Saints Row, Agents Of Mayhem Developer Hit With Layoffs

Deep Silver reportedly "unhappy" with sales of Agents of Mayhem.

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Now Playing: GS News Update: Saints Row, Agents Of Mayhem Developer Hit With Layoffs

Saints Row developer Volition has laid off "over 30 people," according to Kotaku, which names the studio's general manager, Dan Cermak, as one of the people among those affected. The studio's last major release, Agents of Mayhem, failed to make a big impact critically and, according to Kotaku's three sources, parent company Deep Silver "was unhappy" with sales.

As of yet, the circumstances leading to the layoffs haven't been confirmed and it is common for studios to decrease in number after development on a big project is complete. GameSpot has contacted Volition and Deep Silver for a statement on the matter.

Volition was purchased by Deep Silver following THQ's bankruptcy in 2013. It has since released Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell and Agents of Mayhem. While the latter of the two is set in the Saints Row universe, the game was not marketed as a new entry in the popular open-world series, but was instead treated as a brand new property.

The studio also worked on the Red Faction series while under THQ, though the last entry in that series was 2011's Red Faction: Armageddon.

In GameSpot's Agents of Mayhem review, critic Brett Todd awarded it a 4/10, saying it was "a broken and repetitive game," and its personality couldn't overcome these flaws.

"The attitude behind Agents of Mayhem has potential, at least if it's executed properly," he continued. "But there's little to Agents of Mayhem beyond its foul-mouthed and bombastic attitude, which push the game into grating and obnoxious territory. Throw in the poor mission design and bugs, and you've got a game with loads of mayhem, but not much else."

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Avatar image for playstationzone
PlaystationZone

Yet hope do new saint row game.

Avatar image for Gallowhand
Gallowhand

I'm always sorry to see people losing their jobs, and hope they find other work soon. Nevertheless, I think Volition misread the market on this one. I really enjoyed Saints Row 3, but felt Saints Row 4 went a bit off the rails. The super power mechanics made a lot of other tweaks and additions redundant. I never picked up Gat Out of Hell.

When I saw Agents of Mayhem as Volition's next project I was kind of interested, but the character-switching mechanic just looked odd to me. I'm not averse to playing set characters (I like a lot of games that have those, such as Borderlands and Dead Island), but I do prefer character creation. The marketing seemed to focus on lots of shooting action and dodgy humour, without really showcasing other aspects of the game. I'm not someone who enjoys shooting stuff just for the sake of it, so over time I just lost interest in it. After reading a variety of reviews, I decided it wasn't for me.

I think Volition were right to try and make something other than a Saints Row game, but to be honest I think the studio should make a clean break from the Saints Row universe and make something completely different. There's certainly no dearth of third and first person shooters right now, and this isn't the first failure in sales we've seen this year; Lawbreakers flat-lined shortly after release. Maybe it's time to double down on story and unique settings.

As an aside, I'm looking forward to Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. Yes, it's absolutely a first person shooter, with lots of guns and action. However, based on the previous two outings by MachineGames I also know it's going to have a great story, memorable characters, humorous and nostalgic moments and great voice acting. I guess that's the kind of thing I'm looking for in a shooter these days. Metro: Exodus is also firmly on my radar for the same reasons.

Avatar image for razor_rj
razor_rj

what did they expected ? we wanted saints row they gave us this, and its single player ! this game had the feel and look of a great mp game in a new franchise.....FOOLS.

Avatar image for lucidique
lucidique

@razor_rj: After Saint's Row IV, I think it made sense for Volition to try something new. I'm not sure where they could have taken the series next, immediately after the craziness of IV.

I plan on picking up Mayhem at some point, just not at launch price.

I wish them luck. I have greatly enjoyed most of their games.

Avatar image for uncle5555
uncle5555

@lucidique: They painted themselves into a corner, they should have rebooted the franchise and went back to their roots.

Avatar image for lucidique
lucidique

@uncle5555: Yeah, not a bad idea. They could also have done more Red Faction... damnit :(

Avatar image for xnshd
xNSHD

could see this coming. didnt think agents of mayhem would do well as soon as it was announced.

Avatar image for yukushi
yukushi

I use to be a big fan of saints row because its was funny and over the top but then they went too far, aliens going to hell to fight satan it was too much and they lost the formula that made their games great.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

Deep Silver is even worse than EA. At least with EA the decline is gradual. With Deep Silver, an otherwise good franchise will go to crap with the VERY NEXT RELEASE after DS acquires the property.

DS seriously needs to go away, or go back to simple distribution deals.

Avatar image for killercondoms
KillerCondoms

@Barighm: I disagree, Volition needs to get their acts together and produce a quality game instead of the tripe they been coming out with.

Now Nordic Games needs to get off their butts and give us a new Red Faction game but they need to go back to the older style because Armageddon was a joke. I did enjoy killing things with a farting unicorn though.

Avatar image for Tiwill44
Tiwill44

Pro tip to the devs/publisher: Take a look at the state of the industry (and entertainment in general) before you make a game next time. Look at what people consume, what they like. You would have noticed that there is no market for this game.

In a world where things like Rick & Morty and South Park exist, no one needs "lolsorandom", loud, crass, obnoxious humor with zero substance, zero cleverness, and zero effort put into it.

The first screenshot of this game you see when you land on the Steam page is a picture of a generic tough-looking girl giving the finger to the camera. Ask yourself: who would find that appealing? Look at Battleborn and their constant use of the word "badass". You're not badass. No one cares.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@Tiwill44: Publisher, especially. Volition has the talent. They've done it before, but Deep Silver is an absolute crap company. Everything they get their hands on turns to sheer crap super fast.

Avatar image for electronic_eye
electronic_eye

@Barighm: I agree generally with what you're saying but not the "everything" part. Ever played Metro: Last Light? Awesome survival horror FPS. And though it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, I personally loved Dead Island. Experienced very few bugs with it too.

Avatar image for razor_rj
razor_rj

@electronic_eye: they just published it, not develop.....very different

Avatar image for electronic_eye
electronic_eye

@razor_rj: I know Deep Silver didn't develop either of those games. But their reputation is still obviously tied to them. Plus, some if not most publishers have the final say in how a game turns out.

Avatar image for alucardswrath
alucardswrath

Honestly, no matter how good or how bad a game is, it's really sad when people lose their jobs, regardless of your selfish opinions about this or any game.

Avatar image for firedrakes
firedrakes

it was broken... alot of broken. the last saints game where never this broken before.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

The open world market is pretty crowded at this point, and even the good games have trouble standing out, so no surprise a sloppy effort trying a sloppy tie in to a meh franchise didn't do great.

Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

Maybe if it disnt suck then maybe it wouldve sold. All the stars aligned too with the similar crackdown 3 getting delayed. I had high hopes of a Bordelands cross w Saints Row type of game and god a steamy turd instead.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b0457a4d6084

I had it pre ordered and fully paid off but at the end i canceled it because it looked way too repetitive.

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

@Eddie619: yet that's most every game anymore...repetitive or boring or broken....

Avatar image for deactivated-5b0457a4d6084

@MJ12-Conspiracy: Wolfenstein next month should be Awesome.

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

@Eddie619: yeah, and it might be the last game I buy for the year.....

Injustice 2, Horizon Zero Dawn & Wolfenstein 2 are the only things i'll have grabbed and played all year plus Fallout 4 still a little before horizon came out.....I'm super picky anymore......

also looking forward to Horizon's DLC later.....I have that on reserve on PSN....

Avatar image for deactivated-5b0457a4d6084

@MJ12-Conspiracy: Fall 2019 without a doubt for PS5, Sony is switching to 3 year hardware refresh cycles. The PS4, PS4 Pro set up will continue on. PS4 28nm Fall 2013, PS4 Pro 16nm Fall 2016,PS5 7nm Fall 2019 and PS5 Pro 3 - 5nm Fall 2022. The Final 3 Big Exclusives in 2019 for PlayStation 4 will be Death Stranding, The Last Of Us 2 and I heard Sucker Punches new ip is a melee combat cyberpunk game. Also Fall 2019 is PlayStations 25th Anniversary atleast from Japan it is.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b0457a4d6084

@MJ12-Conspiracy: Ya, Besides Call of Duty and Star Wars in November there’s no good games till the beginning of next year.