Stardock Faces Layoffs Due to Poor Elemental Launch

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Stardock Faces Layoffs Due to Poor Elemental Launch

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An overall negative response to the launch of Elemental: War of Magic has forced Stardock to conduct a round of layoffs.

When Stardock head Brad Wardell called the launch of Elemental: War of Magic a complete "fail," he added that it would have consequences for the studio/publisher. Those consequences have turned out to be a round of layoffs.

The confirmation of Stardock layoffs came after Shacknews first received an anonymous tip claiming that several employees were let go. Amongst the laid off were members of the Elemental design and sales teams. The source claimed that the layoffs were caused by Elemental's "disastrous launch."

Through the Stardock forums Brad Wardell confirmed that the rumors were true and that the layoffs were necessary due to Elemental's poor reception. "Elemental's revenue was anticipated to provide the revenue both for our main games team's next project as well as a second team," Wardell wrote. "Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen so we've had to start laying people off."

Wardell pointed out that Stardock hasn't been forced to get rid of an employee since 1998. He breaks down the layoffs as follows: "A DB manager, a receptionist, a QA tester, a developer, a designer, a sales executive and a web designer." He asserts that these people are not being fired, and that nobody did anything to deserve a firing, but the company's financial projections and budget revisions were simply not positive enough to be able to keep everyone around.

Wardell calls the "ultimate casualty" the second Stardock team that Elemental was meant to fund. The core Elemental team will still remain in place to presumably support the game with planned fixes, as it has been doing regularly since the game's release on August 24.

Sources: Stardock forums, Shacknews

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Oh man, it's awful seeing all of this just because they didn't take their fucking time. I bet their development team is pretty pissed at the responsible person[s].

This is so typical modern games industry (and not only games, mind)

NO! Poor stardock :'( They had potential. It sucks to see a relatively small guy fail

Suki the Cat:
This is so typical modern games industry (and not only games, mind)

Not really. Stardock has owned up to doing stupid things, causing their own launch to fail miserably. That's pretty rare.

Suki the Cat:
This is so typical modern games industry (and not only games, mind)

It's typical for them to admit their mistakes, and take their losses without complaining?

And with no lawsuits!

Shame, but when you put your eggs all in one basket then repeatedly hit said basket with a baseball bat this is bound to happen.

Wait, was this the fantasy Spore-like customizable strategy game I saw like one preview for a year and a half ago and thought looked kind of cool?

Gee, with advertising like that, who could have guessed it'd fail?

Kavonde:
Wait, was this the fantasy Spore-like customizable strategy game I saw like one preview for a year and a half ago and thought looked kind of cool?

Gee, with advertising like that, who could have guessed it'd fail?

Couldnt have said it better tbh.

What a shame. Punishing employees because of managerial faults.

I really sympathise with them, they made a mistake but they owned up to it and are trying their best to fix it.
Tis a shame, Sins of a Solar Empire was immense and I'm sure if they had done it right this game would have been good too.

Edit: Also feel bad for the people laid off, but at least they aren't firing them for incompetence. Just foreseeing a lack of revenue to pay for them.

Well to the anti steam drm guys, this is going to hurt. It just shows how tight the margins that stardock are operating on. When steam screw up they give away copies of L4D, when stardock screw up people lose their jobs. It looks like Gamer's Bill of Rights is luxury that cant afford.

^^People who have Elemental now will be getting the first X-Pack for free.

There seems to be a general awareness of the major issues in game mechanics and UI, and bugs are getting fixed at a reasonable pace. I believe this game has a future. But it always sucks when people lose their jobs.

As for the Gamers Bill of Rights, yeah it is pretty ironic, but when they say customers are entitled to complete finished games I think they mean games intentionally released in an incomplete state that need to be made whole with DLC, not game designers screwing up.

And it's nice to see they haven't once cried "Piracy!" on Elemental sales. Even though loads of people are probably doing it, even if just to see how horrifically bugged it is

Kavonde:
Wait, was this the fantasy Spore-like customizable strategy game I saw like one preview for a year and a half ago and thought looked kind of cool?

Gee, with advertising like that, who could have guessed it'd fail?

No, it wasn't. At least, I don't think this is the one you're on about - I think you're on about "Dark Spore" from EA.

Anywho, this sucks. I liked the game myself, and it sucks to see them suffering over its launch.

I'm a huge Master of Magic fan and I never even heard of this game until it was mentioned on the Escapist.
I might get it, if the price is right.

Having just looked it up, 49$ seems quite steep for a game with sub-par graphics that looks more like an indy title than AAA.
Of course, people saying that it sucks doesn't help either.

edit: okay, the screenshots don't look very attractive, but the video on their site is rather cool. I like the zoom-out feature.

The fact that I've never heard of this game is probably the problem.

Maybe they should have a second release on Steam so they put it on a platform people know about and use.

Who is the company that owns Impulse anyway? they must be doing badly if Stardock is having so much trouble on it.

Game was supposedly released half-finished on purpose as part of a DRM thing. Buy the game now, get the patch that gives you the entire game off the net at home. Problem with that is that not everyone actually has the web. That combined with the huge list of bugs and game crashing glitches along with the less than piss poor attempt at raising awareness for the product (seriously, I remember seeing one tiny little blurb about it in a copy of Game Informer like a year and a half ago or so, and that's it) and you have this horrible recipe for failure. It's a shame though, I've loved all the Stardock games so far, Galactic Civilizations I and II were phenomenal, Sins of a Solar Empire is one of my favorite RTS's ever. They make good products...mostly.

That game launch money was supposed to save orphaned children. Nice job breaking it, Brad Wardell.

That is a real shame for all involved...I hope those let go will find work elsewhere.

Hammer_Wizard:
Who is the company that owns Impulse anyway?

Stardock owns Impulse. So I don't think you're going to see any Stardock games on Steam any time soon, any more than you'll be seeing Valve games on Impulse. Unless Stardock decides to shut Impulse down, of course, and that seems unlikely; as non-Steam digital download platforms go, Impulse is pretty successful.

Edit: On topic, this is a real shame. It makes me want to go out and buy Elemental just to prove I trust Stardock to fix it. Can't really afford it, though.

theshadavid:
The fact that I've never heard of this game is probably the problem.

pretty much this.

It's helpful for people to know your game exists for it to sell.

Never heard of it. Perhaps THAT'S WHY!? Could it be that? maybe? Stardock is a great dev though. It saddens to see them hurting.

I really wish I had known about it.

As a tbs lover (who still regularly plays civ 4 and homam 5) I also didn't heard of it before the release. And there is something really strange about the game, it is more diplomacy oriented than heroes but even if 2 nations are fighting, I never see any troops wandering around. Something gone really wrong in this development cycle.

Tis a shame, Stardock goofed, but you hate to see Stardock suffer.

Stardock will most likely keep making games. Hopefully they can fix this mess up and make a redeeming game that is really awesome.

GoGo_Boy:
Oh man, it's awful seeing all of this just because they didn't take their fucking time. I bet their development team is pretty pissed at the responsible person[s].

They did take their time, the problem was poor judgment and their deciding that the game wasn't just a flawed piece of crap.

theshadavid:
The fact that I've never heard of this game is probably the problem.

Because your product awareness is the deciding factor in all matters?

Its a shame but mabye they will learn double and triple check a games qaulity before launch... if not we will only have the likes of activision and EA to make us games.... and people are to stupid to stop buying in mass long enough to make them care.... *sigh*

I heard about the game a week before launch, went to their forums on day launch and decided not to buy it after all.

If they fix issues (and if players' feedbcak is good), I will definitely go for it.

Hum. I've never heard of this game. That tells me it wasn't marketed very well, and this can't have helped it's launch.

EmeraldGreen:

Hammer_Wizard:
Who is the company that owns Impulse anyway?

Stardock owns Impulse. So I don't think you're going to see any Stardock games on Steam any time soon, any more than you'll be seeing Valve games on Impulse. Unless Stardock decides to shut Impulse down, of course, and that seems unlikely; as non-Steam digital download platforms go, Impulse is pretty successful.

Edit: On topic, this is a real shame. It makes me want to go out and buy Elemental just to prove I trust Stardock to fix it. Can't really afford it, though.

I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic mate. I mean, really, suggesting that Stardock can attribute it's own fail in part to trying to use it's own delivery platform for sales is about as sardonic as you can get given the situation.

When did Stardock start making games? I thought they made that totally-unnecessary Window Blinds theming software.

Jadak:

theshadavid:
The fact that I've never heard of this game is probably the problem.

Because your product awareness is the deciding factor in all matters?

No but if people haven't heard of your product then they aren't going to buy it.

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