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Games Entertainment

Star Trek - Elite Force II Goes Gold, Team Laid Off 36

Posted by simoniker
from the good-news-bad-news dept.
Warrior-GS writes "GameSpy has confirmed that developer Ritual was forced to lay off most of the team that created the PC FPS Star Trek: Elite Force II, only two days after the game went gold. Apparently, a couple of other projects fell through. Ritual's other in-development games, Counter-Strike for Xbox and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero for PC are unaffected." Fansite Ritualistic has plenty of extra information on Elite Force II, which is looking promising despite this unexpected news.
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Star Trek - Elite Force II Goes Gold, Team Laid Off

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  • The WHOLE team? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heldlikesound (132717) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @03:31PM (#6200600) Homepage
    Did they think about who would write updates for the game, or was the team so good that they got it perfect on their first try. If that's the case, why on earth would you fire them all?
    • Re:The WHOLE team? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by simoniker (40) * <simoniker&slashdot,org> on Saturday June 14, 2003 @03:48PM (#6200677) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, if you're a developer and are receiving milestone payments from your publisher at regular intervals, then your last milestone payment will probably be at the gold master of the game.

      At that point, you'd have to wait a few months to even _possibly_ get royalty payments from that title, through. So if Ritual didn't have a lot of money in the bank to pay developers until a new project came through.. issue. I think the same type of thing happened with the Myth III development team [] (scroll down) a coupla years ago, who were, oddly enough, ex-Ritual people, although the inside scoop on that may be a little different, and blatant speculation abounds, etc.
      • Re:The WHOLE team? (Score:2, Informative)

        by jspoon (585173)
        With Myth 3, it was worse. The publisher decided the game was done and fired everyone, even though it wasn't sufficiently tested and many issues were left unresolved. The Mac version, developed in house and originally slated for simultanious release, was tossed around by various porting houses and eventually released 3 months later. I'm still bitter.

        I hope the situation at Ritual isn't the same.

    • Re:The WHOLE team? (Score:4, Informative)

      by The Analog Kid (565327) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @06:02PM (#6201220)
      Actually, they didn't lay off the whole team, there are enough left that if a patch would need to be written it would be so a Ritual Employee says.
  • "...developer Ritual was forced to lay off most of the team that created the PC FPS Star Trek: Elite Force II, only two days after the game went gold." Jeez. "Nice job guys. Your game did so great, how about an vacation?"
  • If that isnt a case of cutting of your nose to spite your face, I don't know what is. You can certainly see why sequels are often worse than the original.
  • Too bad management doesn't seem to be an "Elite Force".

  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @05:03PM (#6200965)
    I know if I suspected I would be fired whenever I finished a project, I wouldn't be in any hurry to get it done. This kind of thing could drag morale and productivity into the toilet.
  • Unbelievable..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Desmoden (221564) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @05:24PM (#6201055) Homepage

    This is just getting out of control. When are execs going to realize that eng are not like running water or heating!?!?!? We ARE the company. We ARE the product. Not to understand the importance of marketing and sales, but people poor their hearts into this code. Their personalities come out in these projects. This is like a racing team firing drivers after they win a race. "Oh a driver is a driver, if we do another race we'll just hire another driver, his skills and experience didn't really impact this victory" INSANITY!

    Not to mention that many of us "gamers" and also engineers. And I for one will do everything I can to NOT pay for this title. I don't want that company making ONE DIME off the dedicated work of a buch of coders and designers they cut.

    This is just total BS and I hope they burn for it.

    • But the product is the brand. The classic example being nike. Anyone ever talk about the factory workers being the product? Hell no. They talk about shoe designs and don't give a fuck if this years shoe was made in Taiwan and not Indonesia. The product in this case is the franchise + game design. In fact, the fact that activision simply paid this software company to develop a game for the band they paid for is another example of this. Its all moving to a giant virtual company where things like the workforce
      • so many typos / spelling / grammar/ errors. Feh, its still readable.

        btw, i meant ever hear anyone talk about the factory workers being the company, not being the product.
      • Most Star Trek games do poorly. The factory workers don't design the shoes.

        The company probably had no choice though, as others have said. When you run out of money... Further, the developers may get some royalties depending on their contracts, so buying the game would probably help them. Further #2, if Ritual gets into better shape, they may try to rehire some of these guys.

    • by SuperGlue (468780)

      And I for one will do everything I can to NOT pay for this title. I don't want that company making ONE DIME off the dedicated work of a buch of coders and designers they cut.

      Ummm..... I guess I understand your logic. Note to self.... It is perfectly OK to screw someone over as long as you were not the FIRST person to screw them over....... Bad enough they lost their jobs, now some people will not buy their game as a way of protesting against the company execs (Who I bet still have jobs). This misg

    • They'll realize this as soon as you engineers have the balls to go ahead and not work for these slime merchants. I guarantee that the game developers who were let go are out banging on the doors of any other goming house who will have them, whether or not that company has a history of layoffs right after project completions.
    • In this job market, engineers are like running water. There are plenty of people on the job market who will work just for a paycheck (I'm one of them).

      Besides, like somebody said higher up on the page, it may be a while before the company sees a profit on the game, so they might not have been able to afford to pay the developers in the meantime.
    • This is just getting out of control. When are execs going to realize that eng are not like running water or heating!?!?!? We ARE the company ...

      This is getting rediculous. When are slashdotters going to realize that software is not free (brewery). Somebody has to pay for it. A developer either spends his precious time without monetary compensation, a developer is subsidized by government and private interests, a developer is paid in a work-for-hire situation, etc. Has anyone considered that there was no
  • by Allen Varney (449382) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @05:32PM (#6201094) Homepage

    A friend of mine who has worked at several computer game companies explained why he joined a startup doing a massively multiplayer online game, Dransik []. "When you do a standalone game, the publishers pay you until it's done, and then they fire you. When you do an online game, you work for free until it's done, and then they start paying you." If I had to choose, I'd do what he did.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Enrico Pulatzo (536675) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @05:42PM (#6201139)
    don't expect a patch any time soon.
  • This type of thing is common in the gaming industry. People get fired all the time, but are quickly swept up. I wouldn't be surprise if all these people had jobs by the end of next week. There isn't much job security though except the stuff you make yourself. EA, 2015, and Mythic are asking for their CVs, so I've heard.
  • Hmmm, maybe this could explain why Duke Nukem Forever has been taking so long to go gold -- the developers want to remain gainfully employed.
  • Any interest in a (formal) boycott? Any other way to express our disgust with corporate bull like this? Sounds like a Dilbert to me.

    I'd not likely buy the game anytime soon anyways (haven't bought a game for more than $20 in over a year now...And I save on having to buy the latest h/w.)
  • This headline means nothing. this article offers few facts. Software talent doesn't go unnoticed, but it is easier to flush a team and approach individuals in private.
  • The lack of knowledgable people to patch this will be the programmer's revenge. The demo was unplayable for me. Even though I meet/exceed all minimum specs and have mainstream (nVidia, Creative Labs, Intel) hardware and ran it at mimimum settings I got... wait for it... (boy did I ever wait)... 5 SECONDS per FRAME. If more than a few other people have the kind of experience I did, well...
  • "We found ourselves unable to maintain multiple AAA teams and were forced to release some of the most gifted game developers back into the industry's talent pool. "

    - quoted from Tom Mustaine, vice president and director of development at Ritual.

    That has to be the most beautiful way to put. Don't think of yourself of feeling worthless, sitting at home skimming through the employment ads in the newspapers after a night of beer and crisps (the only thing you CAN afford) while playing your old PSone titles ov

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis