Layoffs hit Obsidian, next-gen project canceled - Report

Up to 30 employees reportedly let go this week from teams behind mystery next-generation project and South Park role-playing game.

It was a tough week for some at Obsidian Entertainment, according to a report at Joystiq. A tipster told the site today that a round of layoffs hit the developer this week, leaving as many as 30 out of work.

Layoffs at Obsidian impacted the South Park team, according to the source.

The source said an unannounced next-generation project at Obsidian was canceled this week, with layoffs impacting that team. In addition, the cuts reportedly impacted staffers who were at work on the South Park role-playing game to be published by THQ. All told, the source said 20 to 30 staffers were let go.

Writing on Twitter, an Obsidian animator acknowledged the layoffs, offering his support for those impacted by the action. Additionally, as pointed out by members of the Obsidian forums, several studio employees have updated their LinkedIn pages to reflect they are no longer employed at the company.

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told GameSpot, "We are always happy to talk about our announced projects, gaming, and the industry as a whole. However, it is our policy to not comment on stories regarding our staff."

Obsidian is presently known to be developing two games: the South Park RPG and a game based on Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time novels. On top of those endeavors, last month, the developer said it was eyeing crowd-funding service Kickstarter for a potential future project.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

86 comments
y3ivan
y3ivan

@inaka_rob gaming is very subjective to consumers taste. Some want it to be story driven game with cinematic moments and some wanted it to be very interactive and create a living, breathing world that is not limited to ones directed views. The 2nd idea is seems to be neglected quite alot this recent years as games started to attach newer audiences.

Yams1980
Yams1980

is the Southpark game still a go? Its hard to tell if its cancelled or not from this

Conjuration
Conjuration

Tell us more about South Park already.

GameFreak982928
GameFreak982928

To all of you people freaking out about the South Park game being canceled: Don't. South Park is the biggest cash cow game these guys are developing. They'd be nuts to cancel it, no matter what viewpoint you look at it from. I also sincerely doubt that Matt and Trey, or even Comedy Central, would let that slide. And if Obsidian were nuts enough to cancel it? Matt and Trey would simply find someone else: I guarantee you there are hundreds of other game developers who'd jump on this in a heartbeat.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

@Mcneelyj39 a full blown RPG from guys know knows how to make them. Check out Game informer

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

damn! Why! The South park RPG was looking so cool!!

stabby_mcgee
stabby_mcgee

This obviously sucks for the people who got laid off but I think it might actually be good for the long run. Obsidian should not be making AAA games for mass market. Their style focuses much more on details, subtlety, and nuance, which are easily missed or skipped in the kinds of action heavy games that publishers want. Take New Vegas for example, did anyone notice how the Boomer base had a building used to turn corn into biodiesel or how there are different stories about the identity of Legate Lanius? Obsidian tends to focus more on adding the little details to make their worlds more believable and consistent rather than giving the player more ways to blow people up. That's not exactly something with a lot of mass appeal. Not to mention how all the misdirection and skewed perspectives in their stories tend to turn people off.

McNeelyJ39
McNeelyJ39

so was the south park title an arcade title for XBLA and PSN or a full disc title? Please tell me it was or will be an arcade title.

stick2zero
stick2zero

Just Sad.......... I want to play the game..

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

@y3ivan I agree I am beeing too hard on KOTAR2. it does open up the world more. but KOTAR 1 was brought a zillion new things to the RPG world. It was mind blowing. possibly the best star wars games EVER made, at least in the top 3. And in the top ten or even top 5 best RPGs EVER made. KOTAR 2 was just mehhhh. it was the same. a little better. you cant follow a game that blows peoples minds away with sequal that just feels a little better. I am going through fall out vegas right now. and like I said before I like it. a lot! mainly becuase I love fall out. but its just copy and past from work OTHER people did. I just walked into a building that was EXACTLY the same from 3, just with differnt furniture. same hair cuts on the punks, etc. the only orgnail game these guys made is like a bunch of high school kids made it, apha protocol. for high school kids, its amazing. for a multi million dollar company epic fail.

sidious360
sidious360

I honestly see this as foreshadowing of whats to come. Most games copy from one another, or just make movie tie -ins to make a quick buck.The fact is gaming as a whole isnt what it used be.It used to be a form of media to entertain its consumers.Now we have 70-80% of companies who only want to make money with quantity not quality.If you ask me this generation was the worst since the 80's

ThePedoBear
ThePedoBear

Get rid of SCORE based reviews and SCORES in general, and you won't see layoffs.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Sure as hell seems a crap time to be a developer.. then again.. isn't it a crap time to be just about anything? :?

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@DrKill09 I have nothing against brawlers and FPS's, but for south park? noooo, has to be an rpg. A brawler wouldn't work as the characters are not suited for it, an fps just wouldn't work at all, it would make no sense...neither would allow for a true south park experience. Just my opinion though.

goosetroop
goosetroop

I hope they don't cut South Park game

Mroptimism
Mroptimism

I will always respect Obsidian for their games but their lack of polish and buggy-ness was irritating.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I'm interested in what positions were cut, like writers, animators, artists, programmers, or did they just can some barely qualified minimum wage earning game testers they hired through a temp agency?

y3ivan
y3ivan

@inaka_rob for me, Gameplay>story. Argument invalid KOTOR2 open the world more than what KOTOR1 linear story and gameplay. They started with the companion trust system that till today it has been used. KOTOR2 is brings a lot of good RPG ideas to the series. however story wise.... no so much to live up with.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

@DeViLzzz Actually, the creators of the Show Approached Obsidian about making their game. Obsidian agree'ed

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

South Park RPG idea probably got them fired

mtait01
mtait01

nooooooooooo!! I really hope the South Park game is still a go

the_hunger
the_hunger

While I think that Obsidian is, at best, a mediocre company prone to releasing buggy products, I'm sorry to hear about the layoffs. I hope those employees land on their feet.

another_drew
another_drew

............. So they lost the employees and kept the South Park RPG......i don't want to live on this planet anymore..........

oblivion437
oblivion437

"its[sic] the only game they have made that I can say anything trully[sic] good about, but agian[sic] its[sic] just based off someone else[sic] hard work." The Fallout series was not created by Bethesda. I'm not sure how much more I need to explain here. The Interplay/Black Isle thing, staff overlap between FO1/2/NV, that there was a version of Fallout 3 under development at Black Isle when Herve Caen in his infinite wisdom decided to can the project close to completion, etc. could all help to improve a person's knowledge of history but...I feel like I'd be wasting my time.

Nic345
Nic345

Layoff suck. I hope their able to put their talents to good use and find new jobs. I also hope the games won't be affected. Hopefully it well end well for all parties.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@GamerLegend10 Yes, just yes. Brawlers and fps > RPG. :roll:

coop36
coop36

@tha-todd-beast: the

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

meh... KOTR 2 could not hold a flicking match to KOTR1. recycled envoiraments. felt like playing a beta version of KOTR1. and Alpha Protocol was a joke. I am playing now and enjoying, barely, but bought it for 7$. It was as if the guys who made that game never played Metal Gear Solid or Splinter cell in their life. not to mention the graphics looked ps2/xbox dated. also Playing New Vegas as we speak. So far. loving it. but it has been patched to hell and back since it initial release. its the only game they have made that I can say anything trully good about, but agian its just based off someone else hard work. im all for indi and smaller compaines but realeses smaller budget games is 100% differnt from releasing. CRAP game.

delateur
delateur

Good luck with that Kickstarter idea. I may like your games, but I'm not supporting you in that way, sorry. I'll support ideas like Wasteland 2, instead.

xxLEGITspencer
xxLEGITspencer

This sucks. I hope the people laid off can find another job, and I hope this won't affect the South Park game too much.

doriot
doriot

sorry, i often forget to check my spelling!

doriot
doriot

A New South Park is on tonight! But seriously, it's sad to hear anyone getting laid off of there job. Hope they find work soon!

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The 8th Generation of Videogame consoles has not yet even started and 1 game has already been canned. They didn't even bother to let the game fall in the traditional way.

servb0ts
servb0ts

Damn You Kenny! for startinga Riot, and getting everyone fired.

polterdice
polterdice

"the developer said it was eyeing crowd-funding service Kickstarter for a potential future project" Isn't Kickstarter meant for people having troubles getting capital to begin their projects? I'd rather give $ to Kickstarter for those that lost their jobs this week than for Obsidian to start another game.

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

Sucks ass. They're such a fantastic development house.

SicoWolf
SicoWolf

Shame. They've created a lot of great games... but also some not so great ones. I had a feeling this would happen after the disaster that is Dungeon Siege 3. Their games don't usually sell all that well, even if they are good. So a failure like this has to be hard on the studio.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Well, I hope the Wheel of Time project wasn't the one axed. That's my dream come true. I've got the old PC game laying around here somewhere.

Antatious
Antatious

Now that I think about it, hopefully the layoffs were from Matt and Trey telling people they aren't understanding the south park vision correctly, lol.

Antatious
Antatious

I would imagine a project like South Park really requires everyone to be in to it and on the same page. Everyone I know either absolutely hates South Park or is in love with it. I really hope it gets done with Matt and Trey's help.

gix47
gix47

wonder why the layoffs

pszone
pszone

This company who create it from Ex interplay and they try sued Bethesa because they want there fallout series back but Long ago Interplay sold the fallout to Bethesa and thats why this company lost the rights to fallout know . And ever since lays off of next gen project but i hope this project of south park go very well. So anyways i dont see a future for them as yet as i can see so far.

Omega_Zero69
Omega_Zero69

well hopefully the project goes well and try to see that they wont layoff anymore people

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

Sad to see something like this happen. I respect Obsidian as a company, although I personally don't think their games are all that good (the best ones I can think of are sequels that aren't quite as good as the originals). Hopefully they can bounce back with a truly great game soon.

nate1222
nate1222

With stuff like this, no bc and the obviously sky-high dev costs the next gen is looking s___tier by the minute. But, the console makers and publishers just gotta push tech, just for the sake of ripping you off via planned obsolescence.