Aliens: Colonial Marines co-dev lays off entire staff - Report

TimeGate Studios reportedly sent all staffers home today after filing for bankruptcy protection last week.

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Aliens: Colonial Marines co-developer TimeGate Studios has laid off its entire staff, two sources have told Kotaku. The company last week filed for bankruptcy protection.

Calls to the company's Sugar Land, Texas office were forwarded to voicemail.

Today's news comes a month after the developer lost a fraud appeal case against Southpeak Interactive, facing $7.35 million in damages and the loss of the Section 8 license as a result.

The company laid off an unspecified number of people in early March.

It is unclear how TimeGate Studios' free-to-play stylized PC shooter Minimum will be affected going forward.

TimeGate Studios was founded in 1998 and created the real-time strategy series Kohan, which was first released in 2001. The developer's next project was 2004 RTS Axis & Allies, based on the board game of the same name.

The developer moved into the first-person shooter space in 2006, when it released the F.E.A.R. Extraction Point expansion. TimeGate Studios would develop two additional F.E.A.R. expansions before creating multiplayer shooter Section 8 (2009) and its sequel Section 8: Prejudice (2011).

TimeGate Studios' last released game was this year's Aliens: Colonial Marines, which it co-developed with Gearbox Software and Nerve Software.

Discussion

263 comments
kerrman
kerrman

They shouldn't get protection from bankruptcy. They should be taken for all they have for such a terrible game, and loads of false advertising.

steve4123456789
steve4123456789

I take it the Wii U version won't be coming out now.

haravtar
haravtar

 Section 8 (2009) had potential, if only they stood by that product which was more MP and cheaply priced on PSN. This on the other hand is a failed big box game.

otherkrab
otherkrab

I guess that with the lawsuit (whether it is unwinnable or not is irrelevant) brought against the aliens games makers it shows how much of a failing that game was, still sad to know people are outta work but it's kinda expected these days.

Conan1985
Conan1985

Kohan was best game they ever made...still sad to hear people losing their jobs over something that wasn't there fault. Colonial Marines was messed up because gearbox and timegate weren't on the same page. The people in charge deserve it but not the staff.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

'there was so much potential here ' Yeah esp when they showed us what this game SHOULD have been, what happened here gearbox?! WTH?!

69ingChimpmunks
69ingChimpmunks

Makes crap products and lost a ton of money. They deserve to be in this mess.

ewjiml
ewjiml

Good.  You put out crap like Aliens, you deserve the repercussions.  Sucks for the programmers and staff but seriously, it's time to move on. 

DarthLod
DarthLod

Thats what happens when you half ass a game. They deserve the backlash.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Well the later products weren't so good, but I did enjoy Extraction Point.  Oh well, hopefully the team learns and moves on.

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

Too bad this didn't happen BEFORE they started work on that insulting turd of a game

Atombomb1981
Atombomb1981

This industry deserves higher quality products...

SteelBeowulf
SteelBeowulf

I do feel a bit bad for the guys who were laid off, but let's be honest here... if I produced content of such a low quality at my job as they did at theirs, I'd be fired too.

cdog21
cdog21

I thought Section 8 was created by TimeGate Studios. How'd they loose a case for something that they created?

Vodoo
Vodoo

A small company going through lawsuits AND has their named attached to one of the most high-profile game sabotages in recent history spells disaster. Heck, either one of those situations could dismantle a small developer individually. 

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Goodbye to another garbage dev

mikedenney
mikedenney

I'm old, so I still love Section 8--better than buttered toast, anyway; however, my thinking is that TimeGate neglected its community while engaging in two big lawsuits--one with Paramount over the name 'Section 8' (Paramount was apparently planning on making a web-series using the name, but in its original context, meaning 'unfit for military service due to 'crazy')...

I chose the wrong game to become addicted to, apparently--TimeGate began lying to its many forum members regarding their server status (always 'down for maintenance' became a running joke), shortly after engaging themselves in what amounted to a very frivolous legal action (both companies, BTW).

They kept S8 players in the dark, while servers suffered tremendously, yet all-the-while S8: Prejudice servers were kept up and running, almost non-stop.

Giant red-flag, for me, and many others, even then. I figure it was hard to devote the financial resources to keep 'several' game servers up (and maintained) while involved in so many legal actions.

They were sued, or suing, SouthPeak for actual company control, and maybe even Gearbox...my whole issue with all this was, and remains, their attitude towards their community--they could have indicated more honestly that things weren't looking so good--in contrast, they were busily defending their little white lie ('site server down for maintenance' prolonged well into a year), that they actually began 'dissing' anyone who questioned their misinformation.

I was even kicked from TG's forum for an entire month (unknown to me--I rarely even logged in!), for adding the following to another member who was complaining about their lack of server support:

'So true, so true'.

Whuuuuuh? I was kicked for a month--only found out after logging back in, after having given completely up on S8 for awhile--and also, given a little preaching by their web crew...indicating they'd barely even read my racy, little four-word post, at all.

I'm not saying that we're owed entire PDFs of every company meeting (unless we're major shareholders)...I'm saying that when I purchased S8 originally, the game was playable online, or I just wouldn't have bought it at all--it would have been a major piece of stagnant B.S. to own and play it--no stats?  No community?  Why bother?

TimeGate knew that. Sadly, I feel even some of the bottom-level people there knew that, so it's hard for me to even care what happens to anyone who supported such a bunch, at all, in any future purchases, or gaming, I do in the future.

ecurl143
ecurl143

Yes, I'll be amazed if Gearbox is around this time next year.

I understand that Borderlands was a fluke for the company but after two massive flops, DNF and ACM, how can the company still keep going?

Tough break for the Timegate guys though not only in having lost their jobs (probably without any redundancy pay the way things are shaping up) but also having Aliens Colonial Marines on your CV.

Nzilla
Nzilla

after the job they did they deserved bankruptcy.

wizzzer_thy_133
wizzzer_thy_133

Gearbox are Wayland Yutani, Randy Pitchford is Burke, Timegate are the Colonial Marines and the game is the Alien queen, it's bugs are well... the Aliens and we are Ripley and Newt.

Epic75
Epic75

The only reason any gaming developer goes bankrupt is because they simply aren't giving gamers what they want, in which case, we don't need them around anyway.  I'm tired of greedy little MMO schemes.  It seems like all companies want to do is throw out MMOs and try to get somebody to pay repeatedly to play the SAME game, whether the demand is actually there or not.  Then when they start to fail they make them free to play, basically the last resort to keep it alive, kind of like a game defibrillator.  I can't even keep track of all the MMOs out there right now, but I'm not interested in paying for any of them, or even playing for free.  I don't know about other people, but I'm just not up for online games anymore.  :(

tionmedon
tionmedon

don`t buy any games that Pitchford is pitching..............fap it.............

91210user
91210user

awwww Aliens: Colonial Marines wants in to all the action with lay offs tooo... more advertising for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Boooo! Such a cheap trick Aliens: Colonial Marines staff!

Elann2008
Elann2008

Karma's a bitch.  Screw the fans and customers and you get what's coming.   I only feel bad for those that were only following orders.  The team leaders and executives could go rot in hell.   Gearbox is a failure of a developer, pulling down everyone around them and Timegate was just another victim.  Too bad for them.

obsequies
obsequies

spending all that time and money going to school, doing what everyone tells you should be done. Being ordered to do something only to get fired. A person has an easier time going indie nowadays. The industries changed so much.  

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Why am I not surprised? Randy Pitchford needs to pay a price for spending too much time with Borderlands 2. He really needs a reality check before going through anymore goofy projects. Alien Colonial Marines would've been better if it's made by different developers and publishers that don't have conflicting perspectives.

wyan_
wyan_

This article gave me minimum enjoyment.

mred1289
mred1289

what they need to do is layoff Randy Pitchford my god have you seen this mans twitter? such an asshole and arrogant prick i just wanna bitch slap the fuck outta him with my brand new samsung s4 four and when i get a new one and they ask what was wrong with the old one ill say i slapped a inconsiderate prick across the face with it am i covered????

Spazzh20
Spazzh20

Fuck you gearbox I hope you burn for this.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

I didn't think it was possible to fire the entire development team's children.

Worst "Bring your kids to work day" ever.

vadagar1
vadagar1

shit that's cruel :(

but better games will be made from the ashes

MidnightMeteor
MidnightMeteor

Gearbox is next... you knew this was coming Pitchford. Yes Borderlands is holding them afloat for now, but moving forward who can tell...


It's complete BS what happened to TimeGate as well.

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

Gearbox should do the honorable thing and at least offer them jobs. It's not TimeGates fault they only had a year to create a game that Gearbox was contracted by Sega almost what, seven years ago to develop and do almost next to nothing the entire time, well, except funneling the Sega money into Gearbox's 2K contracted games.

blackothh
blackothh

@Conan1985 I agree, Kohan was a very good series. I still have it installed lol

jhcho2
jhcho2

@mikedenney  

Blog it man. Learn to know the difference between a message post and a blog article.

mikedenney
mikedenney

It's not that S8 was bad--on the contrary, players seem to love it. It was great fun when we bought it--the game we bought is still the game in my machine; the company that supported it just ran aground, and didn't really make good decisions toward keeping it afloat for their devoted fans.

I actually hope somebody buys the franchise, repackages, revamps, and redesigns a new version, and resells it--and treats its buyers/fans/players right.

Maybe TG could sell it for enough to pay off their laid-off employees!

X-7
X-7

@tionmedon Borderlands 1 was way better than number 2 and Pitchford was heavily involved with 2 so I think you are on to something.

Elann2008
Elann2008

@obsequies 

Yup.  The industry needs to change.  Indie is the way now.  Cutting out the big name executives, invest and produce games on your own will be the way of the future.  Get those greedy palms off their paycut they don't deserve.  Happy for Kickstarter devs.

X-7
X-7

@johnnyauau IMO Borderlands 2 was nowhere near as good as the original so I think I will skipp on Gearbox games for a while.

X-7
X-7

@vadagar1 You know this how? Get rid of Pitchford then better games will be made.

X-7
X-7

@MidnightMeteor S* Prejudice was actually a really good game for the price I just wish they could have made a big budget one.

jhcho2
jhcho2

@SnakeEyesX80  

Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons why companies sub out jobs to other companies.

mikedenney
mikedenney

@jhcho2 @mikedenney But seriously, were we blogging here? I thought this was an open discussion, including airing any grievances against TimeGate, or 'pro' them, or whatever...quit provoking me, I'm a new user, I live in a [still] free country, I made an entirely valid point, didn't invoke your name in any of my comments, nor have I ever made such comments on anything you ever wrote here (nor, would I...nor will I); so...'step off'?

Learn some manners--don't add to the population of lame, nothing-to-add, calling-out people you don't even know, online jerks who just sit back, look for their chance, and then hit somebody like me, with something as useless, unimportant, and unnecessary, as that.

Leave me be--I'd make my point to anyone who'd listen, and if you didn't want to read it...then you didn't have to.  You'd still be as dumb as when you came into the room...like you are, hopefully. (I for one hope people like you don't get any smarter--who needs smart copies of 'you' floating about like turds in the punchbowl, anyway?)

Anything non-relative in what I was saying, I kept back.  I proofread.  I research.  I check my sources...stuff like that.  If someone like me, wants to 'donate' or contribute to a site for gamers, consider yourself lucky to get that schooling, and don't have the hubris to act like intelligensia and call him out for...nothing.

Go read something--anything--start easy...the toilet will do. As in, 'the wall' in a public one.

Who knows--you might even learn something yourself--and the plus-side is, the writer will likely never find himself feeling 'obligated' to responding to your inane, selfish, crap.

mikedenney
mikedenney

@jhcho2 @mikedenney Maybe all that was just too much to read for someone like yourself.  I'd suggest Google translator, but I don't see 'idiot anus'' listed under languages yet.

mikedenney
mikedenney

@jhcho2 @mikedenney How ironic--your Gamespot ID quote says the following: "jhcho2 isn't really into the whole blogging thing…Yet."

What a 'dude' you are--try and be more constructive in your criticisms, because you sound more like a hypocritical troll for that stupid comment.  I know what I'm talking about with every word.

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

@jhcho2 Yeah, I can understand that, but it's does certainly suck for the other developer. 

I remember reading an article about how TimeGate was shocked at how little assets Gearbox had for Aliens: CM. Maybe TimeGate was under the impression that they were only contracted to do finishing work, not build an entire game, almost from the ground up, in a short period of time.

mikedenney
mikedenney

@jhcho2 @mikedenney I also left comments on Forbes.com, and XBox Live online forums, just in case you want to see how dumb and unnecessary you sound there (esp. Forbes).