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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Gas Powered Games lays off most staff

    Kotaku:
    We've heard from two more sources saying that almost everyone at the company has been laid off. According to one of these sources, the company has let go of everyone except CEO Chris Taylor and one or two people.

    UPDATE: Chris Taylor has confirmed the layoffs. He sent over the following e-mail:
    Hey Jason,
    We do have a layoff, and we'll be updating our Kickstarter as well with details as well very soon. I'm way behind, so many wonderful people to talk to and share stories with, so it just takes time. It's actually been a fairly positive experience, because I run a very open company and everyone knows what's going on.
    Thanks!
    Chris


    Remember when Supreme Commander was one of the most anticipated games and Chris Taylor was a star in the industry?
    Now I really don't care that GPG is going down in flames.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Ugh, that's horrible. I hope to see a half dozen indies spring up from the ashes and all the staff quickly back on their feet.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
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    Chris Taylor was never a star, and TA didn't begin to become regarded as 'genre defining' until the early-mid 2000's.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    Chris Taylor was never a star, and TA didn't begin to become regarded as 'genre defining' until the early-mid 2000's.
    Most classical masters were dismissed during their lives.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Most classical masters were dismissed during their lives.
    I dunno, modern reviewers seem all too happy to label each big new game as genre defining, epochal and the best ever.
    RPS included.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Pop culture is rather myopic. It's true.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
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    For a second there I got this confused with Gaslamp and my heart sank a little.

  8. #8
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    How very shocking - and how awful for the staff involved. Me, I loved (really, really loved) the first two Dungeon Siege games, so I am sad about this, but a lot of their output has been - well, let's say half-assed?

    The astonishing thing about this is that they went ahead with the kickstarter. Was it a last desperate throw of the dice? A cynical move? Did something (a tax bill?) come out of nowhere? Unless something very odd went down, then Chris Taylor's credibility, such as it was, is going to take a severe hammering...

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphabet View Post
    The astonishing thing about this is that they went ahead with the kickstarter. Was it a last desperate throw of the dice? A cynical move? Did something (a tax bill?) come out of nowhere? Unless something very odd went down, then Chris Taylor's credibility, such as it was, is going to take a severe hammering...
    They are losing half the staff, not all, just a thought.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    They are losing half the staff, not all, just a thought.
    Where did you see that? Most reports are saying everyone except Taylor and one or two others have been shown the door?

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphabet View Post
    Where did you see that? Most reports are saying everyone except Taylor and one or two others have been shown the door?
    I may have imagined it.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  12. #12
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    His update message on the Kickstarter page is actually kind of moving. I feel for him, and I don't think he was really scamming - though it was horribly irresponsible, and quite probably actionable, not to mention the company's precarious financial status on the Kickstarter risks list. He also looks like he could use a lot of sleep and a chance to think things through.

    But as sorry as I feel for him and his staff, this thing is doomed.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Ugh, that's horrible. I hope to see a half dozen indies spring up from the ashes and all the staff quickly back on their feet.
    Somehow I don't think much will come from the ashes, unless they all start up their own Kickstarters which might look a bit dubious.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    Remember when Supreme Commander was one of the most anticipated games and Chris Taylor was a star in the industry? Now I really don't care that GPG is going down in flames.
    I do remember when SC was a big thing. I still have my collector's tin. SC was a great game but it was too macro-focused in an era of micro-based Company of Heroes RTS games, and it broke some promises (the synchronised attacks thing NEVER worked). SC2? Probably a mistake.


    Personally I wasn't impressed with his video message. It started badly when he said "This is the wackiest video update..." Yes, it's incredibly wacky that people lost their jobs. It also seems to be an attempt to get more backers with higher numbers. The message has a vague threat of "Back it or they'll all go hungry." Yes, the economy is shit, but this is the one thing that annoys me about Kickstarters and sometimes Greenlight. If your entire plan is "get a Kickstarter to fund everything with bugger all planning or I close my company" (and for Greenlight: "Get on Greenlight or never release my game") then there's something wrong with your plan. This just demonstrates that even the big studios can be inept at planning. Barely one week into the campaign and they're ready to call it quits? Surely he knew one week ago that GPG was in trouble, and that a month's worth of campaigning for funds wasn't going to help.

    Die, GPG! Die! Just release the staff so that they can get on with something else.

  14. #14
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    SupCom was an amazing RTS, loved it.

    Sadly their other games including SupCom 2 were shit.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    What a weird thing to do. I could maybe see launching a Kickstarter game project as a last-ditch effort to save a company and its employees, but it seems like it would require a lot more planning than went into this. A buffer of time/capital, at the very least enough to keep the company going to support the Kickstarter with meaningful content and progress updates. And transparency from the start. If they knew they had to make it a sure thing within a few days post launch (most projects are sure things if they cross the 30% mark in a few days, IIRC), they should have had more to show up front.

    I count 16 employees listed on the company site. The total of the six salaries (ranging from roughly $30k to $105k) listed on Glassdoor is $438k. Somehow I don't think $1.1 mil is/would have been enough to keep the company operational through Wildman's release in March 2014, unless they took on other projects, pared down staff as they got closer to completion, or cut salaries. This is all sounding kind of wing and prayer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphabet View Post
    How very shocking - and how awful for the staff involved. Me, I loved (really, really loved) the first two Dungeon Siege games, so I am sad about this, but a lot of their output has been - well, let's say half-assed?

    The astonishing thing about this is that they went ahead with the kickstarter. Was it a last desperate throw of the dice? A cynical move? Did something (a tax bill?) come out of nowhere? Unless something very odd went down, then Chris Taylor's credibility, such as it was, is going to take a severe hammering...
    Well Microsoft stopped funding further development on AoE: Online, and GPG hasn't had any new projects in the works since SupCom 2. I suspect the company was running on fumes, considering the Wildman timer appeared weeks before the AoE announcement.
    Last edited by byteCrunch; 19-01-2013 at 09:05 AM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Actually, they had Kings & Castles to work on after SupCom 2 but it went away for some reason. Now it's Wildman and it seems interesting enough. I don't know if they'll hit their mark on the kickstarter

    Also,
    Quote Originally Posted by byteCrunch View Post
    I suspect the company was running on fumes, considering the Wildman timer appeared weeks before the AoE announcement.
    I see what you did there
    Art blog here.

    Doodles poodles sheboodles

  18. #18
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    I think the Kickstarter was actually planned out pretty damn well to be honest. I'm pretty sure somewhere there's a document listing 'stretch goals' up to 3-4million, which is actually how much money they needed, that they were ready to put up when the Kickstarter hit its target in the first few days.

    As it is now, it looks like it could have just scraped over the line, prior to this announcement. Which would have been potentially the worst possible outcome for them. They're not the only company that have been dishonest about how much money they really want for their game or whatever, they're just the first one to obviously be caught with their pants down.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    I think the Kickstarter was actually planned out pretty damn well to be honest. I'm pretty sure somewhere there's a document listing 'stretch goals' up to 3-4million, which is actually how much money they needed, that they were ready to put up when the Kickstarter hit its target in the first few days.
    That's not good planning! Hoping that people will throw lots of money at you over an extended period when you clearly can't support yourself in the next 7 days is abysmal planning. No, it's denial. It's like when Valve said in 2003 that Half Life 2 would definitely release that year, despite everybody (including Valve) knowing it had no hope in hell of making it. It's obvious that they were relying on people being generous and going over the goal (like with some other projects) but relying on it to the point where they literally have nothing else, and with the expected receipt of funds such a long time in the future... how can you think this was well planned out?

    For an indie dev where the Kickstarter is the difference between being able to actually do the project or going back to their day job, relying on Kickstarter funding isn't necessarily a bad approach (provided they've got a fall-back, i.e. "What happens if I don't get funded?") because they're small teams in it for themselves, not with staff relying on them. GPG is a business, Chis Taylor isn't a fresh-faced indie dev with Unity and a dream. He's an industry vet, he would have known GPG were screwed one week ago, this Kickstarter was too late and too big of a gamble. And he's looking at tossing in the towel before it's even run its course. If an indie dev doesn't make their Kickstarter goal then oh well, they have to go back to their fallback plan (if they didn't have one, then that's poor planning too) and the game doesn't get made (or gets made some other way or whatever). Something like this fails and people get kicked out of a job because someone gambled on the Kickstarter making way more money without an apparent backup plan. The entire thing is "Get funded or die because it's too late now" and that's piss-poor planning.

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    It looks like people haven't been entirely unreceptive to the idea of trying to save the company/project/laid-off employees with this Kickstarter. I'm still not sure what good $1.1 mil will be, so I hope for everyone's sake they take in a lot more than that. $3-4 mil sounds about right, if unlikely. If it gets near that I'll consider backing, otherwise definitely not, unless they can spell out exactly what they can do with dwindling reserves and a million dollars.

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