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Vivendi Games Lays Off 350, To Close Sierra Offices 65

An anonymous reader writes "Vivendi Universal Games has laid off 350 people and closed its Bellevue, Wa. office (formerly Sierra), according to a report on CNN/Money. In addition to the shuttering of Sierra, say goodbye to the Hoyle card games, which may not have been popular with hardcore gamers, but were beloved by mothers and other casual players." The article also notes: "The job cuts follow the May shutdown of a pair of longtime [Vivendi-owned] development studios... Papyrus Studios (makers of the company's 'NASCAR' games for years) and Impressions Games (makers of strategy titles, such as 'Zeus', 'Cleopatra' and 'Lords of the Realm III'.)", However: "Blizzard Entertainment, VU Games' top earning developer, was not affected by the restructuring."
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Vivendi Games Lays Off 350, To Close Sierra Offices

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  • Byebye, Sierra (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Svenheim ( 723925 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:02PM (#9490864)
    Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Those were the days. Sierra didnt really make anything worth anybody's attention the past few years tho, I guess it's understandable.
  • Re:Byebye, Sierra (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:15PM (#9490973) Homepage Journal
    I'm still mourning Papyrus...It's looking more and more like we'll end up with Electronic Arts and the big Japanese publishers when all of the dust settles. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if VU had decided to innovate and improve the quality of their game development houses rather than closing it all down. There are plenty of "me too" games out there already. I think most gamers are really hungry for something new.

  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:30PM (#9491094) Journal
    When Blizzard *does* go under and service stops being offered, I'm sure that everyone will appreciate the presence of bnetd, despite Blizzard's attempts to squash it.
  • With change comes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Felonius Thunk ( 168604 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:31PM (#9491106) Journal
    ...opportunity. Vivendi seems dedicated to making no new games, but simply sequels and copycat games. The good part of this is that the market for new ideas is that much more open. I hope that some the poor souls in Bellevue can get together and make VU regret their decisions.
  • by Muggins the Mad ( 27719 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:13AM (#9491858)
    I swore off Sierra games after far too many bad experiences.

    I don't think I've ever bought one that actually worked without hundreds of mb of patch downloads.

    To me the "Sierra" logo on a game box is a clear sign that it will give me hours of trouble just to get it to run. Then it'll probably crash part way through and lose my save file. Doesn't even seem to matter if they wrote it themselves or not.

    And of course you can't return them because somehow computer software isn't covered by consumer guarantees type acts seemingly.

    Give me Id or LucarArts any day. Those just work.

    - MugginsM
  • Re:Blizzard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:40AM (#9492275)
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Remember how Sierra rose to prominence: quality games (and lots of them). And remember when they destroyed their rep with one game that was so buggy it was nearly unplayable. (What was it called, Outpost or something?) Then they seemed to decide they wanted to be publishers, not developers, had one huge hit (Half-Life). And they were bought out by Vivendi, another publisher. Not much point to having a distinct Sierra brand then, since they aren't putting out any big games, so Sierra gets the axe.

    If Vivendi had bought out Sierra when SQ, LSL, QFG, and KQ were all still thriving, and gave the company the axe then... then you'd have a case. But Sierra is long past its glory days. Better to let it die now than to try to pump out some terrible games that capitalize on its past reputation (e.g. EA/Origin and Ultima IX).

  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @03:24AM (#9492696)
    Don't worry. I'm sure Vivendi's management can kill off Blizard before too long, just like EA has managed to kill off all their decent developers so they can put out Madden 2009, now with freshly cut grass!!!

    Have games really become so complex that independent dev houses no longer work, or is it that publishers have this idea in their head that they'll make more profits by gobbling up independant game houses? This consolidating of the game biz is destroying it, IMO.

  • Re:Vivendi (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kaellinn18 ( 707759 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:49AM (#9493474) Homepage Journal
    Although you may have intended your comment as funny, I didn't read it as such. Vivendi is a publisher, not a development studio. If Vivendi went the way of the dodo, there would be tons of publishers looking to pick up Blizzard in the fallout. Although it's not good for stability, it probably would not be the end of Blizzard.
  • Re:Blizzard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pluvius ( 734915 ) <{pluvius3} {at} {}> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:17PM (#9495960) Journal
    And remember when they destroyed their rep with one game that was so buggy it was nearly unplayable. (What was it called, Outpost or something?)

    They didn't destroy their rep with Outpost. They destroyed their rep with Outpost, Betrayal at Antara, King's Quest 8, and a bunch of other crappy games that came out in the mid-90's.

    Then they seemed to decide they wanted to be publishers, not developers, had one huge hit (Half-Life).

    If you're going to count Half-Life as a Sierra game, you might as well mention Starsiege Tribes, too. Oh, and Homeworld. And No One Lives Forever. And maybe SWAT 3 and Empire Earth.

    Just because they stopped making good adventure games doesn't mean that they stopped making good games period.


To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard