Max Payne 3 Studio Closing Its Doors

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Max Payne 3 Studio Closing Its Doors

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Rockstar Toronto is absorbing Rockstar Vancouver.

Things are looking tough for the AAA gaming industry. Shipping over a million copies of a title no longer necessarily means a studio's continued success - Kaos Studios closed back in 2011 despite the fact that a sequel to its game Homefront was greenlit later that year, and there was that whole thing with 38 Studios. Joining the unfortunate list of closed studios is Max Payne 3 developer Rockstar Vancouver, which Rockstar Games is shuttering despite its last game's success.

Fortunately, Rockstar Games isn't intent on laying off employees - it's closing the studio in favor of expanding its other Canada-based studio, Rockstar Toronto. It has offered all 35 Vancouver employees jobs at the Toronto or any other Rockstar studio. Rockstar Toronto is itself moving to a new, larger office, and Rockstar has stated it plans to add 50 new positions to the studio in the coming months. The expansion is, according to Take-Two Interactive, "being supported by the Ontario government," although financial details are unavailable.

Rockstar hasn't said whether the expanded studio will take on a larger role in creating titles - so far Rockstar Toronto has been chiefly supporting other Rockstar divisions, with its last major role being the lead developer on The Warriors back in 2005. Rockstar Vancouver had only released two titles after being bought in 2002: Bully, which came out in 2006, and of course its second and final game Max Payne 3.

While it's good that no one seems to be losing their jobs, it's no small endeavor for the people involved - to put it in perspective, the 2,000 mile trek between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles. It's not currently known if the team has decided to move to Toronto as a unit or will be spreading to other studios, nor is it quite clear whether the company is funding employees' relocations to their new studios.

Source: Gamasutra, Take Two Interactive

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Oh man, seriously? I fucking loved Max Payne 3, as a die hard fan of the first two.

I thought this was a huge success, what goes into these games? Pure gold or something?

I'd look harder at "While it's good that no one seems to be losing their jobs." This company has a long tradition of long crunches and then sacking the lower level employees after launch.

So is this a long term plan? I mean what does blow costs for a videogame so out of proportion, that you have to close down (in this cas "a studio) your studio when it does not sell "x" copies. Or better question where is the "break even" point in AAA games today?

I have to say this is a good thing. Feels like both studios have been under utilized: Seriously Two titles in TEN years? Valve doesn't drag it's ass that much.

weird heading. Was 'Rockstar studios re-organizing' already taken?

Wow, negative much?

Next time choose a better title, closing a studio is very diferent of relocating it.

Closing a studio usually means that the studio is doing bad while relocating can mean that they are doing bad or good, in this case good.

Didn't Max Payne 3 sell 3 million copies it's first week? Sad to see the studio close it's doors. Another studio down for the count, lets hope studios shutting down doesn't become too common, especially ones who just put out a great game.

kitsuta:
to put it in perspective, the distance between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles.

The moment your reader is better informed by "give or take a few hundred miles" is when you might want to consider using a metric that is understood by more than half of your audience.

Not to mention the blatantly sensationalist coverage of a company reshuffling its assets. You also publicly declare your acquintances to be "forcefully evicted" whenever they move in with their partner?

Signs the AAA-game industry is on its last leg:
You release a successful game and your studio still goes under

A fitting punishment.

Kargathia:

kitsuta:
to put it in perspective, the distance between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles.

The moment your reader is better informed by "give or take a few hundred miles" is when you might want to consider using a metric that is understood by more than half of your audience.

Not to mention the blatantly sensationalist coverage of a company reshuffling its assets. You also publicly declare your acquintances to be "forcefully evicted" whenever they move in with their partner?

You are absolutely correct. This "article" is highly sensational and no so much news worthy.

cynicalsaint1:
Signs the AAA-game industry is on its last leg:
You release a successful game and your studio still goes under

It didn't go under. It got relocated, with all the employees moving with it. The headline is misleading.

An inconvenience for those who will have to move, to be sure, but the studio didn't go under.

Kirky:

cynicalsaint1:
Signs the AAA-game industry is on its last leg:
You release a successful game and your studio still goes under

It didn't go under. It got relocated, with all the employees moving with it. The headline is misleading.

An inconvenience for those who will have to move, to be sure, but the studio didn't go under.

Rockstar Toronto already exists - the Rockstar Vancouver studio is not simply being relocated to Toronto. Rockstar Vancouver is closing, but thankfully its employees are being offered new jobs elsewhere.

Kargathia:

kitsuta:
to put it in perspective, the distance between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles.

The moment your reader is better informed by "give or take a few hundred miles" is when you might want to consider using a metric that is understood by more than half of your audience.

The California-North Carolina comparison was done for the benefit of US readers, as many are familiar with the idea of moving coast-to-coast. I've added the approximate mileage to the OP.

Kargathia:

kitsuta:
to put it in perspective, the distance between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles.

The moment your reader is better informed by "give or take a few hundred miles" is when you might want to consider using a metric that is understood by more than half of your audience.

Not to mention the blatantly sensationalist coverage of a company reshuffling its assets. You also publicly declare your acquintances to be "forcefully evicted" whenever they move in with their partner?

Yea, it would have really helped if he'd actually put the sense of scale of the move in more relatable terms for people outside North America. Near as I can figure it's like, aprox. 4,300km/2,700 mi. by roads.

Saying it's like California to Carolina probably has about the same impact on people outside the continent as if I'd have written "Oh, it's about the same distance as Brisbane is from Perth" would have inside North America.

OT: Happy they still have jobs, but good lord that is one hell of a move. If that happened to me I know full well that it would equate to just a fancy way of me losing that job. Beyond just the costs of moving (Like, a 50 hour drive can not be cheap in a moving van), you'd literally have to now live nearly a continent away from your family/everyone you know? Yea, no.

EDIT: Ninja'd by author a bit there apparently ^_^

This isn't bad news...

Does this mean no hope for a Bully sequel, 'cause that would suck.

Well, fuck. I bought and loved Max Payne 3. I thought it sold well(?)

Kirky:

cynicalsaint1:
Signs the AAA-game industry is on its last leg:
You release a successful game and your studio still goes under

It didn't go under. It got relocated, with all the employees moving with it. The headline is misleading.

An inconvenience for those who will have to move, to be sure, but the studio didn't go under.

A rather moot distinction.
Fact is the studio is closed down. Rockstar decided that despite the success of its releases that it wasn't worth keeping the studio around and producing games. Just because the people working there got transferred to other studios within Rockstar doesn't change that.

Sounds like Ontario, the province is in financial trouble, so they're trying to get as many businesses as possible to go there.

ksn0va:
This isn't bad news...

This, literally the only thing their losing is their name, whoopdy doo.

Captcha: Salad Days

Makes perfect sense

As a BC'er I would imagine this has less to do with studio success and more with local provincial politics and corporate incentives. I don't know how much it effects the video game industry but in the film industry at least a lot of productions have been moving from Vancouver to Toronto for costs. A lot of this has to do with the HST sales tax in BC, which combined the previous government (federal) and provincial sales tax into a single more business friendly sales tax that was only in place for a year before people got pissed off about it and ran a successful referendum to appeal it. Don't remember the date but that will be happening this year.

How is this bad news? It's just two studios merging into one bigger studio while retaining the original name of one of the studios.

Saviordd1:

ksn0va:
This isn't bad news...

This, literally the only thing their losing is their name, whoopdy doo.

Really, really not the case.

The studio is closing. Rockstar Vancouver is shutting down, and will soon be no mroe. The employees have been offered other jobs, which softens the blow, but those jobs are two thousand miles away.

Imagine being told that the only way you got to keep your job was by moving to the other side of whatever continent you're currently living on, leaving behind whatever family and friends you may have established where you were.

If the studio was being forced to shut due to a game that tanked, then things would be more understandable. But that's not the case. R* Vancouver made a critically acclaimed game that also sold very well indeed. Why are the developers being rewarded by having their studio shut down and being forced to move 2000 miles away? Is that how we reward success in the games industry now?

This is just another sign that the AAA industry is truly fucked. The number of developers over the last year or two that have shit down or been forced out of business after releasing successful games proves that . A healthy industry is not one that sends its success stories into the dole queue.

Vkmies:
Well, fuck. I bought and loved Max Payne 3. I thought it sold well(?)

TizzytheTormentor:
Didn't Max Payne 3 sell 3 million copies it's first week? Sad to see the studio close it's doors. Another studio down for the count, lets hope studios shutting down doesn't become too common, especially ones who just put out a great game.

lol Where did you hear that?

Max Payne 3 was a massive bomb, only sold 440K copies in its first month. It had a $105 million budget. It shipped 3 million copies to stores, and now all those 2.5 million copies are gaining dust.

http://www.shacknews.com/article/74374/max-payne-3-sells-440k-in-debut-month-called-a

This sounds more like the kind of thing a company does to lessen its tax burdens. Usually operation in the U.S. is more expensive then other locations because most state sees companies as Cash cows to be milked until dry. I don't know what Canada taxes for companies are like but Id be willing to bet it its better then Vancouver.

To those of you complaining about the sensationalist headline to this article, I ask you this; 'Are you really surprised anymore?'

The last few months have seen the headlines becoming more and more misleading.
Soon we'll have 'GABE NEWELL IS DEAD' and find out that the article is about Gabe Newell buying a new sink for his bathroom.

This has been mentioned time and time again, but the writers seem intent on ignoring the readers and continue to mislead us with the headlines. They're all trying to get jobs at Fox.

kitsuta:
While it's good that no one seems to be losing their jobs, it's no small endeavor for the people involved - to put it in perspective, the 2,000 mile trek between Vancouver and Toronto is roughly the same as the distance between California and North Carolina, give or take a few hundred miles.

Wait, how is redefining it in U.S. states helpful to anyone? I should hope that American Escapist readers know at least where Vancouver is in relation to Toronto, and for anybody outside of North America it just seems like swapping two vaguely familiar names for another two (North Carolina? That's the reference point?). Couldn't you have just said "across the continent"?

That said, this is more newsworthy than a lot of other stuff I've seen on the site, so good job on that much.

Ashoten:
This sounds more like the kind of thing a company does to lessen its tax burdens. Usually operation in the U.S. is more expensive then other locations because most state sees companies as Cash cows to be milked until dry. I don't know what Canada taxes for companies are like but Id be willing to bet it its better then Vancouver.

You...you do know that Vancouver is in Canada, right? Is there a typo in here somewhere?

The Last Melon:
*snip*

Ashoten:
This sounds more like the kind of thing a company does to lessen its tax burdens. Usually operation in the U.S. is more expensive then other locations because most state sees companies as Cash cows to be milked until dry. I don't know what Canada taxes for companies are like but Id be willing to bet it its better then Vancouver.

You...you do know that Vancouver is in Canada, right? Is there a typo in here somewhere?

I'm questioning this too, because I thought the same thing.
It's not uncommon to see a company relocate for better tax breaks, and Canada is one of the more game-developer-friendly countries in the world.

So now I have to question if Canada's tax programs and/or grant programs are universal, or if they're region/province specific.

Moeez:

Vkmies:
Well, fuck. I bought and loved Max Payne 3. I thought it sold well(?)

TizzytheTormentor:
Didn't Max Payne 3 sell 3 million copies it's first week? Sad to see the studio close it's doors. Another studio down for the count, lets hope studios shutting down doesn't become too common, especially ones who just put out a great game.

lol Where did you hear that?

Max Payne 3 was a massive bomb, only sold 440K copies in its first month. It had a $105 million budget. It shipped 3 million copies to stores, and now all those 2.5 million copies are gaining dust.

http://www.shacknews.com/article/74374/max-payne-3-sells-440k-in-debut-month-called-a

I said I thought it did well, due to being a critical success and got good reception from fans. That's sad news. It was a great game! I wonder why people didn't buy it...

so .... every things fine over there then? just moving every one to a bigger building?

not really a down side here that I'm seeing

Atmos Duality:
*snip*

I'm questioning this too, because I thought the same thing.
It's not uncommon to see a company relocate for better tax breaks, and Canada is one of the more game-developer-friendly countries in the world.

So now I have to question if Canada's tax programs and/or grant programs are universal, or if they're region/providence specific.

Now that I think about it, it'd make sense if it were provincial; the provinces have a pretty healthy amount of power in Canada. According to this website, if I'm reading it right (tax code is a little arcane to me in general), Ontario seems to have a beefier tax credit than B.C. does. Assuming that Ashoten meant "Ontario" when he said "Canada," then, he has a point.

Lunar Templar:
so .... every things fine over there then? just moving every one to a bigger building?

not really a down side here that I'm seeing

I mean, it's something of an inconvenience when the new building is on the other side of the country. Canada's pretty big.

Major_Tom:
A fitting punishment.

Care to elaborate? I thought Max Payne was a great game, even if it felt more like Die Hard than Max Payne, story and narrative-wise.

Still, a damn shame that good companies like Rockstar are taking a hit like this. Good to see no one got fired, but it really seems like the AAA industry needs to reevaluate their business practices. Stories like these are becoming a bit too common.

Journalism. Whuts that? Here's what your article should have had as a title.

Rockstar merging Vancouver and Toronto studios. Vancouver employees will have to move to keep jobs.

That's an accurate title. That is what the article is actually about. The nonsense about the AAA industry going through tough times despite them selling millions of copies was just massive bullshit and a waste of digital ink.

Vkmies:

I said I thought it did well, due to being a critical success and got good reception from fans. That's sad news. It was a great game! I wonder why people didn't buy it...

Unfortunately Max Payne doesn't have that massive a fan base.

Max Payne 2 only shifted 650k units of which not all of them wanted Max Payne 3 by the dismal sales figures of that game.

(source so people don't ask ... http://video-games.findthebest.com/l/239/Max-Payne-2-The-Fall-of-Max-Payne)

Selling millions of copies isn't a common thing which is why so many studios that people think are great sometimes go under.

While Max Payne 3 isn't a bad game and did get decent reviews it didn't have a massive fan base to begin with so was going to struggle to shift the 3 million units they shipped out. I didn't think it would undersell as badly as it did but for a game that had the reviews it did the sales figures have Max Payne 3 as a flop.

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