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Layoffs at Singularity studio Raven Software

Another round of redundancies at internal Activision studio following completion of latest title

Internal Activision studio Raven Software has let around 40 staff go according to reports, as the company refocuses on digital content.

A report by consumer blog Kotaku suggests around 40 members of staff have been axed, although Activision would not clarify figures, only stating the studio was being realigned following the release of it's most recent game.

"With the recent completion of Singularity, Raven Software is realigning its workforce to better reflect the studio's upcoming slate," said the publisher.

The studio suffered the same fate last year, with between 30-35 staff dismissed after the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Wolfenstein.

As well as Marvel franchise titles, Raven has also been responsible for Hexen, Star Wars, Quake and Soldier of Fortune games. Singularity, released this year after a number of delays, has a Metacritic score of 76.

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Latest comments (10)

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D10 years ago
"only stating the studio was being realigned following the release of it's most recent game"

And this is EXACTLY why the games industry really needs to move towards a movie industry model of having people on contracts - it's not cool to lay people off after completion of a project, or to have your staff wondering if completion means they're going to be out on their ear soon. My missus is working as an animator on features in London, and when one contract finishes she usually picks up another within a few weeks. There's a lot less job security (obviously), but she's paid a bit more and studios don't have her sitting around in between projects. And she also doesn't have to worry as to whether she'll be let go at the end of the project because she knows exactly what's going on and is able to plan for it.

Best to all the Raven chaps.
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Alasdair Gray Company Director 10 years ago
Does it need to be assumed that post-project means dead-ground? I would imagine that it would be in a company's best interest to retain it's talent, if possible. Rather than making contract-positions the norm, would it not be better to focus on finding ways to make use of that time/talent? This might be a bit of a naive question, but interested to hear thoughts.

Best of luck to everyone looking for new opportunities.
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Neil McPhillips Senior Development Manager, Blazing Griffin10 years ago
This is true, people need to get out of the mindset of working at one company for life I think. The industry is hit driven and no one can guarantee they will always be successful in the traditional games market. It's becoming all too common to see lay-offs at the end of big projects coming as a surprise to employees but realistically unless the studio has multiple projects on the go how are they to support all the people who only play a role in development in the last 6 months?

More companies just need to be upfront with their staff, I know quite a few people who have moved city over the promise of a permanent role only to be booted after 3 months when the current project comes to an end.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games10 years ago
It's sad to hear about lay-offs. I agree with Alasdair; there are ways to keep your staff focused on creative endeavours. i.e. exploring new IPs, creating prototypes, training, exploring different pipelines, improving workflows. I would have 2-3 different teams looking into new ideas.

It depends on how much "downtime" is expected though.
All the best to those looking for new jobs.
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gi biz ;, 10 years ago
On the other hand, during all of my interviews in the UK a question recurring 100% of the times was "why did you quit that job, why are you looking for something else...?"
I guess people wouldn't be so much scared if HR interviewers wouldn't make such a fuss.
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James Ingrams Writer 10 years ago
Another great PC game name disappears....... There is a change going on in video gaming that is not nice and we're only seeing the tip of the iceburg!
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Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts10 years ago
I have to agree with Fran, Like the film and a great deal of the IT industry their needs to be a large change in culture towards contracting, this can work for everyone and when the process and culture is understood all really do benefit. 3-4 of the larger studios have already realised this and I can only see more following...

HR managers will always ask the question about why your looking they want to understand your motivations, previous circumstances for moving on, they arent looking to trip anyone up its a simple qualification question, I always ask.... if I dont know where someone is from, where they are currently and where they want to go I wouldnt be doing my job properly.
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Kyle Rowley Associate Design Director, CD Projekt RED10 years ago
There is no central HUB for games like there is for films though. In films you have Hollywood and London; in games you have... well, no where. If all games studios were in London, it may work. But until then, I can't see it working. That and films are highly unionised, something games aren't and probably never will be.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D10 years ago
@ Kyle - they're both fair points.

Re hubs, Soho's crazy for having such a huge amount of studios. In terms of games though, we have similar hubs - just not as big and all over the country - London, Brighton, Guildford, with smaller hubs elsewhere.

Re unions, I'm not sure the effects industry here is that unionised, certainly not for freelancers. One of my wife's friends is permanent at MPC, I don't recall him talking much about unions - though he does talk about unions in the states when he worked there. I doubt games will ever see a union - it's just too easy for employers to shift work overseas as soon as that happens. Having said that, that hasn't stopped the US effects industry from becoming highly unionised, so who knows.

Like I said though, good points.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 12th October 2010 5:50pm

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Martin Greenall Animator 10 years ago
Whilst there are no central 'hubs' there are smaller ones dotted around the UK, but these seem to be shrinking, on a weekly basis it would seem.

If the industry did move to a movie styled, contract based work, then i think it would centralise the work force in the UK, presumably, as Kyle has hinted, around the London/South East area. Indeed, just doing some quick 'research', just under half of the UK jobs advertised here on are for the London/South East area.

I could only see that getting more pronounced with people been on 1-2 year contracts (or less); people would have to move closer to 'the hub' so they could change projects every so often.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Martin Greenall on 12th October 2010 5:54pm

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