High Moon Studios Lays Off Staff

High Moon Studios Lays Off Staff

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With the development of Deadpool finished, Activision has cut roughly 40 employees from the High Moon Roster.

Activision's Deadpool doesn't yet have a hard release date but it's just about ready to go. You can tell because employees at High Moon Studios, the Activision-owned developer on the game, are being thanked for their hard work with sudden, sad unemployment.

"Activision Publishing consistently works to align its costs with its revenues - this is an ongoing process. With the completion of development on Deadpool, we are taking a reduction in staff at High Moon Studios to better align our development talent against our slate," the publisher said in a statement to Kotaku. "Approximately, 40 full-time employees will be impacted globally. We are offering those employees who are impacted outplacement counseling services."

High Moon has been around for awhile, ending up in Activision's hands by way of Vivendi, the parent company of Sierra Entertainment, which acquired High Moon in 2006. Its previous games for Activision include the Transformers titles Fall of Cybertron, Dark of the Moon and War for Cybertron, and Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy.

The layoffs are, of course, a terrible indictment of the nature of the triple-A game development business, but you already knew that.

Source: Kotaku

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Ooooooh... 'Lay off' is such an ugly term. We prefer "phased out"

As crappy as this is, people need to remember that this is the norm with AAA publishers - particularly EA / Activision. It sucks, but this should not be unexpected.

Captcha: "rubicon crossed" Captcha confuzzles me.

Yeah, here's why this deserves an extra special "Fuck you!" directed at Activision. They're currently the biggest triple-A publisher around. They're married to Blizzard, who are making money hand over fist, and the few franchises they put out now all make money hand over fist. Skylanders has made them hundreds of millions in profit. COD has made them billions.

When you're in a situation where you're making so much money you don't know what to do with it, you should be expanding. You should be hiring more developers to make more games for you. Making billions of dollars, then sacking your own development staff, is not only a douchey thing to do, it's also a highly inefficient way to run your business. If you're cutting staff when you're making money, then what do you do when you're actually losing money. Cut more staff? How's that going to turn things round for you?

Dickbags. Fucking dickbags.

V da Mighty Taco:
As crappy as this is, people need to remember that this is the norm with AAA publishers - particularly EA / Activision. It sucks, but this should not be unexpected.

Captcha: "rubicon crossed" Captcha confuzzles me.

It's a rather stupid norm though, these people get to know each other and what they can do and would be even better and faster at making the next game if kept together. Why they don't just have a set number of studios which go from project to project I will never know.

Thats a shame considering so far they've made some pretty good games and also bet Blizzard is forming a new team for another random game. Wish all those left high and dry the best.

Wow. And to think, if they used a reasonable timeline, perhaps the same could have been done with less staff - Staff that wouldn't have to be laid off at the end of development.

I was "meh" about this game, but now I'm thinking that this game won't be any good; it's just a cash-in utilizing current popular nerd culture. Remember when gaming felt shameful in public, and only the most proud made games for their niche? I'm starting to miss those days...

I'm wondering if there is more to this than what we know.

I wonder if any of those guys were just contract workers or something. Only hired to do one job and since it's done, they're not needed anymore.

In any case, best luck to them all.

So that's who High Moon Studios are...

Oh well, I hope Deadpool a decent testament to the company. It's good that Activision are offering them support for finding new work

TheProfessor234:
I'm wondering if there is more to this than what we know.

I wonder if any of those guys were just contract workers or something. Only hired to do one job and since it's done, they're not needed anymore.

In any case, best luck to them all.

The statement says full-time employees, so I don't think they were working on a contract basis.

Wasn't especially interested in this game (I generally find the Deadpool character annoying) but this game could now receive across the board perfect scores, dispense medium-rare rib-eye steaks and summon a beautiful woman who enjoys giving blowjobs at a moments notice and I still wouldn't buy it because of the behavior of its publisher.

I'm so glad my future career has impeccable job security.

Its too bad my future career has less than a 10% placement rate of trained individuals who actually attain it.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

When you're in a situation where you're making so much money you don't know what to do with it, you should be expanding. You should be hiring more developers to make more games for you. Making billions of dollars, then sacking your own development staff, is not only a douchey thing to do, it's also a highly inefficient way to run your business. If you're cutting staff when you're making money, then what do you do when you're actually losing money. Cut more staff? How's that going to turn things round for you?

Dickbags. Fucking dickbags.

While I'm not disagreeing that activision are dickbags, because they are, one only needs look at the studio's previous titles to see that its probably not the kind of uber studio you really want to keep around forever. A bunch of licensed titles. You can farm out licensed work to anybody. Its not like this studio invented deadpool or transformers.

Just because Nickelback has made music in the past doesn't necessarily mean their next album is going to be good, and it certainly doesn't mean that the music they made in the past was any good. It was passable, and it sold, and they keep making more and it continues to be passable. Thats a sort of example of my point.

If the 40 employees didn't know last year that they'd be on the block as soon as their current title was finished, THATS the shitty thing that is utterly reprehensible.

RicoADF:

V da Mighty Taco:
As crappy as this is, people need to remember that this is the norm with AAA publishers - particularly EA / Activision. It sucks, but this should not be unexpected.

Captcha: "rubicon crossed" Captcha confuzzles me.

It's a rather stupid norm though, these people get to know each other and what they can do and would be even better and faster at making the next game if kept together. Why they don't just have a set number of studios which go from project to project I will never know.

I fully agree there that it is a horrible norm that should not exist imo. However, some people are still going to be surprised by it, hence my post.

The ilk that run publishing companies like Activision look to cut costs anyway they can in an attempt to maximize profits, and to them the whole system of hiring a studio for one game and firing them afterwards is cost efficient. It really does show where Activision's priorities are between making money and taking care of their employees so that they create the best possible products, and is a prime example of where the whole "businesses exist to make money" argument falls apart. Screwing over your employees to save a few hundred grand in a company making billions annually because of said employees seems financially sound in the short-term but will create all sorts of problems in the long run, such as other companies not wanting to work with you (Notch and EA comes to mind) and the unintentional encouragement for employees to needlessly stretch a game's development just so they can keep their jobs longer (in cases like this).

CriticalMiss:

TheProfessor234:
I'm wondering if there is more to this than what we know.

I wonder if any of those guys were just contract workers or something. Only hired to do one job and since it's done, they're not needed anymore.

In any case, best luck to them all.

The statement says full-time employees, so I don't think they were working on a contract basis.

Hmm.. True. Still can't believe that this is a industry practice.

CriticalMiss:

TheProfessor234:
I'm wondering if there is more to this than what we know.

I wonder if any of those guys were just contract workers or something. Only hired to do one job and since it's done, they're not needed anymore.

In any case, best luck to them all.

The statement says full-time employees, so I don't think they were working on a contract basis.

I work in the medical industry with a 45 hour working week and have been on a 6 month recurring contract since I started in 2009 as is everyone of the other 600+ employees. Just the same as it was for my previous 2 jobs and if they decide not to renew someone's contract they give at best 2 weeks notice. That's just how the jobs market is in today's world.

It's more of a reflection of the bloated budgets they employ to make these games, more than anything else. They're trapped in their own capitalist nightmare, but they think it's what they're meant to do. The firing measures are less greed and more compensation for making a game that can't be afforded normally because of all of the costs incurred by a triple A mindset focused on spectacle, shareholders, and reputation, rather than actually thinking about the game itself. At this point, it's just a means to an end for their purposes.

In addition to putting off other developers, it also weakens our overall strengths when we don't cultivate an environment conducive to investing in the quality of our staff. In addition, sometimes consistency and direction are also sacrificed when the layoffs aren't done "properly" in terms of results.

It also engenders a certain rebelliousness which leads to splits and other things of teams without discrimination for which projects are affected, which while resulting in a few good things, has often served to make things more difficult or complicated overall. The discussion also turns ugly when the upper execs act so offended or betrayed when they even suspect their staff of foul play, largely because they're paranoid about the practices they use on their employees being turned against them.

DVS BSTrD:
Ooooooh... 'Lay off' is such an ugly term. We prefer "phased out"

So Kitty Pryde did it?

So...Does this mean no day-1 DLC, or do they still have the staff for that?

V da Mighty Taco:

Captcha: "rubicon crossed" Captcha confuzzles me.

Maybe Captcha is Aimee Mann fan:

(I know the term predates her, I just wanted an excuse to post it)

TheProfessor234:
I'm wondering if there is more to this than what we know.

I wonder if any of those guys were just contract workers or something. Only hired to do one job and since it's done, they're not needed anymore.

In any case, best luck to them all.

This is just what happens in a lot of studios. The studios hire people, work 'em on one project, often involving brutal hours for long periods during crunch time and then lay em off when the game ships. They're salaried, not contract workers and don't get overtime for these crunch periods. I had a buddy from high school who went through this at Rockstar and then Harmonix (though Harmonix had the nerve to claim that they were just laying off testers and the like when the story broke.)
If you don't like it, don't support the studios which pull this shit. They don't all do it, so you can still play games.

DVS BSTrD:
Ooooooh... 'Lay off' is such an ugly term. We prefer "phased out"

"Phased out" is so 2009. "Right-sized" is the new technical term, as in "the High Moon studio has been right-sized..."

 

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