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Ignition closes Florida studio

Wed 03 Nov 2010 11:34am GMT / 7:34am EDT / 4:34am PDT
PublishingDevelopment

70 staff alleged to have gone, with owner UTV unhappy about 'Reich' project

The latest cut by publisher/developer Ignition looks to be its Florida studio, following the curtailing of development work in its London office and the axing of long-delayed title WarDevil.

An anonymous mail sent to GamesIndustry.biz and other news sites alleged that "Several members of the UTV Ignition Corporate Office in London came in [to the Florida studio] with police officers, and asked the 70 members of staff including the GM and executive producer to pack up their stuff and go home."

The mail went on to claim that Ignition owner UTV had invested $23 million in the studio, which was working on a game known as Reich. "The studio opened in Nov 2007 and the previous managers had misspent the money. A slice of the game revealed a [review] rating of 5.0 instead of the desired rating of 8.5."

While other sources have confirmed the studio's closure, Ignition has not replied to requests for comment from GamesIndustry.biz.

17 Comments

Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive

42 1 0.0
Police officers? Really? What happened to being professional and reasonable?

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
@Soeren:

Maybe Is trendy?, we could ask Activision about it considering the issue with Infinity Ward.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Jordan Woodward Studying Interactive Games Design, University of Gloucestershire

79 0 0.0
Is it really necessary to treat your employees like this...at least show a bit of common courtesy.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Mark Bridges Human

16 0 0.0
Guess its to make sure that the studios assest remain with the studio. However its overkill.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Alan Wilson Vice President, Tripwire Interactive

29 30 1.0
And I always thought a studio's assets WERE its people?!

Posted:3 years ago

#5
Wow that is not the way to treat people. Police are only used when someone has threatened you but... The other thing that gets me is the amount of money these studios burn on dead games - why oh why do so many people think 'lets get millions of investment in and make the next big thing' and just burn the cash? What happened to a business actually existing on what it earns? We do that and all of Firebrand's staff contribute to earning our existence and profits - And that is another thing, a business must make profit to remain in business as a games developer. Not rocket science and we all make mistakes but it really galls me when they set up NOT to make a profit for 5 years. Shit happens, but plan to make money and there is more chance you will remain around.

Posted:3 years ago

#6
And Alan you are right. The people are what makes the developer. Tech, money, management are all essential but a poor team makes poor games. To us great people are the most important.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Mark Bridges Human

16 0 0.0
Alan i completly agree with you, i'm talking more about software and hardware. I've lost count of the number of times i heard of developers going under and that equipment has disappeared from the office. I suppose that the management team were trying to protect what they saw as there most valuable assets were, with regards to getting some cash back.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Michael Chauvet News Editor

1 0 0.0
Are we sure these people were real cops? I know SOP when doing mass layoffs is to have security on hand. Maybe they were security guards and the emailer thought they were cops?

Posted:3 years ago

#9
Of course they weren't police officers. They were simply hired security personnel. The emailer was taking a bit of dramatic license.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart

219 7 0.0
We all have seen people escorted out of buildings with a box. It's a lot harder when it's 70 people so it's understandable there is additional security a) to protect the IP/Assets and b) protect the staff performing the sackings. It would not be the first time someone has taken a beating for firing somebody. Sacking 70 increases the odds. It's a fact of life. I don't see a story here except that another poor performing studio that wasted investors' money producing a low quality product has been shut down. That said we all love these annoymous Mr Angry emails and we know deep down they do embelish the facts either deliberately or because they are too emotional.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design

70 14 0.2
That sucks, I knew someone who worked there. More and more studios seem to be going to the wall these days, it's an unhappy state of affairs. Hope everyone affected lands on their feet.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Arwed-Ralf Grenzbach www.conflutainment.com

4 0 0.0
Unbelievable ! Are we working in the gaming industry or.........?

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
A slice of the game revealed a [review] rating of 5.0 instead of the desired rating of 8.5."

So, it that's how it's done now? How does one "review" a slice of an unfinished game that could be saved in one way or another during the dev process? And don't get me started on the whole "desired" ratings thing. Then again, the title was a bit... bland but bizarre. You think of one or two things with the word Reich and none of them are good things.

Imaginary Sample (TM) review header: "Reich or Wrong?"

Maybe I'm mad because no one offered me a piece of that pie. Had me party hat on, too...

Anyway, layoffs stink, especially these days - best of luck to all involved.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
Well that was completely unneccessary..

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive

42 1 0.0
@Greg: 'Reich or wrong'. Love it :-)

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Joe Neate Producer, SUMO Digital

3 0 0.0
I used to work for a studio in Edinburgh which shut down and screwed a bunch of the staff out of what they were due. The assets there were certainly not "the people". That's exactly the kind of behaviour no-one wants to see in this industry, but luckily that reputation follows the people involved around.
I hope the guys at Ignition are treated respectfully and get any pay/redundancy money owed to them. Best of luck.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

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