Reports: EA Layoffs Hitting Madden, Skate 2 Devs

11
As Electronic Arts continues to implement its cost-cutting plan, which will see the company shed 10% of its global workforce by March's end, new reports indicate that Madden developer Tiburon and Skate 2 developer Black Box are among the latest hit.

Though EA has already said it will close Black Box, the studio's development teams and "associated game franchises" were said to be moving to a nearby office, with Kotaku's report suggesting that not all of the Black Box staff will make the transition.

Also responsible for the Need for Speed series, Black Box just shipped Skate 2 today.

As for the cuts at Madden and Tiger Woods developer Tiburon, Gamasutra reports that "multiple staffers" have been let go, but offers no additional details.

Electronic Arts has repeatedly said it will not provide specifics on the broad cuts until early February. Other divisions rumored to be affected include Warhammer Online developer Mythic Entertainment and Destroy All Humans! vets Pandemic Brisbane.

"As part of EA, all studios are expected to do their fair share to meet the expectations of our CEO," Mythic VP Mark Jacobs wrote yesterday in response to said rumors.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 21, 2009 12:50 PM

    Well no wonder the physics in Skate 2 are all wrong, they had no incentive to get it right.

    • reply
      January 21, 2009 1:04 PM

      I've heard it's improved... no?

      • reply
        January 21, 2009 1:26 PM

        No, because every air has to account that you might try to foot plant out of it so the game forces you into predicted trajectories to be certain that it won't look awful if you do try to.

        In the first game, your launches were speed + angles + ollie / nollie preload. Now it has parameters like "well, where can we make this guy land where he can do tricks X Y Z on the way out"

        =\

        • reply
          January 21, 2009 1:33 PM

          not interested in the game then.

          • reply
            January 21, 2009 1:35 PM

            You should at least try the demo first. The physics are a bit different, but it's still Skate, not Tony Hawk. A lot of people like it more, and some people like it less.

          • reply
            January 21, 2009 2:05 PM

            I made a few posts about my experiences with both games and some of the changes in 2 last night:
            http://www.shacknews.com/laryn.x?id=19002141

            if anything, you should try the demo and see what it's like for yourself.

        • reply
          January 21, 2009 1:34 PM

          "game forces you into predicted trajectories"
          As in the player has to account for the angle +speed + ollie in order to make it onto a rail persay? I'm not following this argument or I'm missing something.

        • reply
          January 21, 2009 2:00 PM

          You are wrong. That stuff only kicks in when you press the buttons for the actual footplant, and if you don't have enough height it won't trigger and you'll bail. It's similar to auto-grinding and the way the game helps you land in transitions just like the original skate, only the footplant thing is triggered by the button presses. Otherwise the you go where you go based on your momentum height and speed like the first game.

          • reply
            January 21, 2009 4:20 PM

            I'm not wrong, 2 push + full charge + ramp nets the same result as 3 push + charge + ramp way too often in order to make sure you have a preferred landing site. It's trying to predict what you'll do at takeoff.

            The launches in Skate 1 were far more predictable.

            I was an air guy, not a flatland technician, I have noticed the slower rotations, but that's not the new detriments I'm getting at. Airs are seriously altered.

            • reply
              January 21, 2009 5:08 PM

              Airs are altered when you are landing in a transition same as skate1 or if you are over a grindable object because of the increased auto-grind magnetism or after you initiate a foot plant. It's not trying to predict anything. The game alters your trajectory under these standard circumstances, it did the same in skate.

              Full charge? Your ollie height and distance is dependent on how fast you snap the stick up too, not how long you prep. And of course where you take off from the ramp/kicker/incline.

              If you want to test it in the demo without any external factors like transitional landings (which you already know alter your trajectory somewhat as it did in skate), set up a kicker with a picnic table behind it. set your session marker so you can test different speeds, and press circle on additional attempt to alter your speed even more. Try launching from different heights and speeds and snaps on the kicker. If you go slow, the majority of the time the auto-grind will kick in and send you to the closest edge of the top of the table. Otherwise you will clear it, at varying distances depending on your speed, ollie strength and launch point. Depending on how extensive you are, you might notice some instances where you'll try to grind or stall (depending on your board position) the very end of the table. This isn't because of footplants or anything like that, it's just the same auto-grind stuff. If you do try a foot plant on the table, you'll probably notice you veer to the edges of the table, just like with grinds.

              There's no magic window like you mentioned before. I've aired the table in this setup with inches to spare. I've grinded the edges, I've did nose blunts on the far end, I've landed in every distance from the end to however many feet away. Use the replay camera in slo-mo too. I

              • reply
                January 21, 2009 5:45 PM

                I am personally not a fan of these aids, especially the auto-grind. I hated in the original skate as well though most people never even noticed it, I thought it was ridiculous how your skater would seek out a rail or ledge a foot away even though I wasn't angled to land on such object. Most people couldn't care less, but later I realized the game would be almost impossible without it. I would have welcomed the challenge, however it does not make for an accessible video game.

                When I first tried the demo for 2 I was most annoyed to see this effect was slightly more pronounced in the sequel. Trying to do a manual on the surface of that movable picnic table is near impossible because of the auto-grind aid. A maneuver like that in the original skate on narrow ledges was difficult because of the this as well, but you could also bypass the grind aid occasionally by holding up on the left stick. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I wish there were settings for all these aids, so you could make the game into as much of a sim as you wanted. Like for auto-grinds, high would be the skate 2 default, medium would be like skate 1, and low would be off or virtually disabled. I'd like another setting for airs and transfers. Then you'd have to rotate/tilt your body / board forward and back precisely for each and every landing (like you would a flip, but finer) with the setting off instead of the games doing it for you like they do now.

                That wouldn't really fly for the average gamer, you know. I'm still enjoying the game and the improvements to all other aspects, including the physics, because it flows better than skate 1 well and it's still challenging for me.

                • reply
                  January 21, 2009 5:53 PM

                  Lunatic, I also want to say- since you were an air guy, you should know how broken the floaty air physics were in the original game. Claiming the sequel had it wrong compared to something that was already wrong doesn't mean much, except that it's not what you were used to.

                  I think whatever they did was for the better overall, especially when it results in not so crappy vert / pipe skating (though it's still pretty crappy).

            • reply
              January 21, 2009 5:09 PM

              i kinda get what your saying. it's feels like you're holding the transfer button from tony hawk at all times... but, after going back to the old Skate 1 i realized it was the same way. its just now the gravity is more realistic and it transitions smoother. it gives everything a different feel. personally, i like the changes after i getting used to them.

              as for the turning, it's just a matter of getting used to the controls. you have to move the analog exactly left or right to get the fastest spin now.

        • reply
          January 21, 2009 2:02 PM

          so it's more like tony hawk? I don't get it

    • reply
      January 21, 2009 1:06 PM

      I actually think the physics are tighter in skate 2. the board snaps up into the feet more realistically, Less floaty feel, and combined tricks just look better (a kickflip one-eighty looks more like it should in real life).

    • reply
      January 21, 2009 1:24 PM

      First off, most people are saying they are improved. Secondly, the physics were wrapped up long before the cuts were announced, so no, that was not an issue.

    • reply
      January 21, 2009 1:37 PM

      "I'm an expert at making skateboard games, and let me tell you, the physics in Skate 2 are all wrong and I know exactly why because I'm an expert and they are clearly not any good at it."

    • reply
      January 21, 2009 1:41 PM

      I think this game is excellent. I didn't play the original so I can't compare 2 to 1, but the physics blow the Tony Hawk series away.
      Just because they changed one aspect doesn't make the physics 'all wrong.'