High Voltage lays off 25

Studio behind Conduit 2, Tournament of Legends trims payroll, projects in development continue as scheduled.

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Conduit developer High Voltage Software is streamlining its operations, laying off dozens of employees a little less than a month after shipping its latest games, the Wii-exclusive fighter Tournament of Legends.

Tournament of Legends offered a fantasy focused take on fighting games.

The layoffs were first reported by Joystiq and confirmed for GameSpot by the studio's vice president, Eric Nofsinger. Nofsinger put the number at 25 product development positions and specified that "no other reductions are expected."

While the Chicago-area developer has spent much of the last 17 years working on licensed projects, it might be best known among gamers for its recent Sega-published original intellectual properties on the Wii. In addition to Tournament of Legends, High Voltage developed the first-person shooter The Conduit and is currently at work on the sequel. It is also working on The Grinder, a violent shooter originally intended to be a Wii exclusive but later switched to a multiplatform game. Asked how the layoffs would impact those titles, Nofsinger said they "will not affect our projects."

Discussion

31 comments
invaderHUNK
invaderHUNK

If they don't release the Grinder, I'll blow up my house...

DriftingAsassin
DriftingAsassin

It is never a good thing when employees have to be let go. That means that someone's family is going to have to go through some rough times, and that is sad. However, as in most cases the reasons behind these events often correlate with the company's output, and let's be honest, High Voltage has not exactly produced the highest quality games as of late. Tournament of Legends was very sub par, with a terrible control scheme, bland art, and poor overall development. The Conduit did show some promise, with its fluid controls; and was presented very well.But, the game suffered with repitiion, bland sci-fi elements, and a terrible story. i hope High Voltage is able to solve its problems, for its own sake.

athenian29
athenian29

"Asked how the layoffs would impact those titles, Nofsinger said they 'will not affect our projects.'" I hope not. I'm looking forward to C2.

XanderZane
XanderZane

rascal777 @XanderZane What news? Let me guess, you watch the news channels that say the economy is better, employment is going up, ect. You good sir are a moron. Why don't you try finding these things out for yourself? The economies lowest point since the great depression was this year, but I assume you're to much of an idiot to actually understand that the press is a heaping pile of utter bull $hit, tricking idiots like you into believing things that aren't true. So again, pay more attention. ****************************************************** LOL!! Boy, your buttons are easy to push. Name calling doesn't make you look anymore intelligent. Yes, the economy is still a mess, but there has been some improvement in the stock markets (It not as low as it was last year), jobs have been saved for city workers like firefighters, police officers and construction workers and new jobs are finally being created in small and private business. Politicians have been running rampant for the last 12yrs. You're just noticing that now? lol!! The economy will eventually get better. It's only a matter time. I'm not the reason the country is a mess. I never voted for Bush. lol!! He made the economy almost unrecoverable. No president after him could fix this mess in under 5yrs. McCain would have been in the same boat as we are in right now if he had become president. It's going to take at least another 3-4 yrs. I think before we start to see a real difference.

rascal777
rascal777

@XanderZane What news? Let me guess, you watch the news channels that say the economy is better, employment is going up, ect. You good sir are a moron. Why don't you try finding these things out for yourself? The economies lowest point since the great depression was this year, but I assume you're to much of an idiot to actually understand that the press is a heaping pile of utter bull $hit, tricking idiots like you into believing things that aren't true. So again, pay more attention. Seriously, people like you disgust me. You're the reason our country is such a mess. Bumbling idiots letting the politicians run rampant because you're to stupid to notice the truth. REALITY CHECK. Don't bother commenting back, or even thinking with the petty brain of yours until you learn the truth. Try to find things out for yourself...less you be another stupid, slobbering, indoctrinated slave to lies.

XanderZane
XanderZane

@rascal777 @XanderZane Why would you think that? It hasn't got any better at all. It's just as bad. Nothing has changed. Pay more attention. **************************************************************** It has gotten better in some areas of the country. Stock market has gone up as well, compared to what it was last year. Maybe you should pay attention and watch the news a bit more.

Flint247
Flint247

The Conduit was good at first but then it got repetitive and boring. The single player was short and the ending threw me off. The multiplayer got REALLY repetitive after people kept choosing the same map, weapon set, and mode the whole time. I eventually sold the game after dealing with it for a few months. It had a nice presentation on the Wii, but it was lacking in variety. And that is why I prefer gameplay > graphics.

Triton
Triton

Good luck... Now you get 2-1/2 years at 60% of yer income, or you can stay in the grind making 80% of yer income. I'm still at the 80% and wonder if this is the better deal... Good luck Middle Class...

bschroth
bschroth

@ fLaMbOaStiN but they won't change this to 3rd person will they? i doubt it. re4 is a great example, but that's more the exception than the rule. but even that game was great before it went onto the wii, granted i think it's better on wii than it was on gc or ps2.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

when you make crap, unfortunately this is what happens. i am sorry high voltage. hopefully conduit 2 will be good. or.... you develop for other consoles.

Ganados0
Ganados0

Make the Grinder on Wii a TPS with L4D's gameplay mechanic and they are onto a winner,

rascal777
rascal777

@XanderZane Why would you think that? It hasn't got any better at all. It's just as bad. Nothing has changed. Pay more attention.

helldew
helldew

i actually agree with the whole third person thing. speaking of 3rd person it would be sweet if bioware made another KOTOR on wii with ME shooting elements. that would be badass

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

@bschroth Not "anything" they do will be crap.. If they took The Conduit and made it a 3rd person shooter with controls like RE4 then it'd be a awsome game.. WII developers just really need to give up on the FPS and On-Rail shooters for the WII and stick with 3rd person shooting for that system. Seriously, like i said, RE4 is the best game on the WII.. It has the best controls and experience of ANY game i've played (off WII and on.) I imagine it wouldn't be that hard to copy those controls and 3rd person feel on a new WII title.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Well hopefully they just keep making high quality titles. As long as the games don't suffer then it's not as bad as it could be.

green_dominator
green_dominator

It sucks for any company to lose employees especially when they are trying their hardest but it doesn't help when games like Tournament Of Legends comes out. One look at that and I just cringe.......

bschroth
bschroth

I feel bad for those who don't have jobs anymore, but did High Voltage really expect an fps geared towards the "core" gamers to sell much on Wii? There are far too many great options on 360 & PS3 to even bother with any shooters on Wii besides maybe the Metroid Prime games. So please don't waste your time with The Conduit 2, no matter what you do the controls and graphics will feel and look like garbage.

raze-boi
raze-boi

It always feel awful when you know you're one of a few people of a massive company who got fired...

da_chub
da_chub

as much trash that head towards HVS, atleast they are a little 3rd party atempting to do what EA, Valve, Capcom etc... are not bothering to do, which is support Wii with decent next gen games. Conduit is a B game, nothing special. I hope Grinder and Conduit 2 turn out to be better. Most sequels do...

TheJamin
TheJamin

you dont need a endless budget for a decent game. this is true. Braid for example?

JPH85
JPH85

@ stakex007 What are you talking about? Those so called "milked games" that you mentioned have a budget of 40 million dollars at least. They are high budget games. It is the same with movies. Even crap high budget movies (Spider-man 3, Transformers 2, Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End, ...) made tons of money. I'm not saying big budget games are crap. They are not. Every FPS Halo game had a score over 9, same with GoW (Gears and God), Modern Warfare, ... And you are wrong about people being sheep. Over 20 million MW 2 was sold because it is a damn good game. Halo is a damn good game. People don't buy games just because they are forced to. No that's wrong. People buy them because they like them. They like having fun with those games. I love playing Halo and COD. I mean what you are saying is total nonsense. And to prove that your argument is invalid, all those games that I mentioned have gameplay. Halo revolutionized FPS on the consoles. It didn't have amazing graphics. Gears of War had new gameplay and graphics. Same with Modern Warfare. It has amazing multiplayer gameplay. So basically, you're totally wrong. And you said small developers can make tons of money. I know. Bungie and Valve are small developers. At most 200 people. But I wasn't talking about small developers. I was talking about the budget. Valve and Bungie games have BIG budgets. Big Budgets bring TONS of money. Name me a recent game that has very limited budget and made tons of money. I bet you can't.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

You can see the limitations of the Wii when playing the Conduit, that it makes it feel like a waste they develop it for it. Not to mention the inability to patch their multiplayer which is rampant of bugs, glitches, and hackers because Nintendo doesn't allow game updates. Didn't take long for me to get tired of other players with rocket launchers that can shoot 45 rockets at a time. The Grinder sounds interesting and its being develop for the other systems but the Wii is still the lead platform the game is being develop under. It makes me cringe.

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

All these layoffs could just be the result of new employees doing their jobs. Instead of say 5 people doing not much you have one person doing a lot. Just sayin. That goes for all jobs in all industrys. Anyway... High Voltage? Meh not on my radar, maybe if they had better games they would get noticed and need more staff to make their next games because they are in high demand....

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

Meh I had really high hopes for High Volate (no pun intended.) And was really relying on them to get some much needed game time on my WII.. I had pre-ordered and patiently waited for The Conduit only to be disappointed on all fronts.. The single player was boring and the multiplayer was a let down too, even tho it still was pretty decent for being on the WII.. I think The Conduit was the last WII game i bought.. I just realized that no other publishers were gonna be able to deliver a game like Resident Evil 4 on the WII; for some reason.. RE4 for WII = one of the best games of all times.. I never understand why a company dosn't just copy that formula to a T (same controls, 3rd person shooter, ect) and use it to base their game off of? Everyone tries to go first person shooter or on-rail on the WII when 3rd person works best and RE4 proved that.. Meh, anyways.. Long story short RE4 was about the only game i actually played all the way from beginning to end on the WII.. And The Conduit was a huge let-down.. I later sold my WII to get my xbox rrod fixed.. Ironic?

berto64
berto64

the economy is in the pooper people losin their job everywhere is the president doin something but i havent played their game yet

Animatronic64
Animatronic64

Well, they do suck at making games. Maybe they want to hire more talented people? And being a developer is always a big risk. It's highly competitive.

stakex007
stakex007

@JPH85 - Thats not true. You don't NEED a huge buget to release a solid and well selling game, it just helps given how shallow people are and how easily people buy into hype/advertising. Heres the issue tho: You're big studios haven't released an original game in years. They are too busy milking old favorites (Halo 5, GoW3, COD7, Fable 3, Madden???). They can get away with it because again, people are sheep who will buy whatever these companies tell them to, and the hype waggon prevents people from speaking up about how little advancement there is for $60 every year or two. However, too many smaller companies see the huge sales of a game like MW2 and figure "We'll make a clone, and be rich!". The problem is tho, while people might buy simply any POS with COD writen on it, they certainly have no problem not buying a similar game they never heard of. Then the less complex issue of companies like High Voltage simply releasing terrible games dosen't help... it has nothing to do with the games budget, but its development team, hence the layoffs.Even small developers can sell tons of games, but the industry as a whole (for the most part) is stuck in a "More of the same" mode... and aside from the few flagship titles out there, its not working very well. If we saw a shift from "More of the same" and graphics > then all thinking to a "Gameplay first", and "More for you're money" theam.... the industry would boom.

JPH85
JPH85

Sad to see more layoffs. Games are like movies. You need a BIG budget game to be able to sell a lot, or you need to be EXTRA creative and release something extremely new and good for people to like, something like XBLA game or even Indie game which is small in budget.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Go figure a weak game could cost people their jobs. How sad :(

XanderZane
XanderZane

Tournament of Legends looks terrible. That's a weak looking fighting game. I was getting bored just watching it. What's with all these layoffs still? I thought the economy was starting to recover.