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Default NCsoft - Rumour: Austin Dev Team to Close?

August 13th, 2008, 20:38
Joystiq have 'a tip from a reliable source' that NCsoft Austin are laying off 90 of their development staff (that's all of them).
Hot on the heels of news that Midway would be laying off approximately 90 employees from its Austin location comes a tip from a reliable source that NCsoft Austin (a.k.a. NCsoft North America) is on the verge of eliminating all of its development staff. The studio is currently home to the teams behind Tabula Rasa and Dungeon Runners, the latter of which will "be closed," according to our source. We've been told that only customer support staff will continue to operate out of the branch.

Future development of Tabula Rasa will reportedly be handed over to Seattle-based Guild Wars creator Arena.net, with Massively reporting that the title may meet a similar fate as Dungeon Runners if it "fails to turn the tide of subscribers and expectations." It has also learned that any future collaboration between NCsoft and Tabula Rasa principals Richard and Robert Garriot will be "limited in scope," due to a souring of relations with the Korean management team over their title's lackluster performance.
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August 13th, 2008, 20:38
Ouch - nasty. Well, for them anyway. NCsoft North California (which is doing City of Heroes) has been hiring. A lot. That might be where the money is coming from. A recent marketing survey hints at some pretty big improvements in the works for Paragon City. I'm sure Guild Wars 2 could find a use for more developers, too.

Oh wait, CuppaJo!! Oh man, they better not do anything mean to Cuppa or there will be…. trouble. 10,000 geeks standing on NCsoft's doorstep wearing their underwear on the outside and howling for vengance…. <shudder>
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August 13th, 2008, 20:43
Tough lost for Austin. It's a great place to live and was the birthplace of Origin. I was hoping more game studios would pop up there, not close!

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August 13th, 2008, 22:10
Maybe LB will get back to making decent SP games now instead!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 13th, 2008, 22:56
Let's see if he starts knocking on EA's doors again.

I hope he didn't lose too much of his own money with that new venture. He's forgotten that games have to be good first before they can really take off in sales. Sure people will watch Fantastic Four, but more people watched the new Batman.

David Crane once claimed to our class he was the only one from his era that was still programming video games (he wrote pitfall, etc). Let's hope he wasn't being prophetic.

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August 13th, 2008, 23:13
Maybe LB will get back to making decent SP games now instead!!
I wish. Not likely though. He's bat shit crazy anyway according to some friends I have that worked at Origin.

Let's see if he starts knocking on EA's doors again.
I doubt it. When he parted ways with EA, it was pretty ugly.

I hope he didn't lose too much of his own money with that new venture.
Well, he dropped $20MM to get into space (granted some of that was paid by companies for him to do experiments), so he must not be hurting too bad!

He's forgotten that games have to be good first before they can really take off in sales.
I don't think he's forgotten it, but his games has always been hit or miss. He tries to do something different than the mainstream, and some times it works, some times it doesn't.

One of the problems TR had was they wrote half the game, trying to make it appealing to both eastern and western audiences, realized that wasn't going to work, trashed it, started again, and finally came out with a product that was so-so.

Reminds me of how Ultima IX was developed. There were at least two incarnations that got started, then shelved (the 3-d isometric one due to focusing resources on UO), had one lead developer with no RPG brought in, fought with him, fired him, and finally after a while came out with a crappy product.

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August 13th, 2008, 23:54
Part of the layoffs confirmed at Edge

Y'know, this really isn't much of a shock. With Garriott making enough money to fund a full AAA game (literally, so don't worry about his money flow, Lucky Day) and TR doing ok but not great, it's just good business sense for NCSoft to consider, er, "restructuring" the company. Sad, but true.
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August 14th, 2008, 00:20
Agreed. Although I'm not so keen to wish him back to SP games - I see no sign he'd still do anything I'd want to play.

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August 14th, 2008, 22:58
Annnnd so the rumor turns out to be false. Oh well.
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August 14th, 2008, 23:27
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Annnnd so the rumor turns out to be false.
Not really.

I mean, overstated, sure, but if you think the 21 layoffs are the end of it, you've got another thing coming. Most reports indicate the Tabula Rasa team is getting a "second chance" to turn things around before they get the sack too, and quite frankly barring a miracle they're not going to turn things around.

I may be wrong, but I'm expecting more layoffs in a few months time. NCSoft has no conceivable reason to keep Austin studio alive when the studio is producing zero profits. NCSoft can't afford to, in fact. Tabula Rasa was a huge money-pit, and they're never going to earn that back, but the least they can do now is damage control.
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August 14th, 2008, 23:37
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Well, he dropped $20MM to get into space (granted some of that was paid by companies for him to do experiments), so he must not be hurting too bad!
Purportedly, he lost a lot of money in the Dot Com bust, and is spending most of his remaining wealth on this trip. After this trip, he'll be downright poor, with only a few piddly million dollars left in the bank.

I wonder if he'll have to hock Britannia Manor to fund whatever he does when he gets back?

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August 14th, 2008, 23:42
Originally Posted by Stanza View Post
Purportedly, he lost a lot of money in the Dot Com bust, and is spending most of his remaining wealth on this trip. After this trip, he'll be downright poor, with only a few piddly million dollars left in the bank.
Now that you mention it, I remember that, but can't remember the details.

I wonder if he'll have to hock Britannia Manor to fund whatever he does when he gets back?
Well, he has three of them (I think it's three) so at least he has a few backups.

If he ever gets really desperate, I wouldn't be surprised to see him swallow his pride, go back to EA and offer to do another Ultima (he owns enough of the copyrights still that they can't really do it without him). He could do one that happens after U9, or even just remake U9 like he originally intended. There are enough of us Ultima-addicts that would rush to buy it that EA would pretty much be guaranteed a profit.

Or he could just start another studio, model a new RPG completely off of Ultima, but not use any of the same names and we'd buy it!

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August 15th, 2008, 01:19
Sounds bad for TB since I havent even yet managed to try it out. They should able to run it with very low subscription numbers. WW2ol has run for 7 years now with only 10k subs and has been constantly patched/upgraded with new features too.

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