Eden Games Go On Strike Against Atari

By John Walker on May 11th, 2011 at 3:56 pm.

Scenes in France, today.

Eden Games – they behind Test Drive Unlimited 2 and the V-Rally series – and have had enough of their treatment from Atari, and in the face of enormous redundancies at the company and have gone on strike today. GI.biz report that in the face of sackings, the French studio has said enough, and are refusing to work. And they’ve a few choice words to explain why.

Atari has been famously in trouble for more years than I can remember now, the name and ownership bouncing all over the place, the publisher always seeming on the brink of completely shutting down, but somehow scraping through. Some day someone will write a great book all about what really went on there. But for now it’s Eden making the claims, saying that Atari have been badly letting them down. And now after learning they are to lose 51 of their 80 employees they’ve taken strike action.

“Eden Games pays now for Atari mismanagement. For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties. Restructuring plans have been following each others for 10 years at Atari. Each time the recovery project was beautiful and promising, and ended in a failure. We are sceptical about the proposed project. Atari does not play the game of negotiations with employee representatives on the redundancy plan measures. Employee representatives of Eden until now have been extremely collaborative, respecting the very tight deadlines of the redundancy plan.”

In Atari HQ, yesterday.

GI says that they have a four point agenda with regard to their strike:

- Communicate and interact with the CEO, Jim Wilson, who has never introduced himself to his employees.
- Have a constructive negotiation on the terms of the redundancy plan, and not one-sided as is the case now.
- Be sure that an employee of Eden Games is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari.
- Have real visibility on the future of the studio after the restructuring, especially in giving us the financial records requested by our accountant.

Eurogamer describes the action as a “symbolic day strike”, in an effort to finally get an audience with their supposed boss, Atari’s latest CEO, Jim Wilson.

Eden’s Test Drive Unlimited 2 didn’t really achieve the potential that was expected after 2006′s original game, and was plagued with bug issues across all formats. Their previous game, 2008′s Alone In The Dark, was not received particularly well, leading to the rather embarrassing debacle of Atari threatening to sue outlets who’d given negative reviews, while it was alleged they’d allowed higher scores to break their own embargo. However, despite this, Alone In The Dark went on to sell 1.2m copies.

What happens now to TDU2 is not known. In the meantime, why not watch Strike?

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102 Comments »

  1. jon_hill987 says:

    “the French studio”

    Ah, that explains it then. They love their strikes over there.

    • Nallen says:

      First thing I thought too.
      But then the first thing I thought upon reading 11/11 is some sort of celebration in Germany in another comment was “It’s remembrance day. You know for the DEAD OF THE TWO WORLD WARS”
      So I guess I’m just a bit racist.

    • James says:

      Sorry, but could you please oversimplify things a bit more? It would also be helpful if you could stereotype the French to a larger degree, I feel that would add a lot of value to the discussion.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      Insert lame joke about surrendering here.

    • Choca says:

      Heh, reminds me of the last time I came back to Paris after a long trip in the U.S.
      The plane crew told us that we would have to wait a while before getting off of the plane because the ground crew was on strike.
      First thing that went through my head when I heard this was : “It’s good to be home!”

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Yes, because clearly employees who wish to be treated fairly should just wait quietly for their corporate overlords to show their benevolence.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      That French strike a lot isn’t stereotyping, it’s fact. Compared to the UK, France is still very unionised, and striking is a far more popular thing to do.

      Also, I’m French,

    • kwyjibo says:

      I work for a French company. They strike a lot.

      http://www.economist.com/node/16976532

    • Okami says:

      I like the french.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Compared to the UK, France is still very unionised

      Thankfully. It’s one of the few good things about France. :P

    • heretic says:

      Go French studio!

      At least when they’re getting the batty they have the guts to complain, unlike others.

    • BooleanBob says:

      You have to hand it to the French -

      as national anthems go, the Marseillaise is definitely top tier.

    • Donjonson says:

      Irish people don’t go on strike, we roll over and take whatever punishment is deemed sufficient by our inept masters. Grovelling, craven bootlicking is the order of the day here. I should get out while I can… maybe I’ll go to France! I hear they have food over there.

    • Tatourmi says:

      But jon is still right in some extent. There is a very deep anchored “social rights” culture in France, a culture in which strikes have a prominent role. Frankly I think that they are part of the things that you couldn’t really forbid/suppress without some kind of minor civil war (If not a revolution, we like them too, we had lots), especially with the current government, which is hated by say, a solid 65% of the population (NOT OFFICIAL NUMBERS, just sayin’ that i didn’t talk to a person supportive of the government for 4 years, oh yes, one).

      It might seem strange from an American/British perspective, maybe, but yes, we do love our strikes, as much as we love our healthcare system, our free education system and the political diversity of the country (Which is somehow jeopardised at the moment by a very desunified left party, but these are other matters). These social acquisitions might even be the only thing we like abount France nowadays, so I won’t say that jon’s comment was all that mindless (even though it did really sound stupid, don’t worry jon)

    • Synesthesia says:

      you bigoted dickface you

    • Jad says:

      Another interesting article from the Economist paints a more nuanced view of France:

      http://www.economist.com/node/18584584

      The most salient part being:

      Even during the pension-reform strikes, when polls seemed to show wholehearted support for the protesters, attitudes were mixed. Pascal Perrineau, a political scientist at Sciences-Po university, makes the point that the French almost always back strikes, particularly at the start. A majority supported those against pension reform in 1995, which crippled the country and forced the rigid government of the day to back down. An even bigger majority was initially behind the 2010 pension protests. Yet, as the weeks went by, such support proved thin. Between September and November, it dropped from 70% to 47%.

      The French seem simultaneously to hold two conflicting views. When asked if they backed the strikes, a majority said yes. When asked in the same poll whether raising the retirement age was “responsible towards future generations”, 70% also said yes. In other words, the French temperamentally liked the idea of protest, not least as a way of snubbing Mr Sarkozy. But, at the same time, they knew that raising the retirement age to 62, when the Greeks were being told to stay at their desks till 65, was the reasonable thing to do. “Public opinion”, comments Ms Lagarde, “is much more mature than people think.”

    • Tatourmi says:

      The economist is not a bad source at all (Even though quoting polls from Paris-match, the most brainwashed French tabloid, might not have been their best move), but it is an extremely liberal magazine and I don’t really think that the author represented very well what is the “malaise” that we are experiencing: What seems to push the population to constantly reject everything.

      I cannot speak for France, clearly, but here is what I think we are seeing, as an insider: Most do not fear about the growth of our economy much (We are pretty confident about that actually, maybe a bit overconfident sometimes), we fear mostly about Ideal matter: war, the rise of religious conflicts (Christianism is feared as much if not more than islam as far as I can tell. America, from this point of view, is viewed as the biggest freak in the universe), the loss of humanity in large companies, etc… France is still very influenced by socialist ideals and even its right never was much liberal (Until now), and that is for these ideals that we fear.

      Hell, we even fear ourselves nowadays. I am clearly not a part of that “silent majority” that they are talking about but everyone wondering why Sarkozy is so hated nowadays should know that this is also because of a “whory-american-style-political-campaign” to be a bit foul-mouthed. He built his power over fear. Most were horrified when they saw that the government was trying to put a climate of terror through every means imaginable in the election period. The medias mainly, obviously. The electoral campaign was a time of heavy stigmatisation of every kind and that actual “progressive” government is now once again accusing minorities, trying to take electors from the far right corner. What is more horrifying is that this actually worked. A campaign almost completely built upon the idea of “security”, “safety”, “fear” worked. That, and the 2002 elections before it led to a sort of passive civil war, everyone wondering why the hell sarkozy got to his position (and segolen royal to hers, but that is another subject) and who was guilty.

      France is not just a perpetually grumpy child, it just refuses to play with the liberal toys as it fears to look like America or Great Britain, politically speaking. It doesn’t share its beliefs that the liberal system is the way to go and will try and refuse every concession in the limits of the possible. That description is far from perfect but I really thought that that economist article was just too much influenced not to try and counterbalance it by another, clearly biased, opinion.

    • Jad says:

      @Tatourmi
      Sure, I hear you. I can’t say too much to the truth of either your statements or the Economist’s, as I’ll admit I don’t know that much about France. Or at least I don’t know enough to delve into complex questions of the French national character and political mindset.

      However, I didn’t link to that article to make a political point, but rather to just note that people are significantly more complicated than the usual stereotypes, and that humans have an endless capacity to comfortably hold conflicting opinions.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Yes more unions is what we need! More obsolete-overpaid-underground-workers strikes to screw everyone else over on national holidays!
      Fuck you, progress!

    • neofit says:

      “Yes more unions is what we need! More obsolete-overpaid-underground-workers strikes to screw everyone else over on national holidays!”
      Yes Einstein, the only reason why you haven’t started working in a coal mine at 12 for trois sous, or lost all your teeth and hair in a chemical factory by 30, is because your betters, the rich owners, are good christians and care about your well-being.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      No, you are right. I owe that privilege to the selfless, philanthropic union man.

      (As an aside – I actually approve of unionising within the game industry – But like anything in life, these things are easily abused. Frankly my opinion of most unions, based on experience, is less than rosy.)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      If your ire is directed at union rather than at the conditions, behaviour and companies that make them necessary, your ire is misdirected.

  2. Okami says:

    Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
    Arise, ye prisoners of want.
    For reason in revolt now thunders,
    and at last ends the age of cant!
    Away with all your superstitions,
    Servile masses, arise, arise!
    We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
    And spurn the dust to win the prize!
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

    No more deluded by reaction,
    On tyrants only we’ll make war!
    The soldiers too will take strike action,
    They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
    And if those cannibals keep trying,
    To sacrifice us to their pride,
    They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
    We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

    No saviour from on high delivers,
    No faith have we in prince or peer.
    Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
    Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
    E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
    And to all give a happier lot.
    Each at his forge must do their duty,
    And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      I prefer this version:

      Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland,
      Beasts of every land and clime,
      Hearken to my joyful tidings
      Of the Golden future time.

      Soon or late the day is coming,
      Tyrant Man shall be o’er thrown,
      And the fruitful fields of England
      Shall be trod by beasts alone.

      Rings shall vanish from our noses,
      And the harness from our back,
      Bit and spur shall rust forever,
      Cruel whips no more shall crack.

      Riches more than mind can picture,
      Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
      Clover, beans and mangel-wurzels
      Shall be ours upon that day.

      Bright will shine the fields of England,
      Purer shall its waters be,
      Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
      On the day that sets us free.

      For that day we all must labour,
      Though we die before it break;
      Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
      All must toil for freedom’s sake.

      Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland,
      Beasts of every land and clime,
      Hearken well, and spread my tidings
      Of the Golden future time.

    • CMaster says:

      The people’s flag is deepest red,
      It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
      And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
      Their hearts’ blood dyed its ev’ry fold.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

      Look ’round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
      The sturdy German chants its praise,
      In Moscow’s vaults its hymns are sung
      Chicago swells the surging throng.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

      It waved above our infant might,
      When all ahead seemed dark as night;
      It witnessed many a deed and vow,
      We must not change its colour now.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

      It well recalls the triumphs past,
      It gives the hope of peace at last;
      The banner bright, the symbol plain,
      Of human right and human gain.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

      It suits today the weak and base,
      Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
      To cringe before the rich man’s frown,
      And haul the sacred emblem down.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

      With heads uncovered swear we all
      To bear it onward till we fall;
      Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
      This song shall be our parting hymn.

      Then raise the scarlet standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
      We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Sing-along RPS is best RPS:
      -
      Debout les damnés de la Terre!
      Debout les forçats de la faim!
      La Raison tonne en son cratère
      C’est l’éruption de la fin!
      Du passé, faisons table rase;
      Foule esclave, debout! Debout!
      Le monde va changer de base
      Nous ne sommes rien; soyons tout.
      -
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!
      -
      Il n’est pas de sauveur suprême,
      Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun.
      Travailleurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes,
      Décrétons le salut commun!
      Pour que le voleur rende gorge,
      Pour tirer l’esprit du cachot,
      Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge;
      Battons le fer tant qu’il est chaud!
      -
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!
      -
      L’État opprime et la Loi triche;
      L’impôt saigne le malheureux!
      Nul devoir ne s’impose au riche;
      Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux!
      C’est assez, languir en tutelle;
      L’égalité veut d’autres lois;
      Pas de droits sans devoirs, dit-elle,
      Égaux, pas de devoirs sans droits!
      -
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!
      C’est la lutte finale
      Groupons-nous et demain
      L’Internationale
      Sera le genre humain!

      -
      Edit: I’m going to presume FalseMyrmidon knows that Beasts of England was written as an actual socialist song by Orwell, and is meant to be contrasted to the pigs’ later behaviour.

    • Muzman says:

      What are you pinkos doing? Trying to destroy the US readership?!
      Any of them reads this they’ll set off some beeper in the Pentagon for sure!

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
      Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
      When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
      But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

      With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
      I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
      More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
      And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

      “Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
      On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Dunder and Blixem!
      To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
      Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

      As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
      When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
      So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
      With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

      And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
      The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
      As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
      Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

      He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
      And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
      A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
      And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

      His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
      His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
      His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
      And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

    • Pijama says:

      THE INTERNATIONALE
      UNITES THE HUMAN RACE

    • Berzee says:

      Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
      For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet.
      There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
      There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
      There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
      There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
      You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
      Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

      The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
      We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
      The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
      There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
      And the eyes of the King’s Servants turned terribly every way,
      And the gold of the King’s Servants rose higher every day.
      They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
      Till there was no bed in a monk’s house, nor food that man could find.
      The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak,
      The King’s Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

      And the face of the King’s Servants grew greater than the King:
      He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
      The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey’s fruits,
      And the men of the new religion, with their Bibles in their boots,
      We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
      And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
      We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
      And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

      A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
      Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
      They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
      And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and never scorned us again.
      Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
      Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
      In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
      We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
      We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
      The strange fierce face of the Frenchman who knew for what he fought,
      And the man who seemed to be more than man we strained against and broke;
      And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

      Our path of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
      But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain.
      He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
      He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
      Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
      Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
      We only know the last sad squires ride slowly towards the sea,
      And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

      They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
      Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
      They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
      They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
      And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
      Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs.

      We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
      Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
      It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
      Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
      It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
      God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
      But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
      Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

    • Luke says:

      The wheels on the bus go round and round,
      round and round,
      round and round.
      The wheels on the bus go round and round,
      alllllll daaaaay loooong.

    • Muzman says:

      And that’s a RED bus too! Isn’t it? ISN’T IT!

    • Wahngrok says:

      Ah well, you asked for it:

      Wacht auf, Verdammte dieser Erde,
      die stets man noch zum Hungern zwingt!
      Das Recht wie Glut im Kraterherde
      nun mit Macht zum Durchbruch dringt.
      Reinen Tisch macht mit dem Bedränger!
      Heer der Sklaven, wache auf!
      Ein Nichts zu sein, tragt es nicht länger
      Alles zu werden, strömt zuhauf!

      Völker, hört die Signale!
      Auf zum letzten Gefecht!
      Die Internationale
      erkämpft das Menschenrecht.

      Es rettet uns kein höh’res Wesen,
      kein Gott, kein Kaiser noch Tribun
      Uns aus dem Elend zu erlösen
      können wir nur selber tun!
      Leeres Wort: des Armen Rechte,
      Leeres Wort: des Reichen Pflicht!
      Unmündig nennt man uns und Knechte,
      duldet die Schmach nun länger nicht!

      Völker, hört die Signale!
      Auf zum letzten Gefecht!
      Die Internationale
      erkämpft das Menschenrecht.|

      In Stadt und Land, ihr Arbeitsleute,
      wir sind die stärkste der Partei’n
      Die Müßiggänger schiebt beiseite!
      Diese Welt muss unser sein;
      Unser Blut sei nicht mehr der Raben,
      Nicht der mächt’gen Geier Fraß!
      Erst wenn wir sie vertrieben haben
      dann scheint die Sonn’ ohn’ Unterlass!

      Völker, hört die Signale!
      Auf zum letzten Gefecht!
      Die Internationale
      erkämpft das Menschenrecht.

    • Icarus says:

      [to the tune of the Red Flag]

      The working man can kiss my arse
      I’ve got the foreman’s job at last!

    • Dirtyboy says:

      U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A

      Sorry, that’s all I’ve got.

    • chwynn says:

      Now this is a story
      all about how my life
      got twisted upside down
      and id like to take a minute
      just sit right there
      ill tell you how i became the prince
      of a town called Bel-Air

      In west Philadelphia
      born and raised
      on the playground my momma said
      most of my days
      chilling out, maxing
      and relaxing all cool
      and all shooting some b-ball
      outside of school
      when a couple of guys
      they were up to no good
      started making trouble in our neighborhood
      i got in one little fight and my mom got scared
      she said your moving
      in with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air

      i whisted for a cab and when it came near
      the license plate said fresh
      and had dice in the mirror
      if anything i could say that this cab was rare
      but i thought nah, forget it
      yo home to bel-air!

      i-pulled- up tp a house about seven or eight
      i yelled to the cabbie yo home, smell you later
      looked at my kingdom i was finally there
      to sit on my throne as the prince of bel-air

      amidoinitrite?

    • banski83 says:

      Luke wins the RPS-O-Vision 2011 Song Contest for me, here.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      Alexander Norris:
      Yes, I’m well aware of that. It’s also Animal Farm’s version of The Internationale.

    • AstuteCat says:

      AGITATE. EDUCATE. ORGANISE.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    Dev studios should do this more often.

    • Nim says:

      Indeed, I think this is the first game maker strike I’ve ever seen. The usual response seems to be that a studio bends over for whatever the management says. More of this please.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Er, aren’t there people lined up to get jobs in the games industry? Sure, they’re probably not experienced or skilled, but when did that ever matter?

    • bob_d says:

      The only other time I’ve heard of something similar was when, due to repeated screwing over by the owner-publisher, the entire staff of a development studio said, en masse, “We’ve found another studio willing to hire us, so we all quit.”
      I’m curious to see what happens with this studio, now, and if the rest of them get laid off. Usually when you lose over 60% of the company, that doesn’t say much about your long term prospects, and is usually a prelude to letting everyone go as soon as they’ve finished up whatever they’re currently working on.

    • HilariousCow says:

      Hallgrim: Heh, it’s a power bluff that publishers (and even development studios) have sat on for a while. It’s good for it to be called once in a while.

      I’ve been in one development where the dev team walked out almost simultaneously rather than bother to strike. Oh. Ninja Dodo did, also! Hi dude! /me waves!

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      *waves back*

      Those were interesting times.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    We need a game developers union, this is an important first step towards us TAKING our rights back.

    • Unaco says:

      What rights have you lost, that you need to TAKE back?

    • Berzee says:

      Unaco, haven’t you ever heard of the right to have a dream job and name your price? It’s a basic human need, like food and internet access.

    • bagga says:

      Right to a normal working day/week is one that many developers struggle with. Although I admit that legally mandated, hard-won labour rights do come second to pointless sarcasm on the internet rights.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Third actually, there’s the right to take any argument to absurd extremes for no apparent reason. It precedes both the others.

      (Fight fire with fire, fight sarcasm with…. Yeah both are a bad idea, nevermind)

    • bob_d says:

      @Unaco: How about all of them? Violations of labor laws are pretty standard in the industry. Grotesque amounts of mandatory, unpaid overtime, low wages (compared to comparable jobs in other industries), denial of (previously approved) days off, and generally crappy management practices that also result in studio closures and mass layoffs that could have been avoided.

      @Berzee: those “dream jobs” are lies that the industry uses to get people to want to be part of it. Once they’re in, they’re quickly disillusioned and burn out at a rate second only to the actors in the porn industry (where average time in the industry is measured in weeks). The industry has always had this attitude that working in it is so fun people should pay *them* to work there. It’s bullshit. A job that prevents you from having any sort of life isn’t a “dream” and it’s not fun. Abusive labor practices aside, it’s a job and it requires work, and if you’re going to make money off people’s work, you should fucking pay them. It used to be that workers had a stake in the studios, and if a game did well, they’d reap the rewards. Now you’re more likely to be laid off at the end of a project rather than rewarded for success.

    • vodkarn says:

      “Unaco, haven’t you ever heard of the right to have a dream job and name your price? It’s a basic human need, like food and internet access.”
      Oh go to HELL. How DARE you? You know what the ‘rights’ of a worker in games studios in Vancouver are? Fuck all. Here is a list of things that we don’t get, that everyone else in BC (and probably you) do:
      -Pay for OT.
      -Non-compulsory OT. Yes, you can be fired for not working overtime (my average workweek is 55 hours)
      -Cost of living increase – pay more for rent every year but don’t make more money.
      -Stat holidays: are not stat to us – in fact, many don’t get vacation days. At all.
      -Sick days: are not mandatory – if you’re sick, your pay is docked after 3-5 days. A year.
      -Five day work weeks: Those 55 hour work weeks? You can be told to work 7 days a week, for a year straight, and if you don’t show up, your contract simply isn’t renewed.
      -Benefits: if you’re like 75% of the industry, you’re on contract. If you’re on contract, you don’t get medical/dental/MSP/child care/etc benefits, at all, unless you work for three straight years, uninterrupted, at one company. Guess what happens every 2 1/2 years or so?
      -Adequate pay: This industry pays awful wages. In fact, of the 12 people I kept in contact with from the school I went to to get into this industry (Arts Institute – don’t bother) 3 are still in the industry. Most have moved into parallel industries such as IT, which pay more for less hours, have benefits, vacation time, etc etc.
      I cannot believe even after ea_spouse people still believe this is an industry of rainbows and unicorns.

    • vortexgods says:

      I cannot believe even after ea_spouse people still believe this is an industry of rainbows and unicorns.

      Well, people are stupid. (Not all people mind, I’m writing of stupid people here.)

      It’s how conservatives win elections.

      Penny Arcade comment on Game Industry Labor practices: A Cut Above

    • Shadram says:

      The only way things will change is if nobody applies for the jobs that require you to abandon all hope of leave, pay or benefits. I got into software development with a desire to get into game development, but when I found out the reality of it, I very quickly changed my mind. Even smaller software houses in other industries offer good benefits, and overtime is rare and compensated (usually with time off in lieu, rather than more money, but still…)

      I know a lot of people love working in the games industry, but I can’t see why anyone would put up with such terrible treatment in the workplace. It’s about time that somebody did something about it. Go Frenchies!

    • Zaboomafoozarg says:

      @vodkarn – get a job 100 years ago, do that for a while, then come back to the future and share with us your comparison. i suspect it will be a RUDE AWAKENING at how MARVELOUS things are compared to any point in history.

  5. brulleks says:

    The first paragraph of this article is very ‘and’y.

  6. Cooper says:

    As with most out-of-copyright movies, the best place for streaming them is the internet archive (They also subtitle many of the intertitles from silent movies in English):
    http://www.archive.org/details/Strike_323

    They’re also embed-able.

  7. sneetch says:

    @Crimsoneer
    Regardless of what you’ve said, regardless of whether or not you’re French and regardless of whether or not it’s “true”, it IS stereotyping.

    Stereotype: A fixed, commonly held notion or image of a person or group, based on an oversimplification of some observed or imagined trait of behaviour or appearance.

    Edit: Yay, I failed at replying for the first time ever!

    • James says:

      Reply fail or not, I appreciate you clarifying that for him so I didn’t have to.

    • felisc says:

      well then it’s a stereotype and a fact.

      anyway, go eden strikers.

    • Berzee says:

      Thanks to sneetch for reminding us that stereotyping is just a thing, not a bad thing =)

    • arccos says:

      As a clarification of a clarification, the way I see it “The French strike alot” isn’t a stereotype, but “the French love to strike” is.

      The first does not generalize, the second does.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Actually, even the “the french love to strike” isn’t really a stereotype, without some data it might be wrong, but it’s not a stereotype untill you start being definitive about it. Like “all french love to strike” or “he’s french, he must love striking”.

      Acknowledging that some characteristics are more prevelent in one sample of people isn’t actually stereotyping, saying everyone in that group is the same is.

    • Arglebargle says:

      My stereotopical thought:
      The French and the Americans are so snide to one another because each group is absolutely convinced that they are at the center of the Universe.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      That’s ridiculous. The French wouldn’t believe that without deluding themselves into believing they’re American.

  8. Pijama says:

    About time that the workers in the games industry did that. This is a labour segment that needs unionization for the moment, given the ridiculous hours, “crunch times”, the wages and no benefits.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, I’ve been arguing for unionization for a while, but every time the subject even gets mentioned, most of my coworkers start getting nervous. In the early days of the industry, the workers were invested in the outcome of the projects, reaping the rewards of successful games. That’s not true anymore; now, more and more, workers are likely to be laid off at the end of a project (assuming they aren’t contract workers to begin with), making it more like the movie industry. The movie industry works only because it’s unionized, though, and hopefully the game industry will figure that out.

    • Hallgrim says:

      I used to work at a unionized chemical company, so I know a bit about unions firsthand. I don’t see how you could ever unionize game development.

      At a chemical plant, stuff needs to happen every day. If the union strikes and walks out, it can be very expensive for the company just to keep operating. Hiring an entire new set of employees is practically impossible. The equipment can’t just be turned off for six months. Virtual workspaces aren’t possible. There isn’t a big supply of people who work in other, similar industries, who could be enticed to come work in the sexy cool field of… foaming agents. Peoples’ lives would be at risk with an inexperienced workforce. So if the union strikes, or even threatens to strike, the company has to negotiate.

      Now consider the cool, sexy games industry. Where most of the work is already done by people with little direct experience. Where projects can be turned off without costing any additional money, and people from all over the globe can collaborate without having to live in the same place. Where, to be frank, people have been putting up with this shit for a long time because it is still more exciting than being a software engineer for a health insurance company. Seems to me that if half of the game development industry went on strike tomorrow morning, half of the game industry would get fired tomorrow afternoon.

    • dadioflex says:

      @hallgrim – is that chemical company still in business or have a majority of the jobs moved to Asia? Cos that’s what’ll happen to game development if the industry gets unionized.

    • bob_d says:

      @Hallgrim: The game industry and the movie industry are very similar in those respects, yet the movie industry manages to work just fine despite being (and, in fact, because it is) unionized.
      Getting there might be problematic, though. The game industry has a huge amount of churn – people are pretty eager to join the industry until they actually get into it. Up until now the industry has been pretty happy to let more experienced workers burn out and leave the industry. The problem is, you have a bunch of 25-year-olds whose lives revolve around making games, you end up with games that are aimed at 25 year olds obsessed with games, and that’s not what the audience is anymore. Also as game development gets more professional and complex, you have increasing need of those people who have experience and skills.

      @dadioflex: “game development will move to Asia” Already happened – lower costs have lured a fair amount of development into Asia already*. Yet Chinese and Korean publishers are still opening up studios in the US and Europe, despite development costs being many times higher here. Why? Because, as my former Korean overlords explained it to me, Asian studios can make games that are hits in Asia, but Western studios can make games that are hits everywhere.

      *Opening studios to do programming grunt work and also outsourcing asset (lower-level textures, models) development there. Mostly it hasn’t worked out very well.

  9. cliffski says:

    what kind of dork CEO doesnt meet the employees. I mean…seriously. Thats just below incompetent.

    • arccos says:

      I don’t really think a CEO needs to meet with everyone in the company. For large companies, setting up meetings just to chat for five minutes with each employee would be a full time job. I haven’t met the CEO, the President, or anyone on the Board of Directors from my current company, and I don’t really have a need to.

      Atari is a pretty big international company. I can’t see how flying around the CEO to meet every single person working for Atari or its subsidiaries would be all that useful. It seems like a pretty unreasonable demand to me.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      If you don’t physically have the time to meet every employee you’re making redundant, even just as one big group, then there’s a reasonable argument you can’t possibly be informed enough to be making the decision to let them go.

    • bob_d says:

      @arcos: Um, we’re not talking about meeting all the employees individually, but to drop by the development studio and address them as a whole. It’s pretty much standard operating procedure – the upper management stops by, outlines the plans for the company as a whole and that studio in particular (i.e. lies a lot to keep people working at that company), then lays everyone off unexpectedly a few months later after not having fulfilled any of their promises. Of course, that’s just my own experience talking, but after seeing it happen at three different companies, and hearing about it happening elsewhere, I figure it’s standard.

    • dadioflex says:

      @bob_d “It’s pretty much standard operating procedure – the upper management stops by, outlines the plans for the company as a whole and that studio in particular…”

      Sure, management, not the CEO of a billion dollar company. If he was spending his time dropping by a failing part of his company the stock-holders, his bosses, would legitimately have to ask if it was a good use of their time. That’s what delegation is for.

      If you don’t like Atari’s business practises then boycott the Witcher 2. Oh, wait then developers suffer. No, if you don’t like Atari’s business practises then buy every one of the other shitty games they make or fund, to keep the developers in jobs. Problem solved.

      Nobody forces game developers to work for a corporation at gun point. Not since the 80s.

    • V. Profane says:

      You can buy the Witcher 2 from GOG.com, and I think it’s Namco this time anyway.

      Atari were really bad at keeping stock of Witcher 1 available.

    • bob_d says:

      @dadioflex: By “upper management” I meant CEO/COO/CFO/etc. Atari doesn’t own that many studios. Whoever is actually making the decisions really does need to go around and see what’s going on; it doesn’t take that long.
      “buy every one of the other … games … to keep the developers in jobs.”
      If they’re anything like EA, they’d lay off the developers anyways, so that their profit/expenses ratio looked even better for the quarterly report.

      “Nobody forces game developers to work for a corporation at gun point”
      Slavery is cool so long as the slaves can run away. Got it.

    • arccos says:

      The one time I was downsized, I didn’t care if it came from my boss or God himself. Either way, I was out of a job. A CEO doesn’t decide to hack the workforce because he loves to fire people, he does it to keep a company healthy. Doing it to their faces isn’t going to change his mind, and if it does, he probably should be CEO.

      The amount of resources it would take to fly a CEO out to France and back from the US could possibly mean another head or two on the chopping block. If my neck is on the line, I’d want him to stay home.

  10. CaspianRoach says:

    Сила рабочего класса — организация.
    Без организации масс пролетариат — ничто. Организованный он — всё.
    Организованность — есть единство действия, единство практического выступления.
    Ленин. 1907 год.

  11. Donjonson says:

    We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! … And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time… We are gonna have a party.

  12. trjp says:

    I get the feeling that a lot of companies (not just gaming companies but allsorts of businesses) are now run along the lines of a con trick/pyramid scheme/musical chairs game for board members with investors supporting them whilst chasing largely phantom profits based on largely ‘cooked’ books…

    Something like the Phoenix Group who took over Rover only to milk the place dry leaving it over £1bm in debt but personally pocketing 10s of millions for themselves – but obviously less destructive in most cases (despite the obviousness of their fraud, sanctions against them were pathetic!!)

    By fiddling the books, manipulating the media and changing jobs often enough to to hide their trail, people who’s only talent in life was to inherit some position and wealth can reap rewards from the work of others pretty much endlessly.

    The public image of their businesses are a carefully concocted lie – brands hide the slave labour, sweatshop production, exploitation of people’s talent etc. – books are manipulated to show non-existant future profits/to maximise short term gains and their wealth comes from exploiting investors who are investing YOUR MONEY (your future pensions, investments, house prices, currency rates – it’s everyone’s money they’re skimming).

  13. bascule42 says:

    I remember when Atari used to be good. Ahhhh…… Pong and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

  14. Tei says:

    Well.. this is a new!.

    Normally the way of game devs to strike is to work to dead. It don’t seems to work.
    So maybe try the other idea.

  15. terry says:

    I’ll be interested to see what falls out from this, Atari are a deeply shitty publisher so I’m not too surprised to learn they treat their developers like crap as well as their customers.

    EDIT: Holy crap, I didn’t realise how long Atari have been running studios into the ground – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infogrames_Entertainment,_SA#Defunct

  16. Cryo says:

    Good for them. Should happen way more.

  17. FunkyBadger3 says:

    Atari: no matter how many incarnations, still shits.

  18. Josh W says:

    That video is really odd. It’s funny, I thought I could guess exactly how a communist-ish film would play out, obviously not. Not at all how I expected it to end.

  19. Wedge says:

    And in tomorrow’s news, “Atari shuts down Eden Games studio, CEO runs off with rest of company’s money.”. I’m not really sure how or why that corpse of a company (Infogrames) is still running anyways.

    • adonf says:

      French labour laws would prevent this. They also prevent employers from laying off workers on strike or hiring to replace them. Yay French labour laws!

      OTOH the unions there are useless and don’t work at all like in the USUK

  20. drewski says:

    More power to them. I hope they get what they want. I hate to say it, though – they’d have a lot more leverage if they made good games.

  21. mollemannen says:

    i tend to think ill of the french but then i also tend to dislike publishers over gamedevs. hopefully eden will just switch publisher after this and then if atari is as bad as eden says they are it should become obvious since other studios under atari might complain as well.
    could also be that eden has had some bad luck making their games and atari won’t recognize them as a good studio any more.
    never the studios fault though. no studio sets out to make a bad game (unless they’re german).

    • adonf says:

      Eden is Infogrames’ (sorry can’t join the collective joke and call them ‘Atari’) flagship internal studio, they can’t switch publishers.

  22. BeamSplashX says:

    Ohhhh Strike, you continued Eisenstein’s favorite tradition of baby assault.

    Seriously puts a damper on the “games overuse harmed children” argument when you consider the craziness of early films like this.

    As for the actual news, a shame, but like many shameful events these days, it’s tellingly depressing that nothing can surprise me unless it’s stupidly depraved (i.e. “Atari CEO sells Eden employees into sex slavery”).

  23. Was Neurotic says:

    V-Fugging-Rally? The 14 year-old PSX game??

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