Melbourne-based developer Transmission Games has been forced to lay off 28 staff members following a failure to secure publisher support for one of the studio's three unannounced projects.
The decision--which first came into the public spotlight via a Gamasutra article--was made on Tuesday, September 30, and the staff members involved have been notified. Mike Fegan, CEO of Transmission Games, told GameSpot AU that the studio tried to delay the layoffs for as long as possible.
"The decision to lay off staff is not easy for any company," Fegan said. "We, like many other developers, have not been immune to the global financial situation, and securing new projects is difficult; publishers' decision making process is more considered and thus longer, and even getting a rejection from a publisher is difficult. We currently have two unannounced games in development, but our inability to secure a third project in time has forced us to reduce our operating costs to ensure the long-term health and viability of our company."
Founded in 1996, Transmission Games is now one of Australia's largest and longest-running game development studios. During its 12 years, Transmission has sold more than one and a half million units of its equestrian titles and over 1 million units of its sports games. Before Tuesday's layoffs, the company employed over 135 internal staff.
The studio has worked on a number of successful titles, including Ricky Ponting's Pressure Play, Equestrian Challenge, Heroes of the Pacific, and this year's Heroes Over Europe and Ashes Cricket 2009. However, this is not the first time Transmission has run into trouble with publishers--earlier this year Red Mile Entertainment ran into financial trouble and was forced to pull out of a deal with Transmission to develop Sin City, the game adaption of Frank Miller's acclaimed graphic novel, as well as Heroes Over Europe, which eventually found a home when it was published by Ubisoft.
"Transmission Games has grown rapidly over the past couple of years," Fegan said. "The recent releases of Ashes Cricket 2009 and Heroes Over Europe, both of which have been incredibly well received in the market, are a testament to the talents of the Transmission teams. We are genuinely proud of both games."
"The people we have had to let go are some of the most talented members of the Australian development community, and it was incredibly difficult to see them leave. We naturally wish them the very best for the future and can't thank them enough for their contributions to the company over the years."
According to Fegan, Transmission is continuing to work with publishers to secure additional projects.
"We're optimistic the next news stories from Transmission Games will be exceptionally positive."