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.
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Re: The Fall of Starbreeze
Jan 28, 2019, 16:12
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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.
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Re: The Fall of Starbreeze