Shroud of the Avatar studio Portalarium temporarily closes office in favor of remote studio

But SOTA will continue as planned with episode two in spite of "experiment"


It sounds as if Shroud of the Avatar studio Portalarium has uprooted its home office.

“We are nomadic now,” Portalarium’s Starr Long told players on the game’s livestream this weekend. “As we move into production on episode two, we did a serious inventory on how we are allocating our resources – both time and money – and as some of you might know, Austin is one of the most vibrant tech hubs in the United States, which has impacted smaller studios like us, like Portalarium. And due to the time spent commuting by stuff plus rising expenses related to office spaces, utilities, we’ve decided to do a little bit of an experiment to go office-less for a little bit.”

Long says the “dispersed officing” move will free up revenue spent on office space as well as commute time for actual game development, while Portalarium’s Chris Spears notes that this has been a project in the works for the last month, that Richard Garriott already works on the game remotely, and that the move will allow them to keep employees who already work in more distant locales. Consequently, the devs say that the move is a large part of why more didn’t get done on the game this month. It also sounds as if the company’s assets are in storage should the company find a better office location in the future.

Predictably, the greater Shroud of the Avatar community is completely torn on the move. While some players on the forums fully support a temporary switch to a distributed employment model, the traditionally more gloom-and-doom subreddit prefers to throw shade on the company’s viability.

We reached out to Portalarium this afternoon for further comment and will update if the devs provide an additional statement.

Source: Twitch
Chris Spears has also put out a dev blog on the move this afternoon. He notes that the indie company is now saving “roughly $8-10k a month by not having an office” meaning the studio now has “$8-10k a month more to spend on advertising.” He also explains how the studio came to this conclusion after a previous lease expired, having more than doubled in monthly cost since Portalarium originally chose the space. The subsequent replacement studio turned out to be insufficient because of environmental issues and poor internet (and then that landlord doubled the rent too).

“With that said, I’ve already started talking to a few people about possible office space options. We have a few people who think they will have trouble working from home due to kids, bad internet, or no good work space so I’ll start shopping around for options. We pretty much will have to have an office for some of the new hires we will need to make later this year since there is a lot of training that will be done to onboard new employees. For roughly 2 ½ months, I’ve been spending the vast majority of my time on moving stuff. First, moving our game servers after our previous data center was acquired. Then, moving our office servers and all the stuff in the office! I am excited to get back to more hands on game balance, coding, and design! Look forward to all that stuff I promised you months ago finally showing up in game.”

(Thanks, Panagiotis!)

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