Independent developer Spacetime Studios has released 12 employees following the cancellation of a contract with NCsoft for the development of the Blackstar MMOG.
In a post on the Spacetime website, company founder Gary Gattis wrote, "Our project has been canceled by the current publisher. Regardless of how you look at it, we won't be entering production in the immediate future, so we are retrenching and unfortunately had to let 12 folks go. There are always wild rumors at a time like this so we wanted to be as specific as possible to the number and circumstance. All 12 employees released were given extended benefits, severance and will be supplied letters of recommendation. These were good folks and we're not happy about it."
Gattis claims no ill will toward NCsoft, however, indicating the split was amicable. "We want to stress that there are no bad feelings with NCsoft. There is a tremendous amount of mutual respect between our companies. They have conducted themselves with honor and integrity, and we would work with them again in an instant."
He also said the MMO and rendering engines, networking infrastructure and tools suite are all complete, and that Spacetime intends to continue working on the game. "The company remains extremely committed to the IP and once all mutual obligations have been completed between the publisher and ourselves we intend to explore every possible avenue to see that our team's collective vision comes to fruition."
NCsoft announced its publishing deal with Spacetime in March, 2006, calling it a "great step foward for NCsoft." Robert Garriott, then CEO of NCsoft's North American operations, said, "This group has a proven track record in creating games in the space genre. They've also been successful in developing massively multiplayer games and we believe that's a winning combination and a perfect fit for the NCsoft lineup of products." Reasons for the cancellation of the deal have not been given.