Gas Powered Games hit by layoffs

Gas Powered Games may have only just launched a Kickstarter for their next game, Wildman. However, the studio is suffering layoffs. According to a report, "almost everyone at the company has been laid off."

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Update: Chris Taylor offers a comment about the state of the company, and what will happen to the Kickstarter project he just launched.

Gas Powered Games may have only just launched a Kickstarter for their next game, Wildman. However, it appears that Chris Taylor's studio may have been using the crowdfunding platform in an attempt to stave off its financial troubles.

Taylor has confirmed to Kotaku that "we do have a layoff," but did not offer any further details, saying that "we'll be updating our Kickstarter as well with details very soon."

According to the initial report, "almost everyone at the company has been laid off." In fact, one source alleges that "everyone except CEO Chris Taylor and one or two people." The last two games to come from the studio were Supreme Commander 2 and Age of Empires Online.

"The studio is still operating, but we had to slim WAY down to conserve cash reserves," Taylor confirmed to Gamasutra. Apparently, when he said he was "betting it all" on their upcoming Wildman, they weren't kidding. "We spent all the last dough that we've had, and the last several months working on it. So we're betting the company on it," he said.

When contacted about the layoffs, Taylor said that people were let go, but GPG is still a functioning company, although he didn't elaborate on how the company was still going to operate.

"I'm thinking of asking folks, should I shut the Kickstarter down or not? So I'm about to shoot video that will post up tonight saying just that," he told us. "I had to read the tealeaves and foresee that the Kickstarter was not likely to reach its goal, and if it did, only after I squeezed every friend I have to make a contribution. I didn't want to put people I love through that... as it would be just as painful for them to watch as it was for me to do. So, I made the very hard call to conserve money so that GPG could make a transition into a new business model, some people call it right-sizing, but I call it making a tough strategic decision."

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  • reply
    January 18, 2013 3:46 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Gas Powered Games hit by layoffs.

    Gas Powered Games may have only just launched a Kickstarter for their next game, Wildman. However, the studio is suffering layoffs. According to a report, "almost everyone at the company has been laid off."

    • reply
      January 18, 2013 3:55 PM

      What did they release last?

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      January 18, 2013 4:15 PM

      outta gas

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      January 18, 2013 5:50 PM

      Lost interest in their games after the big step back that was SupCom 2

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        January 18, 2013 6:44 PM

        Despite my disappointment with SupCom2, GPG has always been a favorite of mine. I hope they make it through.

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      January 18, 2013 6:19 PM

      time for a GPG bundle, they could get some much needed cashflow

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        January 18, 2013 8:03 PM

        They've had money problems in the past which caused them to sell off most of their IP so they likely wouldn't get much.

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      January 18, 2013 7:01 PM

      "So, I made the very hard call to conserve money so that GPG could make a transition into a new business model, some people call it right-sizing, but I call it making a tough strategic decision."

      Uh... what? How's it going to endear them as a kickstarter favorite by firing a bunch of people to do the thing in the first place... really out on a limb now.

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      January 18, 2013 8:31 PM

      Going Green, thanks Obama

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      January 18, 2013 8:42 PM

      [deleted]

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      January 18, 2013 9:11 PM

      Watch this if you haven't!!

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaspoweredgames/wildman-an-evolutionary-action-rpg/posts/388863?ref=email&show_token=f497a9477a64d0c5&play=1#video

      I just pledged $30. Man that video is bleak, and kinda got to me. :/

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        January 18, 2013 9:15 PM

        That video got to me. :(

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        January 19, 2013 8:07 AM

        "We failed as a business, should you give us money?"

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        January 19, 2013 9:19 AM

        I may be jaded, but this actually turned me off helping them.

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        January 19, 2013 9:25 AM

        I think their goal is too ambitious. :/

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          January 19, 2013 10:25 AM

          If their goal were any less it would just be a money grab. 1.1 mil won't hire very many people back if the campaign is successful.

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            January 19, 2013 10:25 AM

            *1 mil. They lose about 10% to fees and no-shows.

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        January 19, 2013 11:45 AM

        I don't trust Chris Taylor at all especially after watching this video man he makes horrible videos. I wonder if this is all planed and just taking advantage of gamers wallets and it is physiological sales tactics. I would never work for him something does not settle right in my gut I just don't trust him started with that first video and then the prototype.

        Also what is up with showing a bug on video you know they edit the video before putting it up. Why on earth would you show that your game has a bug? Its like they are going out of their way to make you feel sorry for them. It's not like they have not made a game like this before and have the engine and expertise from DS1, DS2, Space Siege,Supreme Commander, etc I don't know it all just feels wrong...

        Maybe it is just me but something is off, I think I am going to pass on this one.

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          January 19, 2013 1:35 PM

          I must admit this seems rather likely too. The campaign is on target to hit 1.2 million.

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          January 19, 2013 1:41 PM

          You should change your opinion. He is one of the most respected game developers and studio managers around because of his loyalty and commitment to his employees. In sports terms, he's a players' coach.

          There isn't anything malicious here. This guy is trying to make a game he and his team feel passionate about but publishers have no interest in.

          It breaks my heart that so many crappy Kickstarters have gotten funded and this one is struggling.

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          January 19, 2013 4:05 PM

          Why not show a bug in the video? He was trying to appeal to a hardcore gamer audience, one that knows that bugs happen especially so early in the process. How many people would have been skeptical if the video would have looked super polished?

          I have to admit that I am a Chris Taylor fan and have been so since TA. He has never struck me as a marketing guy, but a true gamer. I've read stories about him not having crunch time because he believes that his employees should see their family and are the better for it. I think he had an idea for a game and the only way to make it and keep his company afloat was to kickstart it. It sounds like he hoped that kickstarter would go off better than what it did. The company hit the point of no return on finances and rather than not pay people what they were owed and fire them all after the money ran out he went this way.

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      January 18, 2013 9:23 PM

      Wow. What a tough deal. That sucks.

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      January 19, 2013 6:16 AM

      Yeah I lost interest after supcom2 that was the only time I've ever cancelldd a preorder on steam after playing a demo

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      January 19, 2013 9:01 AM

      It's the curse of Duke Nukem Forever!

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      January 19, 2013 1:31 PM

      I enjoyed Sup Comm 2 although not as much as the first. Kinda sad to see a strat dev studio go down like this.

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      January 19, 2013 5:12 PM

      Thinking about it more, kickstarter should get back all the money they gave him. I havd no idea why people would fall for it, dungeon siege was always mediocre, the last good thing they released was supcom1:fa

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        January 20, 2013 12:24 AM

        Kickstarter hasn't given any money for Wildman yet. You don't get the money until after the project finishes and even then only if it's successful.

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      January 20, 2013 4:18 PM

      If they had even a slight idea about the state their finances, they would of seen this coming ages before the kickstarter.

      This means either 1 or 2 things:

      a) That this move was premeditated before the kickstarter, and could be part of an emotional strategy plea that I think most people would highly dissaprove of if it came to surface.

      b) That their financial management was genuinely caught off guard, which means that they are incapable of responsibly managing money, and hence don't really deserve a kickstarter.

      There is a tiny chance that there is some other factor at play, but I cant see any obvious ones. You can clearly see emotion in the kickstarter video update 2.

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        January 20, 2013 4:23 PM

        But the emotion does seem forced. Dont get me wrong, I honestly wish this is genuine since I loved TA, and I have already backed this project. But the more I think about it logically, the more I doubt what I see.

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        January 20, 2013 5:26 PM

        Bruce Bjorkland explains what happened, seems legit.

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