Richard Garriott Lays Off Some Staff

Richard Garriott Lays Off Some Staff

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The mobile gaming company Portalarium reported laying off several employees this holiday season.

As you may or may not be aware, Richard Garriott is stinking rich. Not only did he make a lot of money in his long career as a game designer making the Ultima RPG series and inventing the MMO, but he recently received a huge settlement from NC Soft and $7 million in venture capital funding this summer for his foray into mobile gaming with Portalarium. Unfortunately, all the money in the world can't protect Garriott's employees from a shift in focus. Friday, news that Portalarium laid off several employees broke on Twitter, but today the company confirmed it was cutting back.

"We are reducing staff to the appropriate levels to support and grow our recently launched products, as well as continue development of Richard Garriott's Ultimate RPG," a spokesperson from Portalarium told Games Industry International.

Portalarium launched a Facebook game called Ultimate Collector in November 2012, but it looks like a knock off of mechanics perfected by other companies like Zynga. The company decided to shift into a support role for that game while it created the Ultimate RPG, which plans to bridge the gap between mobile, social and traditional PC gaming.

The problem is that most of those former employees had no idea the layoffs were coming. "Today [Portalarium] had to lay off people & I was one of them," wrote senior programmer Paul Evans on Friday. Evans is expecting a child; he and his wife were going to find out whether they were having a boy or a girl next week. "Worst thing in the USA is the health insurance deal." The timing is terrible, and Evans was understandably upset that he was blindsided by this news.

Despite all that, Evans stayed positive. "I wish @Portalarium best of luck," he said.

There's no word how many developers lost their jobs, but any blow like this is hard during the holidays. Here's hoping Evans, his family, and everyone else affected by these layoffs lands on their feet.

Source: Games Industry and Twitter

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Oh how the mighty have fallen...

Please, the only thing "Ultimate" about his UltimateRPG will be just how laughable it was.

Tabula Rasa was supposed to be one of those kind of "ultimate" games, remember? He had that entire dream team of devs hired explicitly for the purpose of making that game freaking awesome. Yet because Garriot forgot people are actually individuals, and not some collective hive-mind, the game crash and burned, and so he dropped the "Dream Team" in favor for a quick patch-up job on one of the ideas, a sci-fi based game that played as a mix between shooter and RPG.

Remember people. Early shots of TR actually had unicorns and elves and the like.

The man is far from relevant in the industry today, and while I wouldn't say this lightly, falls well under Molyneux for me in terms of developers I'd wish would just shut the frack up. At least Molyneux does... well, something, somehow, possibly, to stay as relevant as he can. It just never works out for him.

That does suck. I guess its better to know before christmas so you dont end up spending to much money on it.

Garriott lost all his Ultima money on bankrupt companies. Then sold all his remaining royalties in total of $30 million to go to Space. The only reason he has a company is the NCsoft settlement. He has not shown he can develop a game since the 1990s, from the sound of it, he has expensive hobbies, what he going to do when the settlement money runs out?

Jeez, everyone's getting laid off this holiday season.

He couldn't have waited until after the holiday season? Wow. Happy Holidays indeed.

It's amazing how many people will struggle this christmas due to companies 'growing'.

Screw him I say, Ultima was always over-rated, and so is he. I'd boycott if I was aware of anything I could actually boycott :D.

You know, if there's a games company out there who pay their staff a fair wage, have them work fair hours, and give them good job security, then I'd happily buy games from them - we are funding an industry that is about as stable and reliable as a marijuana farm. Consumers should have more influence over them, other industries care about how consumers see them, treating people like shit seems to be the norm in the games industry. Before long, all the AAA titles will be outsourced to India, all the veteran talent will have to go indi or find another industry.

Greg Tito:
inventing the MMO

Wasn't Neverwinter Nights (1991) the first MMO? And I think Meridian 59 was made before UO as well.

Anyhow, Garriott is still riding on fame of times long past. Aside from Ultima Online, he hasn't helmed any successful project in the past 20 years (OK, 19 if you want to be exact). How is it that Molyneux, who has a similar resume, but actually tries to stay current, became a punchline - and Garriott, who mostly just struts around flaunting his massive ego, is still held up as an industry legend?

surg3n:
It's amazing how many people will struggle this christmas due to companies 'growing'.

Screw him I say, Ultima was always over-rated, and so is he. I'd boycott if I was aware of anything I could actually boycott :D.

You know, if there's a games company out there who pay their staff a fair wage, have them work fair hours, and give them good job security, then I'd happily buy games from them - we are funding an industry that is about as stable and reliable as a marijuana farm. Consumers should have more influence over them, other industries care about how consumers see them, treating people like shit seems to be the norm in the games industry. Before long, all the AAA titles will be outsourced to India, all the veteran talent will have to go indi or find another industry.

All the vets going indie would actually be a win for us, as then we can just support the people that deserve it instead of greedy publishes that do none of the work yet get all of the reward.

RicoADF:
All the vets going indie would actually be a win for us, as then we can just support the people that deserve it instead of greedy publishes that do none of the work yet get all of the reward.

Exactly, how great would that be! - people making games that they want to make and that we want to play, instead of regurgitating the same tired old games. It's kinda getting like that in the UK already, Peter Molyneux, David Braben, Archer Maclean, they are all pretty much indi now. It is good to see that generation of developer is still involved, and back doing things the way it used to be done.

Rainboq:
Oh how the mighty have fallen...

Holy crap, literally no more than a second before I click on the thread I thought I was going to post that.

So yeah, that.

'Tis a bit sad really.

I know this is off topic, but the only thing I could think of when seeing the pic on the front page was "wow, someone went overboard with the jingoism"...

In any case, always sad to see layoffs in the industry, but it's been all too common lately.

A court ruling granting one money does not guaranteeing delivery of said money. Defense lawyers have in this case vowed to seek all legal options to avoid paying. And if delivered, the $47 million will not be a big check. more like a little $4700 check monthly. Also subtract $20 million (not counting expenses) for the space flight. And I'm not one to cry for the rich, but it is a fact that being rich costs a lot, even when a larger percentage of gross is netted. I'm sure Garrett has a couple of million in pocket money, but a few bad financial decisions could put him millions into debt quite easily. How many times has Donald Trump declared bankruptcy?

 

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