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Rumor: Red Dead Redemption Developer Hit With Layoffs [Update]

[Update: July 15, 9:20am] Rockstar San Diego studio manager Steve Martin has released the following statement to the media in response to the layoff rumors:
As is typical with game development, our team sizes have always fluctuated over the course of the development cycle. As Rockstar San Diego transitions from the launch of Red Dead Redemption onto future projects, we are realigning our resources in order to continue to develop games as effectively as possible.

We are ensuring that all employees who are affected by these changes are being treated with care. While we have no announcements to make regarding a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, the team here are hard at work on the development of downloadable content for the game.

[Original Story] Though Red Dead Redemption sold exceptionally well and publisher Rockstar games recently announced four downloadable content packs are underway for it, sources tell Shacknews that the studio behind the game got hit with a heavy layoff at the end of the day today. According to the report as many as 40 members of Rockstar San Diego were let go.

One of the downsides to the production cycle for big games is the inability to support the staff size after the game ships. This seems to be the likely scenario at Rockstar San Diego where the only currently known projects are the DLC and whatever support they may provide for games in production at other Rockstar studios.

We've reached out to Rockstar for comment but given the late hour on the East Coast do not expect to hear back until tomorrow.

From The Chatty
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    July 14, 2010 7:14 PM

    This is the new trend. Staff up to finish a game and lay a boatload off after ship. No more salaries and no need to pay on going shipping bonuses. Yay games industry!!

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      July 14, 2010 7:19 PM

      Every industry that can is or has been shifting to a temp worker/freelancer/contract/non-salaried workforce.

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      July 14, 2010 7:38 PM

      This has been around since this industry has been making money. This isn't anything new or trendy in the least.

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        July 14, 2010 8:28 PM

        No, it's far worse than before.

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          July 14, 2010 8:31 PM

          Part of the reason is teams are bigger than they used to be as well.

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        July 14, 2010 8:28 PM

        It's poor management that causes the layoffs. What you want is staggered projects, so people will shift onto the second when the first wraps. But what happens is the first project needs more staff, so the second one slowly disappears. At the end of the first project, there's no other project to support such a large staff. So you get layoffs.

        Bad scheduling, poor management, under-estimating tech features, and under-estimating the need to iterate.

        Even if all tech is solid, you still can't just make a game, it has to be discovered and re-iterated over and over again.

        And no tech is ever solid these days. Most management demands a beautiful screenshot before they'll even sit down to play the game.

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          July 14, 2010 9:18 PM


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            July 15, 2010 12:34 AM

            Agile is a scam to make money. My friend made it up to fleece companies of hard earned dollars.

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      July 14, 2010 9:28 PM

      The animation and film industry has been doing it this way for a long time. It's sad but in the ever increasing need to extend profit margins, practices like this make much sense.

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