Atari-Owned Studio Stages Strike to Protest Layoffs
Test Drive Unlimited 2 developer Eden Games held a symbolic one-day strike today to protest planned layoffs and "mismanagement" at Atari.
In response to Atari's plan to cut 51 employees from its staff of 80, Eden Games staged a symbolic strike today as a show of solidarity and to draw attention to what it believes is ongoing fumbling by management at the parent company. "Eden Games now pays for Atari mismanagement," the French studio said in a statement. "For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties."
The statement claimed that employees have seen numerous recovery projects come and go over the past ten years, each of which "ended in a failure." It added that while Eden representatives have been "extremely collaborative" with the parent company, Atari CEO Jim Wilson has never even dropped into the studio to introduce himself. The studio wants further negotiations on the planned redundancies to ensure that "an employee of Eden is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari" and that it is given a clear indication of Atari's plan for the future. An Eden Games representative claimed that the compensation plan being offered to its employees is worth about half of what Atari employees got in the company's 2009 restructuring plan.
Eden's most recent project, Test Drive Unlimited 2, was such a bug-ridden mess that Atari felt compelled to apologize by releasing the first premium DLC update as a freebie, the rep said he expected the game would achieve sales of around 900,000 units. "We're aware that there were several issues at TDU2's launch, but players continue to play and enjoy the game, so we believe it can be a long-time seller," he added.
The layoffs are expected to happen sometime in June and although redundancy negotiations with Atari began two weeks ago, the rep said the company "doesn't seem ready to move from their position at the moment."
Seriously, these guys make a crummy game and wonder why there are layoffs??
If your studio is putting out crappy games and under performing be prepared to see job cuts. Atari is just cutting the cost of a crappy studio, they are all lucky Atari didn't just pull the plug on them and say good luck have fun finding a job.
Isn't the whole point of a major game dev opening up satellite studios to give the little guys less oversight and more creative license to make games. These then make profits for the parent company who then keeps the studio open to make more games.
Seems like Eden games didn't get that last part right...
Accusations of mismanagement? At Atari? Down with James Morgan/Ray Kassar/Jack Tramiel!
My my my, it's like the 80s all over again.
Actually, you cant really associate this Atari with the one from the 80s. Infogrammes rebranded themselves back about 10 years ago after they bought the Atari intellectual property from Hasbro. Remember all that stuff about Freedom Fries? Well, they wanted to sound less French, so they changed their name. Plus they had pretty much driven the value of the Infogrammes name into the dirt by producing buggy crap games and needed a name that would invoke some positive reactions so that people would continue to buy their buggy crap games.
Atari today works with the cheapest dev teams they can find, gives them unreasonable release dates, and then they layed off all their experienced internal QA people and outsourced it to India. They are a management heavy company that has been circling the drain since before the name change, and the only way they ever get a good game out the door is by jumping in as publisher once a studio has pretty much got the thing finished (ex: the original Neverwinter Nights).
Nail on the head or however the saying goes really.
With regards to TDU2, Eden Games made that horrible mistake of taking the word of their forum community as gospel instead of constructing their own ideas influenced by the fans comments. TDU2 had all these awesome little nifty features that the regulars had posted about repeatedly but then forgot to work hard on the key elements (ie, the driving simulation bit).
I dont think Eden Games can blame this entirely on Atari - not saying Atari are completely innocent of course - and perhaps having a one day strike is a bit pointless? I mean if half of them are getting fired anyway surely a one day strike is more of a "taster session" for all concerned? :p