Updated: Red 5 Studios Employees Speak Out Against Dismissed CEO

Updated: Red 5 Studios Employees Speak Out Against Dismissed CEO

Firefall screen

Red 5 Studios wasn't impressed by former CEO Mark Kern's behavior, referring to him as "a force of nature we reacted to".

The Escapist has covered a lot of stories about videogame industry layoffs over the years, and in many cases, they have nothing to do with the quality of an individual's work. Still, that's certainly not the case for every layoff. Take the very recent dismissal of Red 5 Studios CEO Mark Kern, which offered little more than a leaked internal email for readers to find meaning in. According to a new source from Red 5 Studios, however, Kern wasn't someone the team enjoyed working with. Prone to extended absences and impulsive decisions, Kern's leadership slowed progress on Firefall and may have even impacted the company's reputation overall.

"I don't think [Kern's departure] will impact anything," a source within Red 5 told The Escapist. "[Kern was] more a force of nature we reacted to than a part of the team." The source added that Kern hasn't been to Red 5's offices in weeks, and when he does visit, he did nothing but "randomly make decisions that nobody [could] counter."

While the above statement was from a single Red 5 source, it does appear to reflect the larger organization. Online reviews of Red 5 Studios gave the developer a low rating overall, with only 20% of employees recommending the company to friends. "Horizontal Structure does not allow for decision making," one employee writes. "Getting things done is nearly impossible, as vision holders are not active in decision making process until after decisions are made."

It's not clear whether a lack of satisfaction among employees can be laid fully on Kern's leadership, but the dismissal will shake up Red 5's management regardless. Whether the new CEO can improve the developer's prospects and its Firefall MMO remains to be seen.

UPDATE: Another Red 5 Studios employee has contacted The Escapist, echoing the statements from previous communications. "Mark was incredibly smart and had big ideas," the source said, "but his leadership style was erratic, impulsive, and very disuptive - basically the worst thing for a flat organization. I think his departure will allow Red 5 to plan and execute much more efficiently."

Permalink

I like that this is first hand investigative journalism from the escapist. Pretty cool, but it has me worried for the source. The email specifically asks that you refrain from talking about it outside the company.

Being honest here, but I'm not surprised to see these things said. Even as late as I was getting into and finally playing the beta, the game felt extremely sparse and empty. All I've seen from them, from Kern specifically was a parade of changes and changes to those changes. The game was in a weird state of "Beta till everyone gets it" as well which certainly didn't help I'd say, and the fact they haven't been able to get even a single mechanic tied down for longer than a patch or two shows some serious issues in management.

Paired with the constant articles he wrote on another site constantly jerking off his own ego... Yeah definitely not surprised.

I've been playing/following Firefall for over a year since the nice people at the Escapist gave me a beta key, and I don't really find this that surprising. The reviews that were posted on GlassDoor linked in the article above were brought to the attention to the Firefall forums earlier this year. They were generally dismissed as being unreliable. In hindsight they might of been a lot more accurate than we thought.

cursedseishi:
Being honest here, but I'm not surprised to see these things said. Even as late as I was getting into and finally playing the beta, the game felt extremely sparse and empty. All I've seen from them, from Kern specifically was a parade of changes and changes to those changes. The game was in a weird state of "Beta till everyone gets it" as well which certainly didn't help I'd say, and the fact they haven't been able to get even a single mechanic tied down for longer than a patch or two shows some serious issues in management.

Entropy-Rising:
I've been playing/following Firefall for over a year since the nice people at the Escapist gave me a beta key, and I don't really find this that surprising. The reviews that were posted on GlassDoor linked in the article above were brought to the attention to the Firefall forums earlier this year. They were generally dismissed as being unreliable. In hindsight they might of been a lot more accurate than we thought.

As someone who's been playing Firefall off and on (more "off", really) since around this time last year, I'll agree with both of these statements. Everyone I joined the game with has subsequently left because of the meandering pace of development, the aimless direction of changes, and the general lack of anything to really do in the game. I like to log in from time to time to see how things have changed, and maybe dedicate a few hours into playing over the space of a week, but invariably I sort of fall away from the game again.

So, translating from PR speak, he was a douchebag that nobody liked. And Red 5 effectively curbstomped his employment there? Good. Too bad the AAA industry doesn't do this more often.

This is impressive to say the least. Most people on the top don't really need to care about what the people under them think...wow this is interesting. I don't even know anything about the game.

He was always a douche.

Massively reported a while ago him banging on about how every bit of competition such, bad mouthing Blizzard for being successful (despite him working there) and talking up Firefall to hell.

I hope that they manage to clean up everything soon. I can't really build any enthusiasm for Firefall since the game stopped making any actual sense in terms of design decisions, which sucks because it has great potential, but wastes what it has and forces the player to make bad decisions about the rest to compensate for it.

This is why talking a big game is different to proving it. It's quite sad to hear this though... Firefall looks so good, and it plays well in PvP. But the problem was that PvP never got addressed well at all as well as he empty wastes of PvE.

I still hold out hope for the title though. The art made me wanna play it. But the game just meanders to nothingness, which is just a shame.

Here's hoping that a change in leadership will breath some life into FF because I've honestly gotten bored with it and didn't like much of the planned changes put forward. There is a ton of potential for the game and the vision of a living world shaped by players is a bold idea but after all this time they are still fiddling with just the basic mechanics...not always for better.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here