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Obsidian Layoffs

It seems that some layoffs have hit Obsidian Entertainment, according to the Twitter feeds of ex-staff saying they've been let go. Akil Hooper tweets: "11 years, nearly a dozen shipped titles, Designer, Lead, Producer. 1 cancelled game, survived 7 layoffs, 8th got me. Not a bad track record." QA tester Ashley Betters tweets: "No longer work at Obsidian. I guess this means I will have to start buying my own pens." A tweet from Justin Reynard offers sympathies: "Today marks my 3 year anniversary working at Obsidian Entertainment. To my coworkers (and sadly the ones we've lost) you guys are amazing.<3" Producer Jason Fader adds, simply: "*sigh*." A post on the Obsidian Forums says: "According to LI, producer Tess Treadwell and designer Sydney Wolfram (and three interns) seem to be got laid off too." Thanks VG247.

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21. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 28, 2011, 05:46 ShakaUVM
 
Flatline wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 18:34:
I find, minus some jarring bugs, New Vegas to be an overall superior experience over Fallout 3, but an inferior narrative.

When New Vegas works, it blows Fallout 3 out of the water. It's just hard to get emotionally invested in the storyline or a lot of the side missions that are going on.
Really? I found New Vegas to be one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Great game mechanics, great story and dialogue, but most importantly, the game seemed to allow me to play through the quests however I really wanted to. Try looking at a flowchart of how you deal with Bennie some time. =)

Tess is the wife of a friend of mine - I'm hoping she ends up at another great company.
 
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20. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 27, 2011, 03:48 InBlack
 
shit. Fucking shit. This and the news about the removal of stats from Skyrim, does not bode well for the future of RPGs...  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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19. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 27, 2011, 02:34 Jerykk
 
Surprising they're laying people off after the success of NV. Wonder how much Obsidian made from the game, or did most of the profits go to Bethesda...

I'm pretty sure all the profits went to Bethesda, as that's usually what happens with games that have publishers. Developers usually don't see any royalties until the publisher has recouped their costs and with development budgets averaging $10-50 million, with marketing budgets double or triple that, it's pretty rare that devs see any money after the game has shipped. It's very likely that Obsidian staffed up for New Vegas and then rolled over as many people as they could onto Dungeon Siege 3. It's also entirely possible that Dungeon Siege is the only project they're working on right now, leaving the remaining FNV team members out of luck. When you have multiple dev teams and only one project, cuts are inevitable.
 
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18. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 27, 2011, 02:17 Yifes
 
PropheT wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 16:04:
Maybe it's just because there are mods that do every single thing that Obsidian added to New Vegas (and often better), but Fallout 3 was leagues ahead of NV to me. The story in New Vegas was boring, if you could even finish it because of the bugs, and everything in the game felt smaller and more pointless when I played through it.

Seriously? I didn't get very far into FO3 cuz I thought the quests were borderline retarded. NV was a thousand times more interesting.

Surprising they're laying people off after the success of NV. Wonder how much Obsidian made from the game, or did most of the profits go to Bethesda...
 
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17. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 27, 2011, 01:04 Nucas
 
i started worrying about this studio's future when i saw their new game is a dungeon siege sequel.

so far it just seems like obsidian hasn't been free to do their own thing on their own timetable. they're always doing somebody's sequel bitch work. kotor 2 was the worst, a young team without the clout bioware had to tell lucasarts to fuck off and wait for a good game.

then again it seems to go the other way too, they dallied around with alpha protocol too much, it should have been their breakout top shelf title. they pulled a valve and totally revamped the design halfway through, scrapped a lot of material and repurposed more to suit the new gameplay direction.. they just didn't get a half life out of it. it seriously needed probably another 6 months of content generation and polish, minimum.. co-incidentally about the same amount of time sega had them shelve the game without funding more work on it.

all this said, i've sincerely enjoyed every obsidian game i've played. i never encountered any of the supposed crippling bugs in nwn2. mask of the betrayer was superb. alpha protocol was a very solid game (after the intro saudi arabia levels which were bad enough to almost put me off it). there is nothing fallout 3 did better than new vegas.

i think there's a lot of talent in need of better leadership and better luck.
 
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16. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 23:40 Ashley
 
Creston wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 13:40:
QA tester Ashley Betters tweets: "No longer work at Obsidian.

Judging by the state that Obsidian's titles shipped in, I'd say that you never really "worked" at Obsidian to begin with.

OH SNAP! (Please google the obligatory Jon Steward Oh Snap gif yourself, as Blue's forum won't post long links, even if those links are contained within a bloody {url=yaddayadda} link! :-pissed-:

Creston

Wow! Ice cold. I'm pretty sure Ashley read your comment.

I hope that all of those affected are able to turn this into a new beginning for bigger and better things.
 
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15. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 22:07 Jerykk
 
I find, minus some jarring bugs, New Vegas to be an overall superior experience over Fallout 3, but an inferior narrative.

I thought the narrative was great. Though, I have different priorities in an RPG than a linear game. Fallout: New Vegas has the most open-ended narrative I've seen in years. Almost every quest has branching paths you can take and you can align yourself with three different factions, each of which provides further opportunity for branching. The characters are also deeper and more interesting. Finally, the locations in FNV feel much more realistic. They aren't based around silly gimmicks like towns built around unexploded nuclear bombs or a cave run by kids. Instead, they feel like they have an actual history and place in the world, with a genuine connection to the other locations and factions.

FO3 had a linear narrative but I don't think that really helped it. It simply didn't have much of a story and I didn't feel invested in any of the characters.
 
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14. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 22:06 Riker
 
Very sorry for those who lost their jobs. To me, it feels like Obsidian never really got off the ground, which is unfortunate given how much potential many of their games had.  
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13. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 18:34 Flatline
 
the_culture wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 17:30:
To me Obsidian epitomizes unrealized potential.

I hear that's how most gamers describe Alpha Protocol.

I just started playing through it again. It's not *terrible*. It's not awesome either.

I find, minus some jarring bugs, New Vegas to be an overall superior experience over Fallout 3, but an inferior narrative.

When New Vegas works, it blows Fallout 3 out of the water. It's just hard to get emotionally invested in the storyline or a lot of the side missions that are going on.
 
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12. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 17:30 the_culture
 
To me Obsidian epitomizes unrealized potential.

I hear that's how most gamers describe Alpha Protocol.
 
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11. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 17:07 Pineapple Ferguson
 
I think that's exactly how I feel. I want to like Obsidian because Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone helped create some of my favorite gaming experiences of all time: Planescape Torment, Fallout 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, but Obsidian just hasn't been able to recapture that magic.

I have to admit that pretty much everything I've played from them has been a disappointment to some degree - not just because of the ubiquitous bugs, but from some poor design decisions (the terrible camera controls in NWN2 comes to mind.)

To me Obsidian epitomizes unrealized potential.
 
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10. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 16:04 PropheT
 
Beelzebud wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 14:01:
I just hope the company as a whole is healthy. I really want to see these guys carry the Fallout torch. New Vegas was a million times better than Fallout 3.

Maybe it's just because there are mods that do every single thing that Obsidian added to New Vegas (and often better), but Fallout 3 was leagues ahead of NV to me. The story in New Vegas was boring, if you could even finish it because of the bugs, and everything in the game felt smaller and more pointless when I played through it.

Obsidian is one of those developers that I really want to love but can't. Alpha Protocol, New Vegas, and how many games before it with legions of bugs and problems that become the reality of the experience despite the lofty goals they set out for. I hate to see people lose their jobs and I wish them the best, but hopefully this helps get Obsidian into shape for their next games.
 
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9. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 15:57 Mashiki Amiketo
 
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 14:10:
I'm pretty sure Obsidian had a particularity bad track record in the QA dept.

I'm pretty sure that more than half the problem is publishers wanting something last week in no matter what state it's in, rather than next week when it's in better shape.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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8. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 15:10 Jerykk
 
I'm pretty sure Obsidian had a particularity bad track record in the QA dept.

I don't think you understood his statement. He was saying that QA is only responsible for finding bugs, not fixing them. In most cases, QA will find most (if not all) the issues that customers eventually encounter. However, these issues are often not fixed because they are either deemed too minor or the fix too risky at that stage of development. Tons of bugs are waived by the publisher once the game reaches the first RC milestone.
 
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7. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 14:35 StingingVelvet
 
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 14:10:
Have you ever worked in QA Creston? You shouldn't be so quick to blame the testers.


I'm pretty sure Obsidian had a particularity bad track record in the QA dept.


Bethesda did the QA for New Vegas however.

In any case Obsidian is one of my favorite dev studios so this is a shame. I hope these people land somewhere just as good. I'm kind of surprised after the massive success of New Vegeas that layoffs were needed.
 
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6. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 14:10 nin
 
Have you ever worked in QA Creston? You shouldn't be so quick to blame the testers.


I'm pretty sure Obsidian had a particularity bad track record in the QA dept.

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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5. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 14:10 Tehol
 
Bill Borre wrote on Apr 26, 2011, 13:46:
Have you ever worked in QA Creston? You shouldn't be so quick to blame the testers. Shipping titles at Activision have thousands of bugs written up in the database marked 'WNF'. It stands for 'will not fix.' Management makes the call where resources get allocated and the titles are shipped.

does publisher or gaming studio care how we earn our money to pay for their product?do they care how we allocate our resources to support our hobby?why should we care about inner workings of gaming studio and their problems?i don't want to be in their shoe; i got my own problem e.g dealing with bug ridden software or game they sold me.
sorry.
 
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4. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 14:01 Beelzebud
 
I just hope the company as a whole is healthy. I really want to see these guys carry the Fallout torch. New Vegas was a million times better than Fallout 3.  
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3. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 13:55 wonkawonka
 
Same with EA and every other company shipping any product for profit: make it good enough. Perfect kills profit. And this means lots of WNF.  
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2. Re: Obsidian Layoffs Apr 26, 2011, 13:46 Bill Borre
 
Have you ever worked in QA Creston? You shouldn't be so quick to blame the testers. Shipping titles at Activision have thousands of bugs written up in the database marked 'WNF'. It stands for 'will not fix.' Management makes the call where resources get allocated and the titles are shipped.  
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