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Layoffs at Eidos Montreal

Layoffs at Eidos Montreal

Tue 04 Mar 2014 9:25pm GMT / 4:25pm EST / 1:25pm PST
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Square Enix cuts dozens of developers from studio behind Thief reboot

Last week, Eidos Montreal's long-awaited reboot of the stealth franchise Thief finally saw release. It topped the UK charts, but met with mixed reviews. Parent company Square Enix might have expected more, as the publisher confirmed a Kotaku report for GamesIndustry International, acknowledging a significant number of cuts to the studio were made today.

"Yes it is true we've let 27 people go today, unfortunately it's something that every major studio has to do sometimes in order to ensure you have the right set up for current and future projects," a company representative said. "It's never a nice thing to do but we are genuinely trying to offer as much support as much as we can. We're trying to re-locate as many people as possible into other roles here or at our other studios and we've been in touch [with] several studios in Montreal to arrange a career day for those affected by this. We're very thankful for all their hard work and we sincerely wish them well."

Eidos Montreal was founded in 2007, with its first assignment being to resurrect the Deus Ex franchise, something it successfully accomplished with the 2011 release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Thief was intended to be another resuscitation of an established yet dormant intellectual property. However, it seemed to have a difficult development cycle, with a number of key talent leaving in 2012, followed by the resignation of original Eidos Montreal GM Stephane D'Astous in 2013, citing a "lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication" from Square Enix management.

16 Comments

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

836 1,086 1.3
Popular Comment
If ever anyone wonders how the indie movement got started, begin here and work backwards. This is absolutely fucking apalling.

Sorry for the profanity, but it has a place and this is it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 4th March 2014 11:55pm

Posted:6 months ago

#1

Omar Taylor
3D All-rounder and Designer

3 0 0.0
Just goes to show once again the ultimate risk of triple-A development.

Posted:6 months ago

#2

Mats Holm
Technical Process Analyst

55 50 0.9
Sad to hear this, hope the good people at Eidos find themselves in new positions soon.
I have yet to try out the new Thief, but I greatly enjoyed the DeusEx reboot they made.

Posted:6 months ago

#3

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
When will people stop being shocked that people get let go as a project wraps up? If that bothers them, they would be horrified by what happens each time a movie wraps.

Posted:6 months ago

#4

Richard Browne
EVP Gaming and Interactive

99 114 1.2
But our industry doesn't have the safeguards or structure of the movie industry Tim ; not that I disagree with your initial statement. At least the silver lining (if there is one) for these guys is that Montreal has an incredible development community. The fact is there will be fewer and fewer triple A games going forward, anything funded has to almost be a guaranteed bonefide hit. Studios will narrow their staff down to a size to service the core of that development and then bring in contractors/outsource to fill the overflow as necessary. The market simply won't support anything more than a dozen or so massive titles a year, alas I feel the downsizing is far from over.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Richard Browne on 5th March 2014 2:07am

Posted:6 months ago

#5

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

836 1,086 1.3
There's nothing wrong with expanding and contracting your team size to meet demand. But they way to do that is to hire contractors and pay them the increased fees they command in return for no guaranteed work.

If big companies are hiring "temporary" staff for "normal" wages and then just sacking people, I hope they get to reap what they sow a few years down the line. In fact, are there not laws against this kind of thing? I thought you had to have a valid reason for sacking someone, or even making them redundant, and "those people just gave us a #1 hit" doesn't really feel like it meets the minimum standard!

Posted:6 months ago

#6
I believe ND uses a mixture of regular, contractual and external.
Unlike the production approach for films, the game production approach probably has slightly more security

Posted:6 months ago

#7

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
But our industry doesn't have the safeguards or structure of the movie industry Tim ; not that I disagree with your initial statement.
True, and I do think it'd be good to have a Union-like structure outside each company that helps to support out of work developers and get them back in the action as smoothly as possible, but the individual moves these companies make just don't shock me. Unless you have a game company that is just you and a few really good friends, or on the opposite end one that is thousands of people in dozens of studios working on dozens of games at a time, it's just not reasonable to expect that you can maintain the same staff from project to project, even as the number of people necessary to work on it change.
I thought you had to have a valid reason for sacking someone, or even making them redundant, and "those people just gave us a #1 hit" doesn't really feel like it meets the minimum standard!
Depends on state/province/city/etc. Some places you can fire people whenever, for whatever reasons, others have more rules. Typically "group sackings" for budget reasons are not protected by law though, the rules are more to prevent individual discrimination or personal pettiness. You typically don't have to prove that the employees did anything wrong, just that you no longer need anyone to do those jobs. Now, if they fired 27 people and then hired 27 new people to fill those same roles, there might be some case there, but even then they'd likely have to prove some sort of discrimination.

Posted:6 months ago

#8

Neil Young
Programmer

296 372 1.3
Now, if they fired 27 people and then hired 27 new people to fill those same roles, there might be some case there, but even then they'd likely have to prove some sort of discrimination.
I believe this is prohibited in the UK, and discrimination doesn't come into it - redundancy requires you no longer need the employee, which is contradicted by hiring someone else into the role, unless you can show circumstances have changed.

Posted:6 months ago

#9

Marty Howe
Director

62 27 0.4
If this was a 90+ metacritic game, will multiple million sales, would they still have jobs?

Posted:6 months ago

#10

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,533 1,330 0.9
If this was a 90+ metacritic game, will multiple million sales, would they still have jobs?
I'm willing to bet Yes. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a sequel or DLC would've been announced, if it had hit 90+.

Posted:6 months ago

#11

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Popular Comment
If this was a 90+ metacritic game, will multiple million sales, would they still have jobs?
If Bioshock Infinite is any indication, the answer is no.

Posted:6 months ago

#12

Tim Browne
Lead Game Designer

20 40 2.0
With regard to Morville's comment I'm sure there is DLC in the works even with the layoffs. Companies plan DLC a long way in advance of release (starting on it before launch also).

A sequel I'd imagine is currently uncertain (but might be being worked on by a skeleton crew of a handful of people fleshing out ideas). Sales will as you imply decide if a sequel would get green lit or not.

Posted:6 months ago

#13
Sometimes with these type of niche games, the design team have to stick to their guns from conception to final execution to ensure there is a distinct visual/gameplay narrative that does not get too diluted by potential design by committee/initial feedback bias

Posted:6 months ago

#14

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I'm willing to bet Yes. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a sequel or DLC would've been announced, if it had hit 90+.
Even if they were working on a sequel, they wouldn't need most of the staff for months or more unless they had already been working on it.
I wonder how much of this has to do with the emergence of MMORPGs and competitive games like LoL and Dota - games designed to go on and on that players are devoting larger and larger shares of their time budgets to. I'd love to see a study on the effects these types of games have on player spending.
I have to say, since I've started on GW2 I've been able to play a lot of other games, but am much less urgent about getting them immediately.

Posted:6 months ago

#15

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