Thursday, 5 February 2009

A Kick in the Nadz: Mythic Job Losses

The economic downturn has sadly turned Mythics way today

Syp is very upset by the job cuts at mythic and has pledged not to blog for a week as a mark of respect. While i agree with his sentiment i don't think his method helps.

Allot of the responses to this on the net seem surprised that it's well known members of the design team who are loosing their jobs. But to me its not a big surprise, because not all that long ago i went through something similar myself.

Currently i work part time as a library assistant.
I used to work as a freelance print designer.

I would take a brief from clients, design their poster/leaflet/cards/ect, and after a design was approved i would send it onto a printer.

The Problem was as the economic downturn hit the people who were giving me work they started getting less work themselves and it became harder and harder for business to get the credit they relied on, so instead of commissioning a new item they would try and use up every last copy of the last one they had made, get very small amendments made to a old one made, or just go direct to the printers behind my back and get new copies made of their old.

When funds are tight any business will look at what it has got planned for production and ask itself "How long can we survive on what we have already got".

My Guess is the announcement of job losses has as much to do with the call to arms announcement than it does with the subscriber figures (although 100% not helped by them).

Look at it this way, most likely the higher level conceptual design for everything announced on the 29th is probably done. Assuming that they have passed the 'conceptual' stage and are now entering the implementation stage for that content, they effectively have enough content to keep the people who produce the bricks and mortar of WarR occupied till July (assuming they stick to their release schedule and adding 1 month of immediate bug fixed when lotd goes live).

Its a sad way for something to happen "Thank for designing this really cool land of the dead and new classes for us.... now goodbye" but somewhere someone had to ask the question, "can the company sustain its current wage bill?"

Did the right people get fired?

Could other people have took pay cuts to allow more to retain there jobs?

Could the people who lost their jobs have instead be reassigned to other roles?

Which in turn brings up the question of could/would they have accepted the wage cuts which would have come with it(to use my example i obviously couldn't charge someone the same to make amendments as i could if i was doing a new piece of work).That's assuming they had directly transferable skills(i for instance have no idea how the hell to operate a industrial printing press).

These are the questions id like to know the answer to but due to NDA's i really doubt we ever will.

Anyways this is allot on conjecture on my part, i don't work in the game industry so my guess's are probably quite far off. But i think people should look at the wider picture before too heavily criticizing mythic as a whole, especially when we don't know how much choice they were given by EA.

What allot of people will find shocking is that after these cuts EA's stock market price went up.

I hope those who have lost their jobs at mythic (and indeed those still working there) are able to find a way to ride through the worst of this because with Warhammer they produced a game they should be proud of.