Factor 5 torpedoed by Brash?

Source: A Google cached blog post by a former Factor 5 animator. What we heard: In November, onetime cash-flush publisher Brash Entertainment imploded. The production house, cofounded by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull in March 2007 and backed by a cool $400 million in funding, came to its...

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Source: A Google cached blog post by a former Factor 5 animator.

What we heard: In November, onetime cash-flush publisher Brash Entertainment imploded. The production house, cofounded by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull in March 2007 and backed by a cool $400 million in funding, came to its epic conclusion following a string of less than accomplished film-to-game tie-ins, including Space Chimps, Jumper, and Alvin and the Chimpmunks.

Brash's abrupt closure has apparently caused unanticipated ripples, most notably for Lair developer Factor 5. In March, Factor 5 announced it would be teaming with Brash on an unannounced title, one that was later reported to be based on the DC Comics hero Superman. However, it appears that project has now hit the skids due to a lack of funding, and in the process delivered a debilitating blow to its developer, if a blog post by former Factor 5 animator Sam Baker is to be believed.

First spotted by 1up, the now-deleted blog post (which is viewable via Google Cache) describes how Baker returned from time off to find that no one at Factor 5 had been paid in a month. "Regardless of the financial issues of the company (which I won't elaborate on), we all stayed and continued to work," reads the original post. "If we left, there would have been no hope in F5 staying afloat. We had faith in the projects and the company, so there was no reason to bail just yet. At this time it didn't seem like much more than bad timing and bad luck."

Baker then went on to describe how the situation became progressively worse, as Factor 5 employees first lost their health care, and then were forced to discontinue work on the unannounced title. "Without proper funding on the project I was working on, the company was forced to stop production," he said. The situation then turned dire, when "the president of the company [Julian Eggebrecht] basically told us that if we didn't receive funding in 1 week, all of us should move on and look elsewhere for another job."

Shortly after the online media seized upon his report, Baker quickly deleted his post, replacing it with a follow-up that said, "Steve Watts of 1UP wrote that I said Factor 5 cut one of their main projects, a comic book superhero game, and that's incorrect. It was a big story in the news that we recently lost a publisher, Brash Entertainment, when they went out of business. This does not mean that we've stopped production on that game, or that it was ever even in trouble. The other projects currently under way at Factor 5 are doing great. We hadn't received payment because of the situation with Brash, which is why I said I needed to look elsewhere for work."

The official story: Requests for comment sent to Factor 5 had not been returned as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Baker's backpedaling notwithstanding, it seems clear that Brash's exit has roiled Factor 5's economic situation. However, it's worth noting that the studio had more than just Brash's bun in the oven, with Baker's resume calling out at least two other unannounced titles in development.

Discussion

50 comments
leoleez
leoleez

rogue leader going down?

rexCo
rexCo

Hopefully they pull out of this, I was really looking forward to whatever their Wii-exclusive was going to be.

Yojimbo25
Yojimbo25

I love it how people say "Oh, if only Lair went multiplatform to the 360 it would have sold better." Ah, no if the game is flawed its not going to matter, it still wouldn't sell.

Yojimbo25
Yojimbo25

Wow, this is getting scary. Factor 5 is struggling to stay a float, Free Radical's fate hangs in limbo....

mitu123
mitu123

hatieshorrer, I agree with you, I loved the 3 Rogue Squadron games, never tried Lair but it sounds bad though, and teaming with those who make bad games isn't a good idea.

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Umm... Why is there a link to the Baker's resume? I wonder if TomM_GScom would like it if some random guy (yes TomM_GScom, in Baker's opinion you would be considered a "random guy") gave links to his resume without permission?

Elven_King
Elven_King

I sadly read about the rumours of Factor 5 problems..... This company made some of the best and anticipated games of our lives; its impossible to forget the ROGUE SQUADRON series, and several other great games.I really want to see more of their products.I know they can make (finally) a real cool superhero game....

lamprey263
lamprey263

I'm surprised anyone wanted to do business with Factor 5 after Lair was competing with Mobile Suit Gundam for worst rated game on the PS3, they even just barely did worse than Haze.

vf21x
vf21x

You make Lair after making awsome games and then people loose faith in you...........

shadowblade99
shadowblade99

It would be nice to have a quality Superman title....For once!

anynamewilldo12
anynamewilldo12

Lair was and is still a great game, the control system worked and worked well, even my 6 year old could play it fine.. so its not the games fault that "some" people couldnt get used to it :) was looking forward to a Lair 2, guess there isnt much chance of that now.

DJ-MOTION
DJ-MOTION

I personally enjoyed lair and loved that it controlled with sixaxis thought it was a great game need alot of room to play but i beat it very quickly guess this means there wont be a part 2 :(

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

F5 should have stuck with LucosArts theyve gone from the company that makes great Starwars games on Nintendo consoles to the company that made that bad game on PS3 and now reallying on a company that was bankrupted by producing bad games to help get them out.

INMATEofARKHAM
INMATEofARKHAM

"Another reason why F5 needs to go with multi-platform. If Lair had also been available on the 360 and PC maybe it would have done better.Most publishers need to start thinking multi platform to survive in this industry." "If the game hadn't sucked it would have done better." Actually, in this case he might be onto something... The really big complaint about Lair was the controls and if it had been multi-platform then there would have been no way to tack on sixaxis contols in such an ingrained manner... ;)

Timstuff
Timstuff

"Another reason why F5 needs to go with multi-platform. If Lair had also been available on the 360 and PC maybe it would have done better.Most publishers need to start thinking multi platform to survive in this industry." If the game hadn't sucked it would have done better.

flameducky
flameducky

These guys need to focus on the Saw video game.

bertm1975
bertm1975

Another reason why F5 needs to go with multi-platform. If Lair had also been available on the 360 and PC maybe it would have done better.Most publishers need to start thinking multi platform to survive in this industry.

Bane122
Bane122

Noelviega-"For the record, I disagree with those who complain about publishing this. If it was posted, it was posted. They're reporting on the posting and calling it a rumor. Sounds fair to me. I don't see why you'd fail to report on a slip of the tongue (or keyboard) of somebody if it provides relevant information to what you're covering, and possible game cancellations and studio financial problems certainly are under what GS considers news." Posting the story is one thing, but linking to his actual resume adds nothing at all to the story and is just incredibly irresponsible.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

if the blog was STILL up and he wished to have his resume and personal information posted, then it's fair game. however, t was posted, but then retracted. the kid made a simple mistake. he probably had no idea how much trouble this could get him into. the point is, he took it down. he clearly doesn't want people to no longer read what he wrote. for GameSpot to provide a cache'd link to it, as well as a link to his PERSONAL information, is absolutely inappropriate and yellow journalism. it's oppurtunistic and sleazy.

noelveiga
noelveiga

For the record, I disagree with those who complain about publishing this. If it was posted, it was posted. They're reporting on the posting and calling it a rumor. Sounds fair to me. I don't see why you'd fail to report on a slip of the tongue (or keyboard) of somebody if it provides relevant information to what you're covering, and possible game cancellations and studio financial problems certainly are under what GS considers news.

noelveiga
noelveiga

Ironically, if these guys had been working on a cheapo Wii project they wouldn't have had these problems. It's the huge HD projects that need tons of funding for HD assets, voice overs, middleware and engineering. Wii and DS titles are the safe route.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

okay GameSpot... The guy made a mistake. He blogged about getting fired. Given the circumstances, it's okay to vent, and perhaps he should have chose to vent to his girlfriend instead to the internet. However, he has retracted his statement and apologized. All I can say is that this is really sleazy of GameSpot to re-post his original blog, link his resume and his website. It's clear he doesn't want people to see his original blog, so show some freaking respect and don't put a link to it. It's sleazy journalism being done by some guy who wants to get attention at the office even if it means destroying this man's career over a silly mistake. How about YOU guys experience what it's like to be laid-off, and then only to have a website post all these things you already regret what you said. Stay classy GameSpot. Stay classy.

Bane122
Bane122

High-Res - "Let this serve as a warning to teh rest of these 3rd rate publishers. Make crap games and you fail. Especially all you hole in the wall publishers flooding the Wii and NDS Channels with your total garbage! You spend more on Box art than you do on development. How long do you think this will last before the consumers catch on?" Ironic you say that. This very company turned there back on Nintendo and look at what's happening. The main consumer for thte Wii, everyday people and kids, aren't nearly as picky as "gamers". All these bad games sell well enough that given their low development costs, they can still turn a profit.

Bane122
Bane122

Ok, really? Is there any benefit to actually linking to his resume here?

SprSynJn
SprSynJn

Not you too Gamespot. I would expect this type of Paparazzi press from 1Up, but from you? Sad days.

High-Res
High-Res

Let this serve as a warning to teh rest of these 3rd rate publishers. Make crap games and you fail. Especially all you hole in the wall publishers flooding the Wii and NDS Channels with your total garbage! You spend more on Box art than you do on development. How long do you think this will last before the consumers catch on?

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

Hang in there guys, because you still have to made a new Star Fox, just do what you did with Rogue Squadron (a hell of a series) and we gonna have a great game, hopefully that will help Factor 5 in this situation.

funsohng
funsohng

nintendo, now is your time

monco59
monco59

So instead of one crappy developer going under, we now have two? Good riddance.

Z-Blood
Z-Blood

Hang in there Factor 5. We need you to stay with us and keep making incredible games.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

wow Gamespot, why pick on this poor guy and let everyone know we can read his deleted post AND link his resume.

kejigoto
kejigoto

Well what do you expect when you bank on games for Space Chimps (when the hell did that movie come out?), Alvin and the Chipmunks (how could you make a game out of that?), and then the only hope of a good game out of the mix Jumper was complete trash. Not to mention the major flopping of Liar, its no surprise this is going on. However with Factor 5 working closely with Nintendo on a few projects, I doubt the big N will let the work for their console go by the way side and will at least step in and keep them afloat until those hit store shelves. Other than that I wouldn't hold my breath for Factor 5 sticking it through this, better developers are already crashing and burning, guess this should be a wake up call to developers to stop wasting time with trash games and really step it up.

killkill3
killkill3

YAY, one less crappy developer making crappy movie tie ins, the world has just become a better place.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

comments notwithstanding, I don't like the layout of his resume, isn't well put together.

nappan
nappan

Wow, whatever will gamers do with fewer game-to-movie tie ins. Hmmm.. maybe throw some kind of party... (Riddick being the exception, and irrelevant here.)

conformist
conformist

Maybe this will be Nintendo's chance to finally 'legitimize their relationship' with Factor 5? Nothing like a relationship for financial purposes. hah. All kidding aside, I'd be for it.

dewwy
dewwy

Ok, I was really confused between Factor 5 and Level 5 for a while here. Just so everyone knows, Factor 5's claim to fame is as the developer of Rogue Squadron/Lair. Level 5's claim to fame is as the developer of Jeanne D'Arc/Rogue Galaxy/Dragon Quest/Dark Cloud. I was really confused as to how one of the most famous JRPG makers was going out of business... and why one of their animators has a blog in perfect English... and why all the employees names were Western names... Answer found!!!

Redgarl
Redgarl

I guess moving out to make PS3 games was a god damn error...

Nickfury101
Nickfury101

Being an established developer they are bound to find funding from someone. If worse comes to worse some other publisher will buy them up (EA, Microsoft,Nintendo?). All three just have money sacks lying around in their office's anyways.

SaintAjora
SaintAjora

Damn this recession...it's gonna ruin everything.

Trindris
Trindris

Godamnit nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED another rogue squadron!

XFoogyX
XFoogyX

I really enjoyed Lair. It's too bad Factor 5 has to go through all of this during the holiday season.

Bodboy466
Bodboy466

These are some rough economic times we're going through. Hopefully it will turn out alright for these guys.

Golbez_77
Golbez_77

those are some dedicated employees especially around this time of the year.

buzzguy
buzzguy

Wow...F5 used to be a big-time developer that made their own money. Seems like Lair might have been the beginning of the end. Hope that's not true.

hemakm3
hemakm3

Hang in there Factor 5.

Magrino
Magrino

Source: A Google cached blog post by a former Factor 5 animator.

What we heard: In November, onetime cash-flush publisher Brash Entertainment imploded. The production house, cofounded by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull in March 2007 and backed by a cool $400 million in funding, came to its epic conclusion following a string of less than accomplished film-to-game tie-ins, including Space Chimps, Jumper, and Alvin and the Chimpmunks.

Brash's abrupt closure has apparently caused unanticipated ripples, most notably for Lair developer Factor 5. In March, Factor 5 announced it would be teaming with Brash on an unannounced title, one that was later reported to be based on the DC Comics hero Superman. However, it appears that project has now hit the skids due to a lack of funding, and in the process delivered a debilitating blow to its developer, if a blog post by former Factor 5 animator Sam Baker is to be believed.

First spotted by 1up, the now-deleted blog post (which is viewable via Google Cache) describes how Baker returned from time off to find that no one at Factor 5 had been paid in a month. "Regardless of the financial issues of the company (which I won't elaborate on), we all stayed and continued to work," reads the original post. "If we left, there would have been no hope in F5 staying afloat. We had faith in the projects and the company, so there was no reason to bail just yet. At this time it didn't seem like much more than bad timing and bad luck."

Baker then went on to describe how the situation became progressively worse, as Factor 5 employees first lost their health care, and then were forced to discontinue work on the unannounced title. "Without proper funding on the project I was working on, the company was forced to stop production," he said. The situation then turned dire, when "the president of the company [Julian Eggebrecht] basically told us that if we didn't receive funding in 1 week, all of us should move on and look elsewhere for another job."

Shortly after the online media seized upon his report, Baker quickly deleted his post, replacing it with a follow-up that said, "Steve Watts of 1UP wrote that I said Factor 5 cut one of their main projects, a comic book superhero game, and that's incorrect. It was a big story in the news that we recently lost a publisher, Brash Entertainment, when they went out of business. This does not mean that we've stopped production on that game, or that it was ever even in trouble. The other projects currently under way at Factor 5 are doing great. We hadn't received payment because of the situation with Brash, which is why I said I needed to look elsewhere for work."

The official story: Requests for comment sent to Factor 5 had not been returned as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Baker's backpedaling notwithstanding, it seems clear that Brash's exit has roiled Factor 5's economic situation. However, it's worth noting that the studio had more than just Brash's bun in the oven, with Baker's resume calling out at least two other unannounced titles in development.