Layoffs spark 'symbolic' strike at Test Drive Unlimited dev Eden

By Alice O'Connor, May 11, 2011 8:40am PDT

Eden Games, developer of the Test Drive Unlimited series and Alone in the Dark reboot, is on a "symbolic day strike" today to protest parent company Atari's plans to lay off a whopping 51 of the French studio's 80 employees.

"Eden Games pays now for Atari mismanagement," charges a statement posted by one of the strikers on the Test Drive Unlimited 2 forums.

The statement claims that "We had anticipated the problems faced by the company last year... For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties."

An anonymous Eden member has told Gamasutra that the studio decided yesterday to strike after making no progress in two weeks of talks with Atari, and that the layoffs are expected to occur "around June."

The unnamed employee claims that the compensation being offered "is basically half" of one that was offered to victims of a 2009 restructuring at Atari. One of the striker statement's wishes is to "be sure that an employee of Eden Games is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari."

Curiously, Eden also wishes to receive mysterious "financial records" its accountant has requested. The Eden employee mysteriously told Gamasutra that "Unfortunately we cannot give you the detail of the missing documents, this would break the confidentiality agreement." Missing, you say?

Eden's latest game, Test Drive Unlimited 2, received a lukewarm response from critics but the mystery employee told Gamasutra the studio expects it will sell 900,000 copies--an estimate, as Atari won't reveal numbers. "We believe it can be a long-time seller," said the Edenite, as "players continue to play and enjoy the game" even though "there were several issues at TDU2's launch."

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