It is no secret that Sony has been going through some kind of company restructuring lately, where they have been cutting off employees from several studios.
There have been multiple layoffs that have hit a couple studios such as Santa Monica, Evolution Studios, Guerrilla Cambridge, and SCEE London Studio.
Not only is there layoffs, but they have also been reducing the amount of available jobs with only a handful of career opportunities posted on their SCEA and SCEE website job boards.
The duties that are required for the position is “Developing and administering staffing/employment/recruiting programs,” It is interesting to hear that Sony is hiring for positions like these, which gives us the idea that they either need to restructure or increase their recruiting sector.
Peter Dodd, an industry insider who have some good sources from Sony has posted an explanation of the recent layoffs through NeoGAF. Be warned, there is some explicit language but that’s normal for someone talking in a forum.
Connecting dots where they don’t need to be connected.
Stig and his team spent almost 100 million dollars on a game that failed every QA test that took. The game sucked. They shitcanned the game and a lot of the people involved. They offered Stig a spot on barlog’s project – he didn’t want to go from game director to something lesser so he quit.
This makes sense, right? Shitty game, money wasted, people fired, head guy leaves out of ego? I mean that all makes sense.
Amy Hennig has creative differences about the direction that UC4 should go in. Egos swell, she leaves. She’s happy, she will make another studio much better when she gets there. Justin Richmond, an ally of Hennig’s, gets an offer he can’t refuse from Riot. He leaves.
These things happen. Naughty Dog is going to be fine. UC4 will still be awesome. Riot will be better with the pickup of Richmond and whoever gets Hennig will be better off. The sky isn’t falling.
Guerilla Cambridge is working on a vita game that is shit and won’t sell. They slim down as they retool for another project.
Again – this isn’t new. This happens a lot.
The director of Driveclub doesn’t deliver the game on time. Given more time the game still needs work. He is replaced.
Wouldn’t you replace him? Wouldn’t you shitcan stig’s project that cost them almost 100 mil and had nothing of value to show for it? In fact they should have done it two years ago. The fact they let it go this far is a testament to how much they believed in him after GoW 3.
And all of this is happening before the fiscal year ends. Is sony trimming fat? Of course. Sony corporation is not in a great spot. So they are tightening up a bit. But a lot of people are connecting dots that don’t need to be connected. Hennig/Richmond is about creative differences and ego. Stig is about wasted money and time. Col Rogers (driveclub) is about failing to deliver. Taken on their own they all make sense. Combine them together and you get glenn beck with a chalkboard.
And Jack Tretton was about money and inability to move up. He will make more money and have more power somewhere else – something Sony simply could not offer him. Shit happens.
It’s the same with the xbox department guys. People move around. People leave for other companies. Shit happens.
Dodd has even cleared up some information on the recently cancelled Stig Asmussen project at Santa Monica Studios:
I heard various numbers between 75mil and 90 mil for Stig’s game. I said “almost 100″ because, well, both are almost 100 mil. They restarted the game, from scratch, THREE TIMES! And it sucked every time. The whole “it was too much like destiny” thing is bullshit. It was more horror-ish and like Dead Space than Destiny. That whole thing was sony jumping on the grenade to help Stig save face. And help themselves save face as they wasted a fucking TON of money.
They started concept on it before GoW 3 shipped. Once GoW 3 shipped the moved to Darkside. They didn’t have online or DLC or shit like that to worry about. They jumped right into the next project.
The game initially was supposed to be out this year. It’s been clear for a couple years now that wasn’t gonna happen… but it does explain the giant hole in their fall lineup. Thankfully for them… Driveclub will be there to attempt to fill it, a bit.
He continues by reminding us to think of how the business world works:
There are reasons why Sony lost a lot of money during the PS3 years. They are trying not to repeat that.
People losing jobs sucks. I feel for the SSM guys and everyone else. But Sony needs to run a tighter ship if they want to make money. They can’t allow teams to piss around for years with nothing to show. That’s why they completely restructured Japan Studio. Those guys had dozens of games that were going nowhere. It’s why they shuttered Zipper. MAG, while amazing – imo, was an expensive failure. Socom 4 was an expensive failure. They closed them down.
Now they are tightening up on teams that aren’t delivering. It sucks – but it makes sense. The playstation division is in strong state right now. The PS3 is finally making money for them, the PS4 is off to best start in console history, and they are correcting the money-wasting mistakes of the prior generation. I’m not saying we should have a party now – there are clearly hurdles to overcome. Stig’s game being gone created a giant hole in their lineup. The driveclub delay is the cause of enormous worry for many PS4 fans. The timing of these things has tinfoil hats flying everywhere. Sony corporate has very big problems it needs to handle. Shit isn’t all rosy at sony – i’m not trying to say that. But it’s not doom and gloom either. These are all separate events that happened for very logical reasons when you look at them individually.
Ahsan Rasheed, another industry insider has posted his thoughts on the recent events:
What I can say is- Europe is having a reset button pushed and the entire spectrum from top to bottom is being reshuffled for efficiency.
The London Studio is known mostly for Singstar and various casual things, so I imagine things aren’t too surprising on that front.
A Sony employee that goes by the NeoGAF username DemonNite states:
“Things change indeed. I’m not worried either and see things from the inside.”
We can’t always completely believe everything we hear from industry insiders, but we have always considered their thoughts and information. These are perfectly reasonable explanations when considering Sony’s recent actions.
What do you think about what’s going on? Comment below.