Crowfall confirms layoffs, attributing them to switching to a ‘live service’ op

    
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On Labor Day, we reported that Crowfall team ArtCraft had suffered a round of layoffs. While ArtCraft itself declined to comment on the record about the extent of the damage, one affected developer was more candid on social media, blaming a lack of marketing and describing layoffs that came without notice: “[T]he guys that made the game are not on the game anymore,” he said. “RIP Crowfall.”

ArtCraft’s Gordon Walton has now piped up on the game’s official site, confirming the layoffs and attributing it to switching gears to live service production rather than a low population as the MMO community seems to have already accepted. “[W]e lost some teammates as we shifted from launch mode to a live service operation,” Walton put it.

Walton’s missive also communicates that the remaining team is working on Eternal Kingdom loading issues and additional design work.

“[W]e have several new gameplay designs currently under community review and more coming. The designs for our improved Chat system, Group Loot options, Campaign Reward requirements, Scaling & Testing, and EK player management have received a ton of great feedback. We look forward to getting your input on the upcoming set of designs including Map improvements, Campaign Rules/Modifications, and Combat improvements! We will continue to share design documents for all major updates going forward.”

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Matthew Ward

No surprise this launched DOA

Tried it for a couple of hours and it was just awful.. Looked worse than the tech demos they were touting throughout the development cycles, so a clear bait and switch

They were cool about it and gave me a refund, and seemed genuinely interested in my feedback so I had SOME hope that it might turn around, however that clearly isn’t the case

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rk70534

Although Walton’s claim can hardly be taken at face value in the current circumstances, the problem with the industry is that it could have been the whole truth; the reward for a successful launch is often the same as a failed one, lay-offs. In few other skilled industries the reward for a job well done is losing one’s job. In gaming, it all too often is.

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Tremayne

It’s quite normal in a project-based industry to release staff after a project delivers. The difference is that in other industries the extra bodies are contractors or come from a managed service company. Contractors know full well that it’s a short term gig and are paid accordingly, managed service companies move their people on to a different project with a different client.
Games developers offer what is ostensibly a ‘career’ job that turns out to be paid like a permie but have the security of contracting. However, there’s a limitless supply of people wiling to take on the entry-level positions, low pay, crunch time, insecurity and all, in the hopes that they will shine and end up as rock star lead developers. Newsflash: most won’t. In that, games development is like a lot of other glamourous industries that attract way more starry-eyed hopefuls than it actually needs (see ‘actors’ who earn most of their living waiting tables, or the fact that street level drug dealers actually make less than minimum wage with a good chance of getting murdered thrown in on top).

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Steve Braswell

I stopped playing about a few weeks prior to the official launch. I purchased the game on two different accounts. The combat pvp system is hugely unbalanced. I will not be returning.

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ishikawa ren

Saw this coming , the game just wasnt that great .
Soon the game goes where it belong,the junkyard

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Scott Leyes

I have to ask the (stupid but) obvious question:

Has Crowfall even released? Is it even a playable game?

I was kinda following this, but like most games, it just kind of faded away from my radar. I don’t remember seeing any sort of release.

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Blake

It released a few months ago. There has been quite a few articles on here about it.

Now did it release in a good state? Not really. It’s kind of a shell of a game that’s missing a ton of stuff you’d expect from a modern MMO — see Ark’s comment below.

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Danny Smith

Sounds more like maintenance mode as they try and rebuild it into something else. Were it 2011 i would expect it to be turning into a moba.

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Jeremy Barnes

They apparently have another game they’re working on… so just maintenance mode.

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Arktouros

The only real issue I have with this is while many others have pointed out it’s certainly true that once a game transitions from development towards launch most places lose developers the game is entirely unfinished. Like if you look at Gordon’s list of upcoming updates they are literally the basic game features that make up any modern MMO that was released in the last 10+ years. Basic chat functionality? Group loot options? Functioning map or game systems? Like this isn’t some list of casual side tweaks or quality of life improvement polish after the fact. This is like the seats of a car being missing and the steering wheel is just a wrench hooked up to a knob. Is it drivable? Sure, in the most technical of senses.

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Vorender

This exactly. Well said.

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jealouspirate

It is true that layoffs are common in the industry after the launch of a game, regardless of how successful it is. Maintaining/updating a game often doesn’t take as many people. So it certainly wouldn’t be unusual for this to happen.

However, I think it’s also pretty clear Crowfall is more or less dead on arrival.

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Ardra Diva

It seems that there is always a round of layoffs after the game launches, because the team required to maintain it is always a lot smaller than what it took to create it. And game devs should be used to being contract employees by now. I don’t think this always means it hit an iceberg and it’s going down fast.

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Mallus

You would think that a successful game would grow in size and scope along with needing more employees, not shrink until maybe years later when it goes into a maintenance mode. Take Blizzard for example, it started with a handful of people a grew in a massive studio employing thousands

Jokerchyld
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Jokerchyld

The key word is successful, and Blizzard was well beyond that by the time they launched WoW.

I dont think Amazon is going to fire some of its team after it launches New World at the end of the month for the same reason. Its already a successful company versus a new one trying to become successful.

There’s a diference.

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Mallus

That was my point, if Crowfall was SUCCESSFUL they wouldn’t be laying people off…

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rk70534

I wouldn’t be surprised if some layoffs would take place at AGS after New World launches, even if it is a success. They cancelled LotR MMO and beyond Lost Ark Western version apparently have officially nothing else in development.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

AGS are definitely making other stuff. We’ve known since around the same time they announced New World at the Orange County studio that Smedley was also developing a game in their San Diego studio.

They’ve also opened up studios more recently in New York, Montreal, and London, and are hiring for positions across all of them.

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Tremayne

Amazon almost certainly will shed some of the New World team. The live team just doesn’t need as many bodies, or the same mix of skills – some of the QA people can be let go, don’t need so many content designers or artists until they start ramping up the team for the first expansion. The team that gets the game out the door doesn’t look that much like team needed to support a live service.

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Arktouros

That’s not how things actually work in the game development industry. Like you would never consider Bethesda/Zenimax not a successful company, but here they are laying people off after launching Elder Scrolls Online.

This practice is pretty common in the game industry and is not entirely indicative of success or failure on it’s own.

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Mallus

Ok buds, what ever you say

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Mallus

This is on their web site right now, employees will come and go but overall they’re hiring , the same can’t be said for Crowfall which is only 2 months out from its release

Hiring.jpg
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Mallus

That article is from 2014 LMAO, their initial launch was not well received, they made changes (One Tamriel) and have grown since then. FF14 shut down and re-released, look at it now. I don’t see Crowfall making a turn around like these other large studios have.

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Arktouros

Yea, that’s the point. When the game launched in 2014. Then they let developers go after the game launch. Like a lot of companies do after they launch a big product and transition.

Maybe if you take 5 seconds and actually read what’s being written rather than just shotgun out three replies that don’t address anything?

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Mallus

Their web site says they’re hiring

(Edited by mod to remove personal attacks. Knock it off.)

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Arktouros

Yea, they’re hiring now. 7 years later after their game launched. Do you understand the concept of time? That it isn’t 2014 when Bethesda launched their game and when they let staff go? You get that right?

You get how a person will use past historical examples to show factual evidence that your assumption about how successful companies don’t let anyone go is wrong? Is that a concept that is getting through or do I need to get the box of crayons?

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Bruno Brito

do I need to get the box of crayons?

Hey, are we drawing? Nice!

Btw, yeah, all companies basically have layoffs because development requires a different set of skills than management. It’s shitty but it’s real. At the same time, i concur that Crowfall basically lacks core MMO features, and laying off people without implementing those doesn’t ring well at all.

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Arktouros

Hey, are we drawing? Nice!

time.png
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JoeCreoterra

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this, it made me laugh :)

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Bruno Brito

5/7

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Armsman

Given the corporate culture that developed at Blizzard I wouldn’t say that’s a good example of something to aspire to.