Syndicate Studio Lays Off 25

Syndicate Studio Lays Off 25

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Starbreeze is marking the end of the long and arduous development of Syndicate by firing 25 people.

There aren't very many businesses I'm aware of that say "thanks for a job well done" with a handshake and a pink slip, but it's pretty much a staple of the mainstream videogame industry. The latest example is Swedish developer Starbreeze, which recently wrapped up development on the upcoming EA shooter Syndicate, in the works since 2007, by giving the boot to 25 people.

"It is sad that we are forced to make staff cutbacks affecting employees," Starbreeze CEO Mikael Mermark said. "But we have to reduce staff after the final delivery of the Syndicate."

Peter Tornquist, who has served as the Chairman of the Board at Starbreeze since November 2007, is also leaving the company and will not be replaced.

It's a sad state of affairs, but this is the normal mode of operation for the game industry today: bulk up for a project, work people like dogs and then cut them loose. id Software did it following the release of Rage, Obsidian cut staff after Fallout: New Vegas was done and THQ Vice President Danny Bilson called layoffs at Volition and Kaos Studios a "normal cycling of game teams," shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek. It was actually newsworthy when BioWare announced that it wouldn't lay off employees following the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Anyway, enough negativity - Syndicate comes out on February 21 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. We wish all the best to everyone who's been left unemployed as a result.

Source: GamesIndustry

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And THIS should be the rallying argument to why we should stop pushing the technological envelope for a few years until we can catch up.

This has become such a common headline it sickens me. Highly talented and creative individuals moving across the world to work on a game and then disposed of like garbage as soon as all their effort and talent has been raped to make the next bug ridden, DLC laden game.

So this is how they celebrate the completion of a game by laying off workers off the bat. I know its corporate practice but at least I do hope that they weren't chosen by random or lottery system and they were at least given early notice of the companies plans so they could at least send out their resumes before they're booted out.

Not just the games industry, it's how many businesses work. They take on more people for a project and let go most or all of them when it's done. Generally though, the temporary employees know they're temporary.

Hmm... On one hand, I really want Syndicate. On the other hand, should we as gamers be supporting practices and policies like this with our hard-earned dollars? I know the list of games we can play might be significantly shorter if limited in this way, but is this a practice that is beneficial in the long term to the game designer or the common gamer? It makes me wonder.

Podunk:
Hmm... On one hand, I really want Syndicate. On the other hand, should we as gamers be supporting practices and policies like this with our hard-earned dollars? I know the list of games we can play might be significantly shorter if limited in this way, but is this a practice that is beneficial in the long term to the game designer or the common gamer? It makes me wonder.

Welcome to the right track! Yes there are somethings that you have to give up, but all in all being able to live with yourself is much more enjoyable.

Well, they had to pay skrillex millions of dollars to make their horrible soundtrack somehow.

I have to ask, did the release of Syndicate sneak up on anyone else?

I looked at the release date, then looked to my calender and thought 'wtf, where did that come from?'

lacktheknack:
And THIS should be the rallying argument to why we should stop pushing the technological envelope for a few years until we can catch up.

Not quite sure how these things are related to one another. This practice isn't even exclusive to the gaming industry, far from it actually.

who thinks that €A told the CEO to fire these people? maybe bioware will be next and then dice.

The part that I've started to get curious about recently is whether the bulk of these firings are of permenent salaried employees, or contractors hired to help out in the rush to finish, and then get let go afterwards, as they were expecting to happen?

I'm not saying this is the case when there's a studio closure, or half the devs are fired due to 'restructuring'. But it is true that you may need extra help towards the end of a project, which is why contractors are useful.

Andy Chalk:
... shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek.

WTF? When did that happen? That's the news right there.

Podunk:
Hmm... On one hand, I really want Syndicate. On the other hand, should we as gamers be supporting practices and policies like this with our hard-earned dollars? I know the list of games we can play might be significantly shorter if limited in this way, but is this a practice that is beneficial in the long term to the game designer or the common gamer? It makes me wonder.

I for one decided not to support them when they omitted the PC demo of Syndicate for absolutely no reason at all despite my interest in the game. Also people in general are far to willing to overlook how corporations and companies treat their staff and customers it's sickening. Everyone could benefit from a little awareness on things like this and voice their opinions rather than sit back and say "Well it's not my problem".

praetor_alpha:

Andy Chalk:
... shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek.

WTF? When did that happen? That's the news right there.

Also I'm with this guy, what the fuck?

If they were only employed for the project it shouldn't be surprising that some people leave after that project is over, and chances are they'll find work elsewhere. The amount of developers that have come, gone, merged, split etc over the past 2 decades alone is fucking staggering. The games industry is in constant flux.

Honestly I see it more like Acting than anything else; You and your creative talents are hired for a job, if you're the cream of the fucking crop that company may desperately try to keep you around but otherwise its back to auditions.

C'est La Vi(d)e(o) games.

evilneko:
Not just the games industry, it's how many businesses work. They take on more people for a project and let go most or all of them when it's done. Generally though, the temporary employees know they're temporary.

Yeah articles like this can be a little misleading. It may very well have happened as it says, and that sucks for the 25 people who were let go, but there are always a certain number of employees who work by contract and don't retain their jobs after the project is done. If you think about it, it's always going to take more people to make a game than it will to support it, and if you don't have another project lined up for the studio when the current one is done, you can't afford to keep paying a bunch of people who are effectively doing nothing.

I have a buddy who works for (COMPANY NAME REDACTED) and he said anywhere between 25 and 40% of their employees are contracted at any given time, so when (TITLE RETRACTED) comes out, those guys are all going to leave having known full well the entire time that they would.

Again, though... this might not be the case with Starbreeze, and that totally sucks if this came as a surprise to them.

"There aren't very many businesses I'm aware of that say 'thanks for a job well done' with a handshake and a pink slip" - It's actually not terribly uncommon. Target did it to me when I was just out of High School. I worked there for the holiday season (Not supposed to be a temporary job) and when December was over, they said "You guys did a great job. We were really busy and you worked hard! But we can't afford you now that Christmas is over. This week is your last week," and my whole team was let go with less than seven days notice. It was also my birthday that day and I had moved out of my mom's house four days prior to being terminated. I can only hope that didn't happen to any of the members of the Syndicate team :X

Also:

AC10:
Well, they had to pay skrillex millions of dollars to make their horrible soundtrack somehow.

Is he really doing the soundtrack? Haha I hadn't heard that. I like that kid.

AC10:
Well, they had to pay skrillex millions of dollars to make their horrible soundtrack somehow.

Skrillex did its entire soundtrack? Hey Daft Punk, can I ask you guys something ;)?

AC10:
Well, they had to pay skrillex millions of dollars to make their horrible soundtrack somehow.

He made one song and its actually really good.

praetor_alpha:

Andy Chalk:
... shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek.

WTF? When did that happen? That's the news right there.

That happened about six months ago, you know when Kaos closed. It was reported. There was much fun to be had speculating how Homefront II would be a tight fun shooter with beautiful graphics and smart AI and then halfway through the aliens/mutants would appear and the game would go to shit.

praetor_alpha:

Andy Chalk:
... shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek.

WTF? When did that happen? That's the news right there.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113160-Crytek-Invades-Homefront-Sequel-Ousting-Kaos

praetor_alpha:

Andy Chalk:
... shortly before closing Kaos and handing the Homefront IP to Crytek.

WTF? When did that happen? That's the news right there.

um last year i think supposley crytek was interested in homefront i'm not sure of the details i heard it from IGN so take what you well from it. just google around for.

Am i surprsied? No. Am I disgusted? No.

That's where the market seems to be going and apart from the biggest names (like Blizzard, BioWare, etc.) companies can't really afford to keep full staff after their project is finished and They don't really have a new one going. Why pay salary to a team of developers/designer when You simply don't have any work for them?

It seems to be the whole industry is moving towards a model where specialists get hired for specific assignment, working as free-lancers on projects and then looking for next title They could work on rather than being tied to single studio for larger part of their career.

The only thing that should change really is companies being open about it when They hire people. Tell them up front that They are hired only for production cycle of given project so They can look for next assignment as They finish their current one.

Man, if only there were some way developers and industry employees could band together and stick up for their rights. Like, if they formed some sort of organisation which had some sort of legal protection to fight against indiscriminate layoffs. Some sort of group that could stand up to the industry behemoths such as EA and make sure that profits and share prices don't overtake workers' rights. Kind of like some sort of... union.

But wait, aren't Unions supposed to be the source of all evil, and the bane of every capitalist utopia around the world? Surely having a Workers Union or three in the Games Industry would lead to all those precious job creators going bankrupt and having to fire everyone anyway, right?

Unless... maybe all that spiel about Unions being the spawn of Satan is perhaps not entirely true? Maybe if developers had Unions to defend them, they'd be able to create great games that sell well and make lots of money, and they'd be able to keep their jobs?

 

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