Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space

Developer Possibility Space has apparently shut down according to social media posts from ex-staff, as noted on GamesIndustry.biz. There's no official announcement yet, but the company website is now offline. This studio formed by Jeff Strain would be the second property owned by Prytania Media (co-founded by Strain and wife Annie Delisi Strain) to close in a short time, as Crop Circle Games (also founded by the Strains) shut down a few weeks ago. There's an intriguing twist here, as an X from Polygon reporter Nicole Carpenter (not published on Polygon) reproduces what is purported to be the letter Jeff Strain sent to staff with the news. This suggests that the studio closure is due to details leaking about its game codenamed Project Vonnegut. The terse letter concludes with the ArenaNet co-founder and Undead Labs founder saying he is stepping away from the game industry to focus on family and helping his wife with what she describes as her "personal health struggles":
Late last week I received a list of topics and questions from Ethan Gach, a reporter at Kotaku, regarding an article he's writing about Prytania Media and the closure of Crop Circle Games. Much of it was expected but I was also stunned to see non-public information about Project Vonnegut, disclosure of our publishing partner with details of our business and financial relationship, and details of internal P&L discussions and confidential all-company meetings. Mr. Gach specifically credits current employees as the source of his information.

Leaks of this nature are typically malicious and done by outside hacking, so to see internal team members under a confidentiality agreement engage in this was shocking. Given the company's own strict confidentiality and notification obligations, I immediately got on a plane for in-person meetings with our publishing partner to disclose the information breach and to discuss the impact on the project. During that discussion our partner expressed low confidence they would be willing to invest the additional resources needed to complete the game, so we mutually agreed to cancel Vonnegut.

As a result of the cancellation of the publishing relationship and after careful consideration, I am closing Possibility Space. Today is your last day of employment with Possibility Space and Prytania Media. Your final paycheck including pay for work through the end of today will be deposited to your account, along with any other required payments, as dictated by your work location. For employees located outside the United States, today will serve as the first day of your Notice Period and your final day of employment is currently scheduled for April 19, 2024. However, all non-US employees — like their US peers — will have no work obligations after today. In addition, all employees affiliated through a PEO will have their employment separation processed according to applicable law.

It will take a few more days to finalize details of the termination agreement with our publishing partner, calculate our tax, insurance, vendor, and contractor obligations, and any other outstanding liabilities, and then determine what we can offer for severance.

I've retained a D.C.-based global law firm to oversee the wind-down of the studio. An employment attorney from that firm will will soon follow up to your personal email address with additional details, and that person will be your direct point of contact from here on for all matters related to your employment, including continuation of insurance benefits, severance payments and/or associated separation agreements. A copy of this email has also been sent to your personal email address.

You may keep your development equipment provided you permanently delete all company confidential information, confirm you have done so in writing, and strictly abide by your existing confidentiality obligations, including proper handling of company IP and other confidential and proprietary information. This confirmation will be coordinated through the forthcoming communications noted above.

As of today, I am stepping away from the game industry to focus on my family and care for Annie. I wish all of you the best as you navigate this complex industry and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
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17 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
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17.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 15:17
Prez
 
17.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 15:17
Apr 13, 2024, 15:17
 Prez
 
The two can appear the same - when you are having a mental breakdown, sociopathic (and sometimes even psychopathic) behavior is possible because of what a mental breakdown does to you. Just an fyi.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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16.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 14:56
Kxmode
 
16.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 14:56
Apr 13, 2024, 14:56
 Kxmode
 
Squirmer wrote on Apr 13, 2024, 01:13:
Yeah sounds like he's getting out before shit gets really nasty for him, no care given to the livelihoods of all the employees. Or he's just having a mental breakdown.
That sounds less like a mental breakdown and more like sociopathic behavior.
"Listen, Peter... with great horsepower comes... the sickest drifts..." - source
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15.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 13:20
15.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 13:20
Apr 13, 2024, 13:20
 
Marvin T. Martian wrote on Apr 13, 2024, 10:33:
Golwar wrote on Apr 13, 2024, 06:31:
I totally get why he'd rather focus on his wife and her health struggles than start a new project, with team members who betrayed his trust and led to the cancellation of the previous project.
Agree! If a team member(s) broke their NDA--Karma!!
And it's especially karma towards the team members who didn't break NDA!
14.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 10:33
14.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 10:33
Apr 13, 2024, 10:33
 
Golwar wrote on Apr 13, 2024, 06:31:
I totally get why he'd rather focus on his wife and her health struggles than start a new project, with team members who betrayed his trust and led to the cancellation of the previous project.
Agree! If a team member(s) broke their NDA--Karma!!
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13.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 06:31
13.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 06:31
Apr 13, 2024, 06:31
 
I totally get why he'd rather focus on his wife and her health struggles than start a new project, with team members who betrayed his trust and led to the cancellation of the previous project.
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12.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 03:06
12.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 03:06
Apr 13, 2024, 03:06
 
Well, leaking info to Kotaku, that shithole, definitely is a capital offense but I dunno, man, flushing the entire company down the shitter seems a bit drastic, no?

Sounds more like Strain really wanted to wind down the business for whatever reason(s) and the publishing partner also wasn't 100% behind it anymore. Otherwise, the publisher could have offered to seek a buyer or to temporarily continue the company by themselves with interim leadership.

What I don't quite get is what is happening to the other two Prytania owned studios, and Prytania itself for that matter, if Strain is stepping away from the games industry completely. Is everything down the shitter then?
-=Threadcrappeur Extraordinaire=-
11.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 01:13
11.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 01:13
Apr 13, 2024, 01:13
 
Yeah sounds like he's getting out before shit gets really nasty for him, no care given to the livelihoods of all the employees. Or he's just having a mental breakdown.
10.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 13, 2024, 00:04
10.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 13, 2024, 00:04
Apr 13, 2024, 00:04
 
1. An issue occurs in your company that creates a problem that is harmful but fixable.
2. We don’t like it, regardless of it being fixable.
3. Fire everyone and close the company. Problem solved.
If every business did that, there would be no businesses in existence. It’s blatantly obvious that someone wanted out, and this was the excuse for getting out. The employees could collectively sue the employer, surely.
9.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 22:55
Jivaro
 
9.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 22:55
Apr 12, 2024, 22:55
 Jivaro
 
This is not what happened. A creative story, but there is no way that this is even 1% of the facts.
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8.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 22:52
8.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 22:52
Apr 12, 2024, 22:52
 
Jim wrote on Apr 12, 2024, 22:48:
eh, sounds like the project was dead anyway and this was a save-face excuse

That's where I'd put my money.
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7.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 22:48
Jim
7.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 22:48
Apr 12, 2024, 22:48
Jim
 
eh, sounds like the project was dead anyway and this was a save-face excuse
6.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 22:02
6.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 22:02
Apr 12, 2024, 22:02
 
This ain't Louisiana, man. I ain't buyin' shit!
"Just take a look around you, what do you see? Pain, suffering, and misery." -Black Sabbath, Killing Yourself to Live.

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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5.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 21:03
Kxmode
 
5.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 21:03
Apr 12, 2024, 21:03
 Kxmode
 
"I immediately got on a plane for in-person meetings with our publishing partner to disclose the information breach and to discuss the impact on the project. During that discussion our partner expressed low confidence they would be willing to invest the additional resources needed to complete the game, so we mutually agreed to cancel Vonnegut."

Having a small studio where "internal team members" were involved in outside hacking would undoubtedly raise concerns, as it breaks a fundamental trust. The situation could be understandable if the studio worked on a revolutionary project requiring confidentiality; however, if it was a typical internal game project, the studio intended to announce it at an appropriate time. In that case, it's hard to see how a leak could lead to the studio's closure or diminish the publisher's confidence. If the publisher believes in the project's potential, wouldn't they continue to fund it? 🤔

Something seems off.
"Listen, Peter... with great horsepower comes... the sickest drifts..." - source
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4.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 20:22
Prez
 
4.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 20:22
Apr 12, 2024, 20:22
 Prez
 
On the face of it the overall reason seems to be that the publisher that he had his contract with had lost so much faith in the company's ability to meet their end of the agreement because of the leak that they wanted out. I'm assuming based on the released missives to employees that are here that Strain was so disillusioned with the leaks on top of the other stresses that he agreed to cancel the contract. Which would seem to be his final straw to shutter the studio. Of course, the information here could be 100% bullshit, so your guess ultimately is as good as mine.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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3.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 20:18
NKD
3.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 20:18
Apr 12, 2024, 20:18
NKD
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 12, 2024, 20:08:
Something doesn't smell right here. The game is being canceled not because the game code leaked, but bc details about the game leaked? And that makes it untenable to continue? Were they making the game equivalent of the Sixth Sense?

Yeah I don't really get it either. Why would a leak scare off their investor unless there was something shady going on...
Do you have a single fact to back that up?
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2.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 20:08
2.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 20:08
Apr 12, 2024, 20:08
 
Something doesn't smell right here. The game is being canceled not because the game code leaked, but bc details about the game leaked? And that makes it untenable to continue? Were they making the game equivalent of the Sixth Sense?
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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1.
 
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space
Apr 12, 2024, 20:01
Prez
 
1.
Re: Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space Apr 12, 2024, 20:01
Apr 12, 2024, 20:01
 Prez
 
Well that sucks. Sorry for all involved.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
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