Rumor: Alleged Firefall devs claim Red 5 missed December payroll


Rumors of Red 5 Studios‘ financial woes have started to look a bit more legitimate this morning.

Over the weekend, we received information from an anonymous source that Firefall’s developers had seen their paychecks delayed and that a shutdown was imminent, but we were unable to vet that source. Now, a Redditor claiming to be a Red 5 employee has surfaced in an AMA offering proof of identity to moderators (which as far as we can tell has not actually been provided).

So, yeah, I’m a Red 5 employee. The rumors are true, I did not get paid on the 25th when payroll was supposed to go through. Morale at the studio has been shit for about the past year, went up with the hiring of Chris Whiteside and the promise of an awesome China launch, but then went to shit again after the launch failed and Chris was let go, along with 20% of the studio. I no longer have any faith in a company I once loved.

I mean, tomorrow they might pay everyone and promise that we have financial support until after the relaunch, and if things go well with the relaunch we might have the money to keep going. It’s certainly possible, and I don’t want to dismiss it outright, but…. I really have my doubts.

There was a lot of doom and gloom around the time Kern was let go, but it felt like we were really on a solid track forward under James McCauley and closer leadership from The9 soon afterwards. There was a company wide decision to stop screwing with mechanics and systems, get more world and story, and launch a killer game in a year/18 months. But then they let James go, and a lot of the Sr. Management including finance and hr, replacing them all with new people from outside or from The9. There was a bump in morale with Chris Whitesides hiring, and it really felt like we had solid forward direction again. But then the Chinese leadership would do things like demand more features added to the roadmap, even though we didn’t have the time or manpower to implement them. Other features then felt “essential” like pvp were dropped (again) because of last minutes features demanded by the Chinese. It is my opinion that the company was ruined my micro management, and mismanagement from china/the9. The only chance I see for the company at this point would be a successful relaunch in the US/EU, and for the 9 to fuck right of[f]. And hiring Whiteside back. But none of that will happen, even with a successful relaunch. We’ve also just lost to[o m]any people.

Further confusing matters, a different alleged Red 5 employee entered the AMA asking for the thread to be deleted out of respect. Having given his (or a) name, he was outed and chased off because, you know, Reddit.

Former Red 5 boss Mark Kern seemingly confirmed the ongoing rumors by offering his support to former employees.

If anyone at the company is willing to discuss it under condition of anonymity and vetting, please reach out to us.

Source: Reddit, Twitter. Thanks to AdeptusEnginus and everyone else who stayed on top of this story as it’s developed.
Update: Blizzard software engineer ‎Cher Stewart — not speaking on behalf of Blizzard, mind — has started a GoFundMe for Red 5 employees who weren’t paid this month. “This Christmas, 2015, Red5 Studios failed to make its payroll,” she writes. “As someone who has worked as a contractor and in start ups, I know how hard it is to struggle through a missing paycheck. With $100,000, we could easily give every Red5 employee ~$2000 to cover the costs of the holidays and hopefully some hope for the future. Please help me in helping out these families. No one should have to suffer through an unexpected missing paycheck, especially not at Christmas.”
Update #2: We have spoken with Red 5 PR, but there is no official statement we can relay to you as yet. Nevertheless, our sympathies go out to those affected.
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