ya.

Now really, this is just silly. Was this guy "threatening staff" when he said he was going to "kick your ass in Fallen Earth?" (clearly he meant PvP). The fact remains it's sad when anyone can check the company's website and forums, and read the post by the community manager, and be more informed than the supposed 'experts' at the Escapist and their "sources" (as a few have said, likely a very angry former or current employee). Sure, there's been an internal shakeup, some people let go, and 'restructuring' which is always company speak for 'downsizing' 'letting people go' etc. and maybe lead/creative developer Lee Hammock left for a reason, and maybe he didn't. It's a sad day when Massively gets the story closer to correct than Escapist does, and doesn't end up having to print an "update"/retraction and end up with their foot planted firmly in mouth. Really, that's just amateur hour stuff guys, you're better than this.

Long time lurker, longer time reader,

"Rayne"

Edit: To further clarify, I am not threatening staff, (I don't even PvP in FE, though I do play it). I generally prefer your guys news reporting to Massively and the like, because it's generally more accurate, or at least a dang sight more funny. This is most assuradly NOT good news for Icarus, but it's not "company is closing it's doors" news either, to be that far off the mark...well. Let's just say if I were Icarus right now, I might be wondering how much damage this news story did to my rep, and if there was any form of liable action I could take...hence why you guys should be more careful when you're posting "breaking news" like that, or at least cooroberate with more than one "source". It's true the truth of it is likely somewhere in the middle, but I'd be worried right now if I were working this one. Of course, if I were working at Icarus, I'd probably STILL be worried...

This site is trying to beat all the bloggers and their twitter accounts. If they actually cite their sources like any of the old media publications they would have journalistic integrity but they would also be beaten to the punch every time.

Your best bet is not to listen to any news until you can follow their sources. It may seem foolish but with mainstream media always pushing political angles and online media being no better than tabloids you don't have much choice.

On topic, restructuring always means massive firings and with the company so quick to defend its position rather than let it show as a mark against the Escapist's ability to do research, they're going down in flames.

Erm, I think you'll find that "old media publications" used anonymous inside sources quite often. There can be reasons we don't name names, you know. Or have you never heard of Deep Throat?

Precocious Rayne:

John Funk:

fatboy21007:
ahh dont take ur anger out on me cuz u screwed up and posted the wrong info from sum angry turd who misimformed you. cuz if ud go Visit the FE fourms then welp ud know the truth :-P ok u can ban me from this site u guys already killed off ur rep. and well i never use i use good sites that get the facts directly from the company. Peace. hope to see u in FE sumday so i can give ya a good ass kicking :-)

I can assure you, we have very good reason to trust our sources. As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle - and if you could read well, you'd see that we'd sourced the post on the FE forums already :)

BTW, threatening staff is a no-no. See ya.

Now really, this is just silly. Was this guy "threatening staff" when he said he was going to "kick your ass in Fallen Earth?" (clearly he meant PvP). The fact remains it's sad when anyone can check the company's website and forums, and read the post by the community manager, and be more informed than the supposed 'experts' at the Escapist and their "sources" (as a few have said, likely a very angry former or current employee). Sure, there's been an internal shakeup, some people let go, and 'restructuring' which is always company speak for 'downsizing' 'letting people go' etc. and maybe lead/creative developer Lee Hammock left for a reason, and maybe he didn't. It's a sad day when Massively gets the story closer to correct than Escapist does, and doesn't end up having to print an "update"/retraction and end up with their foot planted firmly in mouth. Really, that's just amateur hour stuff guys, you're better than this.

Long time lurker, longer time reader,

"Rayne"

Edit: To further clarify, I am not threatening staff, (I don't even PvP in FE, though I do play it). I generally prefer your guys news reporting to Massively and the like, because it's generally more accurate, or at least a dang sight more funny. This is most assuradly NOT good news for Icarus, but it's not "company is closing it's doors" news either, to be that far off the mark...well. Let's just say if I were Icarus right now, I might be wondering how much damage this news story did to my rep, and if there was any form of liable action I could take...hence why you guys should be more careful when you're posting "breaking news" like that, or at least cooroberate with more than one "source". It's true the truth of it is likely somewhere in the middle, but I'd be worried right now if I were working this one. Of course, if I were working at Icarus, I'd probably STILL be worried...

To threaten staff in FE is one thing, to appear to be threatening to kick someone's ass in real life is another thing entirely - though I can see how that would have been a misreading.

I can assure you, we were not just going off of a random insider tip. We have good reason to consider the original source trustworthy, which is why we've left the original story up as is, instead of issuing a retraction - at the moment, we're hearing contradictory reports from two sources we consider trustworthy, and don't feel that we can 100% say either way which is right and which is wrong.

I totally called it. That's what you get for listening to fanboys saying that the game is perfect and if you don't like it then GGET OUT!

I would much rather grind my butt off 5 hours a day in Aion than play FE ever again. One of the most boring, empty and ugly MMOs I've ever seen.

Disgruntled ex-employees, what ARE we going to do with them?

Hope they can take losing their job i guess.

That said, i guess it's good news FE's still going strong, i'd play it if it was a one-off fee compared to subscription.

you do realize this is like having someone stand in-front of a train wreck waving a flag and shouting "EVERYTHING IS OKAY! GO BACK HOME!", right?

of course, please realize that no marketing manager in his or her right mind would ever publickly say that their company is closing up while there is money to be made.

so with that in mind, we might see Icarus Studios coming back strong in a couple of months or more.

I know personally a few people that work(ed) at Icarus, and it was a surprise to all of them - yesterday morning, they were just told to GTFO.

In particular, the guy I'm closest to did all of the mechanical (non-character) animations for FE, and I can say that the guy is a real pro, and really good at what he does. I was a TA in his classes for the first half of his 3D/animation college until I graduated. Nothing quite like putting your soul into building something huge from nothing, then being told to go home once it's successful.

At least some of the ex-Icarii(?) will be reading this, so do try to have some empathy for the new folks in the unemployment line.

I feel bad for everyone who lost their job.
However, the MMO market is extraordinarily over-saturated. As a developer, I would never work at a studio making an MMO unless it was attached to an immensely popular IP or likewise had some amazing and groundbreaking concepts (of course, you won't find out of it does or not until you start working there).

The thing is, there is simply no real room for "another MMO" out there. You could just play one of the hundreds of free to play Asian MMOs if you want to get your grind on. Just because WoW pulls in 1.8 billion dollars a year does not mean you will. Though I suppose if its the difference between employed and homeless than anyone who could would take the job.

You should take down the original article since its basically not true instead of leaving a link to an update on the bottom. You know most people just read the headers and move on if its something they aren't interested in.

Either way this is the death knell for FE. The content already done will be released but what about new content?

MMOs only survive if they improve old content (inc game systems) and add new content. With a vastly reduced dev team how long will new content take?

I wanted to play FE (and got a free trial key from the Escapists) but was unable to download the game before the week trial ran out (due the downloader crashing, restarting and then freezing periodically).

John Funk:
Erm, I think you'll find that "old media publications" used anonymous inside sources quite often. There can be reasons we don't name names, you know. Or have you never heard of Deep Throat?

On one hand, I want to make an off color porn joke... on the other hand I respect you guys too much. Dilemmas. :(

John Funk:
I can assure you, we were not just going off of a random insider tip. We have good reason to consider the original source trustworthy, which is why we've left the original story up as is, instead of issuing a retraction - at the moment, we're hearing contradictory reports from two sources we consider trustworthy, and don't feel that we can 100% say either way which is right and which is wrong.

Given that both sources are credible, and you're working off, basically two sides of the same story...

Out of curiosity, why did this rate a new article rather than an update?

Rocqu:
You should take down the original article since its basically not true instead of leaving a link to an update on the bottom. You know most people just read the headers and move on if its something they aren't interested in.

Starke:

John Funk:
Erm, I think you'll find that "old media publications" used anonymous inside sources quite often. There can be reasons we don't name names, you know. Or have you never heard of Deep Throat?

On one hand, I want to make an off color porn joke... on the other hand I respect you guys too much. Dilemmas. :(

John Funk:
I can assure you, we were not just going off of a random insider tip. We have good reason to consider the original source trustworthy, which is why we've left the original story up as is, instead of issuing a retraction - at the moment, we're hearing contradictory reports from two sources we consider trustworthy, and don't feel that we can 100% say either way which is right and which is wrong.

Given that both sources are credible, and you're working off, basically two sides of the same story...

Out of curiosity, why did this rate a new article rather than an update?

The fact that we consider both sources credible is the exact reason why we posted a new article rather than do an update. We don't feel that we can in confidence say 100% that either of these is true, so we'd rather present both sides and leave them out there for other people to decide.

I think the real tragedy here was that any attention was paid to someone who calls themself "Fatboy".

The truth is, this kind of thing happens and is all together understandable.

We'll just have to stick around and see how this turns out. I hope this turns out well for Icarus. I really don't want to see another R.I.P. if I don't have to, and as I said in the other article forum post I'd like to see this kind of game go well. I'd like to play it sometime, seems interesting.

There are definitely some people still working at Icarus (the person who responded to your article, the GM's still present in game and on the forums, and another who answers the phone if you call the office), so the article is clearly false. Additionally, the servers are still up and the Public Test Server is still getting updates.

The first article may be based in fact, but is probably more likely a bit overblown by a disgruntled ex-employee.

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