The Fall of Starbreeze

The arc of Starbreeze Studios is a rags-to-riches-to-rags tale that saw the Swedish developer soar with publishing deals with Hollywood licenses and development of their own virtual reality headsets before crashing back to earth with a reorganization and even an insider trading arrest. To help overcome our superficial understanding of what happened, The fall of Starbreeze on Eurogamer is a remarkably detailed analysis of what happened based on some internal documents and exchanges from over a dozen anonymous current and former Starbreeze employees. This very lengthy article, outlining the impact of some missteps and more than a little hubris. Here's part of the intro:
Just two years later, Starbreeze is on the brink of extinction. Following the disastrous release of Overkill's The Walking Dead in November, Starbreeze's board of directors unceremoniously booted Andersson out of the company. In a remarkable email obtained by Eurogamer and sent to everyone at the company the day after he was fired, Andersson lamented the laziness of his staff - the same staff who had just endured months of crunch for a project that was doomed from the start. A day later, Swedish authorities raided Starbreeze's office, arresting two people as part of an investigation into alleged insider trading. Riddled with millions of pounds of debt, Starbreeze has effectively gone into administration and is looking to sell off as many of its ill-advised virtual reality ventures as possible while it still can. The future of Payday, that old reliable cash cow, is in doubt. And for the staff who remain - those who put their blood, sweat and tears into Starbreeze games even as they endured late nights and mismanagement - the threat of layoffs looms.

How did things go so badly wrong in such a short space of time? According to over a dozen current and former Starbreeze staff members, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect their careers, the writing had been on the wall for some time. But even as staff lost faith in the studio and its bosses, nobody, it seemed, thought Starbreeze's fall from grace would turn out to be quite so dramatic.
View : : :
13 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
Newer [  1  ] Older
13.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 18:45
13.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 18:45
Jan 28, 2019, 18:45
 
Prez wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 16:07:
Creston wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 15:33:
Wasn't Starbreeze the studio that did that utterly garbage Syndicate remake as an FPS?

Yep. To be fair, the game wasn't completely terrible - it was simply mediocre and forgettable. The biggest sin was that it was done using an absolute classic of a series, long overdue for a sequel, giving fans a game that exactly none of them wanted and captured literally none of what made the strategy games magic, AND seemingly killed off the franchise in the process.

Oh God, it was fuck-awful. And absolutely ruined the IP.
Avatar 15604
12.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 16:12
12.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 16:12
Jan 28, 2019, 16:12
 
It's a shame. They were one of very few developers who rolled their own FPS game engine and it was pretty damn good. Syndicate overall was very meh (though a bit underrated I think), but the controls and shooting were well done and the AI was above average. You could get in a gunfight with a single AI in a hallway and it would be fun--that can't be said of many FPS games. Your character had a sense of mass and momentum and placement in the world rather than the more typical flying, disembodied cross hair.

The Riddick games before that only truly worked because they'd done such a good job with the FPS mechanics.

I haven't played anything they released after Syndicate, but at the time the only reason I even bought Syndicate was because Starbreeze had developed it. The name meant something.

I didn't know what they'd been up to since, but yeah, it sounds pretty nuts. They have (or at least one point had) some real talent working for them, so I hope they end up at better run studios.
11.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 16:07
Prez
 
11.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 16:07
Jan 28, 2019, 16:07
 Prez
 
Creston wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 15:33:
Wasn't Starbreeze the studio that did that utterly garbage Syndicate remake as an FPS?

Yep. To be fair, the game wasn't completely terrible - it was simply mediocre and forgettable. The biggest sin was that it was done using an absolute classic of a series, long overdue for a sequel, giving fans a game that exactly none of them wanted and captured literally none of what made the strategy games magic, AND seemingly killed off the franchise in the process.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
10.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 15:33
10.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 15:33
Jan 28, 2019, 15:33
 
Wasn't Starbreeze the studio that did that utterly garbage Syndicate remake as an FPS?
Avatar 15604
9.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 15:10
9.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 15:10
Jan 28, 2019, 15:10
 
Won't comment on the whole Starbreeze debacle because who didn't see that one coming a mile away, but damn, what a great job the author did on this article.
8.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 14:29
8.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 14:29
Jan 28, 2019, 14:29
 
Wonder if they had rights to Chronicles of Riddick Escape from Butcher Bay or it went to the producer Vivindi. Would be nice to see it on GOG.
Scorpio Slasher: ... What about you boy, what do hate?
Marcus: ... Bullies. Tiny d*ck egotists who hurt people for no reason, make people lock their doors at night. People who make general existence worse, people like you.
Avatar 1858
7.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 13:42
7.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 13:42
Jan 28, 2019, 13:42
 
Darks wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 12:05:
Starbreez has no one but themselves to blame for the Walking Dead game being so bad. They were told many times about some of the stupid features in the game that made the game non enjoyable.

Grapping that takes away health AI thats stupid and shoots up the place causing the horde meter to get set off. No way for the horde meter to rest after moving out of the area and remaining silent. Stupid stuff like this killed the games overall enjoyment.

And a host of other minor issues. The Devs failed to listen to the community and now they are paying the price for it.

I always questioned why they ported Left 4 Dead basically into The Walking Dead. Major derivatives aside, TWD is a meditation on humanity under the pressure of the zombies and the breakdown of society, more akin to Lord of the Flies than Army of Darkness. The genre doesn't strike me as a good action game really.
6.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 13:32
6.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 13:32
Jan 28, 2019, 13:32
 
Wow. A lot of hubris in those acquisitions. Building a large conglomerate on a very shaky foundation. Sounds like Bo was too focused on growing and not focused enough on making sure the product he was putting out was going to support them.

Most game studios aren't well diversified - one failure can kill them. But making wide-ranging purchases well outside your core competency isn't the path to financial independence. It can accelerate things, but you need to start by first having a better cadence of product releases. If you 3 or 4 teams alternating releases, then you're never wholly dependent upon one product. If one of your 4 teams puts out a monumental flop, you can still count on the others to help prop them up.

Turning into a hardware company making a too-expensive VR solution when you're still riding on a 3+ year old game... no.
5.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 13:14
5.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 13:14
Jan 28, 2019, 13:14
 
Prez wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 13:12:
So there are 200 people working at Starbreeze while the company has no money, is millions in debt, and no games in development for the foreseeable future. How does Starbreeze even still exist?

They wont, they are running on borrowed time.
Author of the Neverwinter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.
Now integrated into Steams NWN: Enhanced Edition

http://www.moddb.com/mods/eye-of-the-beholder-ii-ledgend-of-darkmoon
Avatar 20498
4.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 13:12
Prez
 
4.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 13:12
Jan 28, 2019, 13:12
 Prez
 
So there are 200 people working at Starbreeze while the company has no money, is millions in debt, and no games in development for the foreseeable future. How does Starbreeze even still exist?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
3.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 13:07
3.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 13:07
Jan 28, 2019, 13:07
 
Spektr wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 12:56:
To protect their careers? Do they think they still have a future at Starbreeze?

No, but they want to have a career somewhere else, and badmouthing your boss is usually not a good way to ensure that happens, particularly in a very, very small industry.
2.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 12:56
2.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 12:56
Jan 28, 2019, 12:56
 
To protect their careers? Do they think they still have a future at Starbreeze?
1.
 
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 12:05
1.
Re: The Fall of Starbreeze Jan 28, 2019, 12:05
Jan 28, 2019, 12:05
 
Starbreez has no one but themselves to blame for the Walking Dead game being so bad. They were told many times about some of the stupid features in the game that made the game non enjoyable.

Grapping that takes away health AI thats stupid and shoots up the place causing the horde meter to get set off. No way for the horde meter to rest after moving out of the area and remaining silent. Stupid stuff like this killed the games overall enjoyment.

And a host of other minor issues. The Devs failed to listen to the community and now they are paying the price for it.
Author of the Neverwinter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.
Now integrated into Steams NWN: Enhanced Edition

http://www.moddb.com/mods/eye-of-the-beholder-ii-ledgend-of-darkmoon
Avatar 20498
13 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
Newer [  1  ] Older