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Perpetual Layoffs, Gods & Heroes Delay

Gamasutra is reporting 35 employees of Perpetual Entertainment have been laid off, calling this a cost-cutting move to support a delay to the release of Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising. The Perpetual Forums (thanks FiringSquad) confirm the departures, however, they characterize this as normal turnover resulting from the completion of content production roles on the upcoming MMORPG, though they do confirm the reported delay:

I am posting this message on behalf of Chris McKibbin, President & Co-founder of Perpetual:

As some of you may have heard we have made some staffing changes at Perpetual. We are proud to announce that we are within a month of being content complete on Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising , our upcoming AAA MMO title. As we achieve this major development milestone, a number of content production roles come to an end. The Gods & Heroes team remains over 80 talented people strong as we enter the final phase prior to launch -- play-testing and tuning to deliver the highest quality game possible. In addition, because we value the feedback our beta testers have been giving us, and because we want to ship the highest quality game possible, we have moved our target ship date from the spring to the summer of 2007. This extension of the testing and tuning phase of the project will allow us to focus entirely on making a great game which is our #1 goal.

Perpetual remains 100% committed to shipping a fantastic Gods & Heroes game and to continuing development of the much-anticipated Star Trek Online .

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18 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
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18. No subject Dec 15, 2006, 21:59 Ludomancer
 
Really, just fuck any studio that lays people off and considers it normal and acceptable practice. Anytime a company says that they're just trying to save face for their product and lack of funds.
If it were ever a fair deal to the employees, the employees would have a solid schedule in their contract and know exactly what date their employment would terminate. You know what? That's acceptable because everyone sees it coming.
It's not acceptable to lay people off mid-project because you're management and development can't pull the product together. If you get a contract to work a project, you shouldn't find yourself jobless halfway through.

Fuck Perpetual.

 
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17. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 12:48 Jaenos
 
Yeah, but the project isn't done, if I saw a "gone gold" announcement this would be a regular thing.

Further more, they have another project to do during/right after it, so they did secure funding(or should have anyway)

 
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16. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 11:10 MMORPGHoD
 
How many game sequels have we seen that are developed by completely different studios (because the publisher/dev disagreements)? How many times have we seen layoffs after a release?

I searched and found an article someone wrote seven years ago and I still think it's true today.

Job stability is another thing that is lacking in the computer games field. It seems to be a common practice in small development companies to lay off the entire development team upon completion of a project. Usually this is because a small development company can only afford to pay salaries while a project is actually being funded by an outside source. It takes a long time to negotiate such a contract, and often the previous product finishes before the negotiations are complete. As a result, the development company has no choice but to unburden itself of workers who aren't producing any revenue. As a result of this high turnover rate, development companies are unable to maintain a solid body of institutional knowledge. Worse, it inclucates a sense of futility in the engineering staff. As one worker put it: "If you ship, you'll be fired." Don't get me wrong. I still like games. But the games industry isn't games.

http://slashdot.org/features/99/08/20/143215.shtml

 
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15. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 09:56 Steele Johnson
 
"Actually, this is very common, for a company to recruit people for one, fairly long project. It is perfectly fine, if the people where informed when they started that they where only going to be working on that one project. "

But did the contract say that they would be let go 2 weeks before the holidays? I'm sure some of these people have wives/husbands and kids.

 
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14. No subject Dec 15, 2006, 09:53 Steele Johnson
 
Wow, I almost don't want to play this game now.

"Hurray, the content is complete! Now you're fired. Oh, and btw... wish your family a very merry Christmas!"

 
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13. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 09:15 Enahs
 
Actually, this is very common, for a company to recruit people for one, fairly long project. It is perfectly fine, if the people where informed when they started that they where only going to be working on that one project.


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This comment was edited on Dec 15, 09:15.
 
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12. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 09:07 Fartacus
 
Holy shit, I almost went to work for these guys back in March or so. I would have had to move up there too. I probably would have ended up one of those poor 35.

Laying people off 2 weeks before Christmas is shameful, by the way.

I have a couple of friends there, but they've been there for 2 years or so and are both the shit and the company would have to be insane to lay those guys off. But I haven't heard of their fate yet so who knows.

Speaking of laying off people 2 weeks before Christmas, that was my 3rd Christmas present for my first industry job at EA (Origin Systems, but same thing at that point). But they gave me a nice leather bag with a big EA logo on it as a parting gift.

 
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11. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 08:10 Narf2029
 
Any company that can get away with this will try to. It's all to make numbers look better to people who only see the world in numbers. Game companies, retailers, shipping companies... Like say, Target - their company policy says they can't fire you without cause if you've worked for 90 days or more. So, they call you into the office at the end of day 89 and shitcan you. Or if they miss their window, they cut your hours back to 3 or 4 a week to starve you out. Not sure why they go to all that trouble to follow a policy they could just change - that's companywide strategy and something they teach in their management school. Sorry, I'm bitter lol! Gaming companies fire people when there's nothing left for them to do - developers when the majority of developing is done, QA guys when the game enters public paid beta goes live.

NAAAARF!

"Is it so hard to teach a child not to shoot people?"
 
Huh? I'm sorry, I was thinking about cake.
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10. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 05:51 Zetler
 
In other words this game will be totally devoid of content and a skeleton staff to support it post launch. Yeah I can't wait to play this MMORPG now

 
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9. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 02:53 Cutter
 
merry fucking christmas here's you pink slip

And corporations still have the gall to talk about loyalty and teamwork being important. LOL!

How much of a bonus do you think the execs are going to get by way o this "cost cutting measure" do you think?



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8. Re: Bad developer Dec 15, 2006, 02:34 Yakuza
 
And, there is job security in the game industry. It's called "not working for lame companies."

If you have actually worked in the game industry you would know that simply isn't true.

Perpetual did not shift people over to Star Trek Online because it is not at a sufficient level of development to begin testing, nor is it in desperate need of further staff on the team.


 
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7. Re: Bad developer Dec 15, 2006, 01:44 nin
 
the much-anticipated Star Trek Online

<snicker>



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6. Bad developer Dec 15, 2006, 01:27 Dentrassi
 
It's not normal for ANY decent developer to shit-can a bunch of people just prior to release.

Why not move those people on to Star Trek Online?

Or another project?

Obviously Perpetual doesn't have the management to line up other titles which these people could move on to.

Those looking to get a job at this company - take this as the biggest red flag in the world. Stay away.

And, there is job security in the game industry. It's called "not working for lame companies."

 
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5. Re: No subject Dec 15, 2006, 01:12 Yakuza
 
I've been trying to get a job with these people as a QA tester for the last 6 months, and from what I hear from one of my friends in the ill-fated 35 (a QA tester), the game (Gods and Heroes) sucked horribly. I suppose I'll try again when their current hiring freeze is over, but I certianly hope by then Star Trek Online has entered the testing phase.

Most people haven't figured out yet that working in the Game Industry means having absolutely zero job security. You can be fired or laid off for anything at anytime at just about every company. This reason, among others, is why I'm waiting for some kind of Game Developer Union to be formed before I make serious attempts to work as a developer. No job security? No thanks.

 
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4. No subject Dec 14, 2006, 22:45 nightfend
 
Ouch...that's too bad. But that's what happens when everyone sinin the world jumps into the MMO game. 90% are bound to fail.

 
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3. Re: No subject Dec 14, 2006, 22:30 SquirrelZero
 
Holy shit, I almost went to work for these guys back in March or so. I would have had to move up there too. I probably would have ended up one of those poor 35.

Laying people off 2 weeks before Christmas is shameful, by the way.

 
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2. Re: No subject Dec 14, 2006, 22:26 Lorcin
 
merry fucking christmas here's you pink slip

Vegetarian Logic: We'll save animals by eating their food
 
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1. No subject Dec 14, 2006, 22:10 Jaenos
 
100% commited to releasing your game buy screwing 35 employees.

Not being sarcastic, but makes sense, but it's definatly not a good sign or outlook for any games from them in the future.

How are they going to make another game when they have to fire a hunk of staff on your first one?

 
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