Interesting story over at Lair developer Factor 5, which may or may not be in trouble, may or may not have canceled projects and may or may not be telling employees to seek work elsewhere – depending on who, and when, you ask.
While nothing has been confirmed, 1Up reported yesterday that Factor 5 was rumored to be working on a new Superman title for movie game publisher Brash, which, as you may recall, recently imploded, leaving uncertain the fate of many titles being developed under its auspices. In a recent blog post, artist Sam Baker said the project he was working on, which he declined to name, had been shut down, and also claimed that employees at the studio haven’t been paid in a month.
“Without proper funding on the project I was working on, the company was forced to stop production,” he wrote. “Unfortunately I was finally having a ton of fun working on it and we had made such insane progress that this was a total kick in the chest. It was basically like saying ‘The work you’ve been doing for the last eight months has been all for none, but thanks anyway.'”
“The president of the company basically told us if we didn’t receive funding in one week, all of us should move on and look elsewhere for another job,” he added.
A bad situation, no doubt, but things didn’t really get interesting until a bit later. Following the 1Up report about the Superman game rumor, that post was deleted from Baker’s blog and replaced with something far more media-friendly, claiming the whole thing was “misinterpreted.” “It was a big story in the news that we recently lost a publisher, Brash Entertainment, when they went out of business,” the new post says. “This does not mean that we’ve stopped production on that game, or that it was ever even in trouble. The other projects currently under way at Factor 5 are doing great. We hadn’t received payment because of the situation with Brash, which is why I said I needed to look elsewhere for work.”
So on this day, the project is dead, you haven’t been paid and your boss is telling you to seek new employment; but on the next, your project is fine, all the other projects are fine and the whole “new job” idea was entirely yours. Interesting shift of gears there, kind of like accidentally downshifting a Ferrari from fifth to first at speed: The funny noises have started and now you’re just waiting for the pistons to go shooting through the hood. Individual employees sometimes fly off the handle, but when a company takes such pains to shut them down and paint a picture of happy fun times for everyone, it usually means the exact opposite. We’ll be keeping an eye on Factor 5.