Ritual Departures

Ritual's Tom Mustaine sends along news that because of the way things are playing out over there, they have been forced to release some personnel. Here's the word:
As most people know, Ritual Entertainment recently finished Star Trek: Elite Force II, a game we are all tremendously proud to have developed. We had three very engaging projects lined up for the team, but unfortunately, none of them came to actual fruition. We found ourselves unable to maintain multiple AAA teams and were forced to release some of the most gifted game developers back into the industry's talent pool.

Ritual continues to focus on our other two AAA titles: Counter-Strike for the Xbox and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero for the PC, both due out later this year.
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1.
 
No subject
Jun 14, 2003, 12:16
1.
No subject Jun 14, 2003, 12:16
Jun 14, 2003, 12:16
 
Hurry up on Condition Zero boys.
Counterstrike 2 is on its way.

2.
 
Re: No subject
Jun 14, 2003, 12:18
2.
Re: No subject Jun 14, 2003, 12:18
Jun 14, 2003, 12:18
 
chances are cstrike2 would be a multiplayer game.

Condition Zero is a singleplayer game.

but, even so, your probably right that cs2 would still take some steam out of cz even if they are different audiences.

This comment was edited on Jun 14, 12:18.
3.
 
Is that completely true?
Jun 14, 2003, 13:13
3.
Is that completely true? Jun 14, 2003, 13:13
Jun 14, 2003, 13:13
 
I don't mean to give Ritual a hard time, but I am wondering if that is the whole truth or, because of various issues, this is the politically correct way of saying some bad apples were fired?

Sorry; too much PR speak has made me skeptical.

Finally able to play Will Rock (woo hoo!),
Ray

-----------------------------------------
09-30-03: Ph33r t3h crowbar!
http://users.ign.com/collection/RayMarden
Playing: Enclave, Neverwinter Nights, and Will Rock. Where are all the good games?
Everything is awesome!!!
http://www.kindafunny.com/
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4.
 
Good luck etc.
Jun 14, 2003, 13:21
4.
Good luck etc. Jun 14, 2003, 13:21
Jun 14, 2003, 13:21
 
...I doubt those who are leaving will have trouble finding new gigs!

5.
 
Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 13:25
5.
Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 13:25
Jun 14, 2003, 13:25
 
We found ourselves unable to maintain multiple AAA teams and were forced to release some of the most gifted game developers back into the industry's talent pool.
Unbelievable.

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6.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 14:04
6.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 14:04
Jun 14, 2003, 14:04
 
Man, that really sucks. At least they can look at it like they got their foot in the door and that they have the experience to find another job in the industry. I was laid-off a few years ago and it really turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I wish those guys the best of luck at finding another job.

God hates you, he told me.
7.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 14:17
7.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 14:17
Jun 14, 2003, 14:17
 
The gaming gig is attempting to be too structured and its stifling creativity. I don't know who was let go, but finding a *good* position with a group that has all the right pieces and stars lined up in their favor is much more easier said then done.

I hope the local Dallas individuals let go and those still their see good fortune come their way!

8.
 
No subject
Jun 14, 2003, 14:27
8.
No subject Jun 14, 2003, 14:27
Jun 14, 2003, 14:27
 
Kinda like a D&D group without the complementry rules lawyer, god complex dm, useless bumblefuck, and backstabbing traitor?

"I'm too much of a narcisist to really hate stupid people."
9.
 
No subject
Jun 14, 2003, 14:41
9.
No subject Jun 14, 2003, 14:41
Jun 14, 2003, 14:41
 
They need to be releasing more counter-strike methinks

"The" Dan
Supporter of the "A happy fredster is an unmuted fredster" fanclub.
ExcessDan
10.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 14:48
10.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 14:48
Jun 14, 2003, 14:48
 
We found ourselves unable to maintain multiple AAA teams and were forced to release some of the most gifted game developers back into the industry's talent pool.

It's a ridiculous way of putting it.

So if I want to finish with a girl i'll tell her that I wanted to release her beauty and charm back into the singles pool! lol! And when faithful Rover the labrador gets too old to walk i'll take him down to the woods with my shotgun and just 'release' him back into the carbon cycle...

I taste the salty tang of corporate PR wank.

11.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 15:05
11.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 15:05
Jun 14, 2003, 15:05
 
Yeah, it's pretty offensive. I was laid off a while back-no wait, I wasn't-I was given the "opportunity to pursue other professional endeavors".
I almost punched out the consultant our cowardly corp hired to deliver that line, I was that offended.
Have some balls for christ's sake, be honest and just say it like it is, 'Sorry bud, it's either you or senior management takes a hit on their stock options'-which they need to cook the books on anyway.
And then they wonder why there's no investor confidence out there anymore.


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http://www.mythicarealms.com
"And then, suddenly and without warning, it turned into a real-life case of hungry, hungry hippos."
- Stephen Colbert
12.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 16:01
12.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 16:01
Jun 14, 2003, 16:01
 
Investors? Senior management? At a privately owned company with less than 30 employees? I don't think that's an issue, it doesn't get much less corporate than two dozen guys. I know two of the artists who were laid off - they're not thrilled about it, but they're not acting like this is some Enron scandal either; this sort of thing happens to game studios all the time if they don't have a big hit to rely on.

And that anyone would refer to Tom Mustaine as a corporate PR wank... wtf? He's a game designer, he's not even one of the Ritual biz guys.

13.
 
Why is this so hard?
Jun 14, 2003, 16:10
13.
Why is this so hard? Jun 14, 2003, 16:10
Jun 14, 2003, 16:10
 
I don't think this is a matter of politics - it's simple economics. If you have more people around than there is work to do, you aren't going to be able to afford to pay those people over the long term and your entire shop will go under instead of just losing a few people. Believe it or not, some things in this world don't involve "the man" sticking it to someone.

Of course, everyone is going to spin this type of the best possible light. But what would they have to gain otherwise? What if Ritual actually *was* doing some housecleaning here? Would you expect them to come out and say, "yes, it's performance review time again and we're just trying to cut some of the dead weight from the teams"?

Also, since publishers are largely in control of the work that most game dev shops do (save for a lucky few that can self-fund their projects), all it takes is one publishing deal to fall through to decimate a team's prospects (let alone three, in this case).

- Holesinswss

14.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 16:17
14.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 16:17
Jun 14, 2003, 16:17
 
Vermilion - After working at Sierra for 3 years (and, incidentally, being laid-off because of Vivendi's VERY Enron-like scandal), there's one thing I've learned:

The general public (and even most gamers) will never understand the way the computer-game industry works.

Not that its all that simple; but the seperation between Publisher and Dev-team is one that has never gotten through to most people... and a lot of gamers fail to understand that games are a multi-million dollar investment these days, and its risky business - especially in this economy!

Quick fact for everyone out there: Did you know that only 5% (give or take a bit) of ALL PC games actually make a profit? 95% of them fail to recoup their costs - and SOMEONE has to pay for them... if the publisher bankrolls the game, then they have to swallow the loss (and you can bet they won't be happy about it, and won't be likely to give a lot of future business to the dev-team behind the game). If the developer takes a hit, they have to reduce staff or work on some way to stretch their remaining dollars; because Dev-Teams don't exactly hold assets they can sell to stay afloat between projects (most publishers take the IP rights to the games, so most teams can't even sell the rights to franchises they've been working on).

As someone who's worked on the publishing side and been trying to get a level-design job off-and-on for 8 years, I can tell you that this industry - while fun and rewarding - can be a VERY harsh one! Long-term planning (beyond about 5 years max) and stability are not in the cards.

Take care all, and best of luck to the entire Ritual crew, past and present.

--Noel "HB" Wade
Seattle, WA

15.
 
No subject
Jun 14, 2003, 16:42
15.
No subject Jun 14, 2003, 16:42
Jun 14, 2003, 16:42
 
are they going to use the new source engine for the X-Box CS? or the old engine?
-M][ke
"They call them fingers but I never see them fing.... oh, there they go."
Otto, The Simpsons.
16.
 
welp
Jun 14, 2003, 16:43
16.
welp Jun 14, 2003, 16:43
Jun 14, 2003, 16:43
 
This isn't just the game industry, its everywhere. The rise and success of the Temp industry shows companies, both large and small, find it cheaper to hire temporary help at a higher wage then drop them once a project is complete rather than having to keep people busy, pay SSI taxes, benefits, workers comp. etc. when theres really nothing going on. I'm not saying its exactly what happened at Ritual but it's similar in many respects.

its happening in manufacturing, in the business I do (contracting), white collar lower management, service industries and the list goes on. The era of job security where employee/employer loyalty is a thing of the past.

It sucks but dems the breaks.

edit: Ray, let me know if you jump online (Will Rock). I just picked up my copy yesterday and I wanna check out how the co-op is.


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PAH!
This comment was edited on Jun 14, 16:46.
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17.
 
Re: Euphemism
Jun 14, 2003, 16:44
17.
Re: Euphemism Jun 14, 2003, 16:44
Jun 14, 2003, 16:44
 

Ahhh, you don't understand the game's industry. For every one worker bee, there has to be 10 stand-arounds or execs. Where the rubber meets the road is often just a couple guys. The org chart is always stacked deeper than it is wide because no one wants to do the real work.

I'm not saying Ritual is like this, but a lot are like this.

18.
 
Re: welp
Jun 14, 2003, 16:58
18.
Re: welp Jun 14, 2003, 16:58
Jun 14, 2003, 16:58
 
In the case of game companies, the companies are wrongly trying to run like a software company. Instead they should run like a movie studio or general contractor: Small companies or individuals doing one thing - art, sound, programming, plumbing, electrical, framing, etc. Each coming together on a per project basis. Game projects SHOULD be temporary. Lets face it, game companies last about 3-5 years anyways. Games are so complex now that it needs to move towards a Hollywood type system.

I predict less full service studios and more specialty studios contracting under big companies like EA and Activision in the future.

19.
 
No, no, no.
Jun 14, 2003, 16:59
19.
No, no, no. Jun 14, 2003, 16:59
Jun 14, 2003, 16:59
 
NONE of you understand ANYTHING. What REALLY happened is that there's one all-powerful group that controls every company in the world; this group has gone by many different names throughout history, but the current leadership is the inhuman product of genetic splicing between the former leaders of the Illuminati cabal and the scions of the Rothschild family. This group runs everything through a pyramid of corporate interests, political bribery, and influenced social upheaval.

So, obviously, these gentlemen who were let go are mole people from the year 10,000.

http://www.matthewrorie.com
http://users.ign.com/collection/Azraelot
20.
 
Re: welp
Jun 14, 2003, 17:05
20.
Re: welp Jun 14, 2003, 17:05
Jun 14, 2003, 17:05
 
Two things:

1. My original question was meant honestly. I of all people understand the joys of capitalism <cough>, but I was verbally wondering if it was pure number crunching or if yet another incident happened at Ritual. People are hired and fired all the time, but it is less common for a release (or direct update) to be sent out stating such.

2. I will get back to you on Will Rock. Umm...Ubi Soft basically told me that it does not care about my problems; it listed my having a CD-RW (TDK's high-end 52x), Nero software (the software that comes with the TDK drive), and even having an Audigy Platinum as reasons why the game would not work. Excluding my own disgust over the company stance, I am not going to strip my system to play one game. You all know what a gaming addict fan I am and my addiction hobby spending is quite high.

It is not my proudest moment, but I actually had to grab a no-CD .exe to get the game running. Let me play a bit more than the first two levels and then I may hop online...if I can. I have no idea what other problem(s) may arise from playing online; if it checks my Will Rock .exe, I will not even be able to play online.

I always lucked out having both drives (DVD-ROM, CD-RW), but this whole thing is incredibly stupid. Note that I have no problems with the developer; the members personally contacted me and did everything they could to help me out. This is entirely an issue with Ubi Soft and there is not much I can do :|; I still want to play great/fun games and pirating is wrong.

Blah blah blah...co-op does sound like fun.

Understanding "BAH!," but not "PAH!" :o,
Ray

-----------------------------------------
09-30-03: Ph33r t3h crowbar!
http://users.ign.com/collection/RayMarden
Playing: Enclave, Neverwinter Nights, and Will Rock. Where are all the good games?
Everything is awesome!!!
http://www.kindafunny.com/
I love you, mom.
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