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Schafer speaks out over industry's routine job cuts

"If you're not loyal to your team you can get by for a while, but eventually you will need to rely on their loyalty"

Double Fine's Tim Schafer has condemned the industry practice of routinely laying off staff on completion of a project.

"One of the most frustrating things about the games industry is that teams of people come together to make a game, and maybe they struggle and make mistakes along the way, but by the end of the game they've learned a lot - and this is usually when they are disbanded," Schafer told Wired.

"Instead of being allowed to apply all those lessons to a better, more efficiently produced second game, they are scattered to the winds and all that wisdom is lost."

The article mentioned the recent job cuts at Lionhead, which announced the job losses just days after the release of Fable: The Journey.

"After Psychonauts, we could have laid off half our team so that we'd have more money and time to sign Brütal Legend," continued Schafer.

"But doing so would have meant breaking up a team that had just learned how to work well together. And what message would that have sent to our employees? It would say that we're not loyal to them, and that we don't care. Which would make them wonder 'Why should we be loyal to this company?'"

"If you're not loyal to your team you can get by for a while, but eventually you will need to rely on their loyalty to you and it just won't be there."

In August Double Fine announced its intention to give up console work-for-hire and to concentrate on new ways to fund development and remain independent.

"Let's face it, anything beats the traditional game funding model," said Schafer at the time. "It's like a loan with a really horrible interest rate."

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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