What do you do if you're a start-up MMOG developer who hasn't been paid in almost a month? Make a web site and tell the world!
It turns out that employees at Stargate Worlds developer Cheyenne Mountain haven't been paid in well over three weeks, a situation first uncovered by Gamasutra after 22 days of no pay. The studio had appeared to be doing fairly well for itself, working on both the Stargate release as well as another unannounced online game, and in April had formed its own publishing arm to handle the two games. But Cheyenne Mountain PR guy Kevin Balentine claimed that the rough economic climate was taking its toll.
"At Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, we have always been upfront with the media and our fans that we are a start-up. Like many start ups, we face the same cash-flow issues that all pre-revenue companies face," he said. The company's "core investors" are still hanging in, he added, "but the new economic realities are forcing us to seek out additional sources of funding, and that's what we're doing."
Long stretches with no pay can be very tough on employees, particularly at this time of year, but so far the team at Cheyenne seem to be taking it in stride. The tongue-in-cheek "days-since-cheyenne-mountain-employees-have-been-paid.com" website speaks to the team's overall sense of humor and good morale (so far, at least) and Balentine assured fans that development on Stargate Worlds is continuing. "We recently completed a successful phase of closed beta testing and we will start a second phase early in 2009," Balentine said.