Thief developer Eidos Montreal lays off more than two dozen employees

Eidos Montreal, developer of the recently released Thief and Deus Ex: Human Revolution laid off 27 employees today.


Eidos Montreal, developer of the recently released Thief and Deus Ex: Human Revolution laid off 27 employees today. The reductions follow Thief's lackluster reception by critics and fans.

"Unfortunately it's something that every major studio has to do sometimes in order to ensure you have the right set up for current and future projects," Square Enix told Kotaku. "It's never a nice thing to do but we are genuinely trying to offer as much support as much as we can. We're trying to re-locate as many people as possible into other roles here or at our other studios and we've been in touch several studios in Montreal to arrange a career day for those affected by this. We're very thankful for all their hard work and we sincerely wish them well."

Layoffs following completion of a game are common in the industry. However, the development of Thief has been especially troubled, with Eidos Montreal's founder resigning, citing "lack of leadership, lack of courage" with publisher Square Enix.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 4, 2014 2:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Thief developer Eidos Montreal lays off more than two dozen employees.

    Eidos Montreal, developer of the recently released Thief and Deus Ex: Human Revolution laid off 27 employees today.

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      March 4, 2014 2:12 PM

      man, it must suck to be a game developer

      • gmd legacy 10 years legacy 20 years mercury mega
        March 4, 2014 2:17 PM

        not known for job security

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        March 4, 2014 9:21 PM

        It used to be better. The more this happens the more impetus for devs to unionize.

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          March 4, 2014 9:44 PM

          Do devs ever talk about unionization? It seems like such a no-brainer.

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            March 4, 2014 10:04 PM

            Yes, but it hasn't reached a tipping point yet. It happened in other media so it might happen in games some day.

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        March 5, 2014 7:25 AM

        You dont get into game development unless you love games. You get average pay for long hours and no job security. Also, if you get laid off you will more than likely be out of a job for a year or more.

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      March 4, 2014 7:03 PM

      That actually sounded pretty genuine. I suppose it could have been worse.

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        March 4, 2014 7:20 PM

        Yeah I've heard many, many gamedev layoff PR blurbs that were marketdroid speak (synergies, blah blah). This one actually used normal words to describe what invariably happens after a game gets released, regardless of how well it does. So kudos for being less dickish about the process, Squeenix.

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      March 4, 2014 7:17 PM

      Wow, what dicks. I wonder how bad their crunch was before the end too, and if they were compensated for it.. fat chance, but sometimes it happens.

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        March 5, 2014 6:47 AM

        It does suck, but it isn't hard to imagine why this happens. On these big projects it's almost like a movie... you have to build a team to get the job done, but once the job is done, it would be too expensive to pay a salary for all of those people who might not be needed for maybe a year or two when the next project is ramped up to the same scale again. If you are going to do large 50 - 200 person team games, I don't see how to get around this unless you just have an amazingly managed stream of new games being worked on and an efficient way of shifting people around to other projects. It's tricky.

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          March 5, 2014 7:42 AM

          If you have a good enough management team then a steady stream of games is possible. You have to have good management to deal with the publishers and build a reputation. Unfortunately most management in video game dev tends to be utter ass clowns who failed up from other parts of the company because they were able to bullshit their way through life. not that I am speaking about any particular studio i've worked for..nooope.

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      March 4, 2014 8:10 PM

      It's amazing how much this happens, it's not even a surprise anymore it's actually just expected. Game development is almost as bad as VFX with job security and all that. What a shame that people are treated this way.. and of course there's always some studio in china or india that will do the same job for half the cost.. good luck to all the devs and artists out there, it must be hard...

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        March 4, 2014 8:18 PM

        Why are the post game production lay off such a surprise or even news anymore? I've been working construction for 20+ years and at the end of EVERY job there are lay offs. It's been like that for over a century!

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          March 4, 2014 9:41 PM

          Yeah I don't get it either. I guess because it's a new business and their counterparts in other types of software don't have to deal with it, but in feature films and tv shows you work a job and then when the job is over you get on to the next one.

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        March 4, 2014 9:20 PM

        Whats the model that the other technical/production talent in hollywood uses to make those cycles livable, compared to the punishing VFX/game dev model?

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          March 4, 2014 9:42 PM

          Different expectations I guess. We just accept that it's how things are and we don't blog about it.

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          March 5, 2014 6:52 AM

          Yeah, every movie is basically it's own project and nobody expects to continue working right into the next movie. But those also aren't salary positions, they are paid per project. Game companies are more persistent because more carries over to the next project than in a movie studio. With games you usually have game engines and art assets and knowledgeable people you want to keep around. It seems somewhat similar to the way movies are done, but the core group of people who stay is probably larger in game studios.

          I'd imagine a lot of people at the lower level jobs must know they are most likely looking for something to do when their current big project is done.

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      March 4, 2014 9:18 PM

      People should stop being surprised that what are effectively contract jobs are being terminated at the end of the contract.

      I may not agree with how game dev studios run this business, but it's pretty common knowledge at this point that one shouldn't bank on a 20 year position at a game studio.

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        March 4, 2014 10:06 PM

        If they were contract jobs that would be okay because it would all be up front and people would be compensated accordingly. Problem is that isn't the case when you are hired as a full time employee.

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          March 4, 2014 10:10 PM


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            March 4, 2014 11:24 PM

            Is it epidemic in web development? It really seems to be in games.

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              March 4, 2014 11:29 PM

              Hasn't been in my experience. Certainly neither of the last couple companies I've worked for has done that type of thing.

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          March 4, 2014 11:38 PM

          I'm really not trying to be an asshole but this seems to be completely standard in the game dev industry. We have these threads often. The industry is supposedly small. It seems like it should be common knowledge at this point for people in the field. If that's not the type of thing you want to deal with, perhaps it's not the right place for you to be.

          I suppose new people might get caught offguard the first time if they're completely oblivious to the world they're trying to work in, but, I dunno. With how often this happens I just have a really hard time saying anything other than "Oh, look, it happened again. Shocker."

          It's the reason my friend got out of the Animation/CGI industry. Too much unknown about where you'd be next year.

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            March 4, 2014 11:45 PM

            Again, I don't necessarily agree with the practice, but acting surprised or making it out to be worthy of a "news" story just seems disingenuous at this point. I guess if Shacknews is catering to industry news for people in the game development industry then maybe it has its place and I'm the one overreacting but it seems like Shacknews has typically been consumer focused.

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              March 5, 2014 12:18 AM

              I think "accepting" this practice as part of the industry and inevitable sends the wrong message and sets a precedent where there is no loyalty on the part of the employer and that gets reflected in the lack of personal and creative investment in a project. I don't know, maybe it's like the change in the hockey world after Gretzky got traded. Up to that point there seemed to be a lot more loyalty both ways in the sport, but once someone as incredible as 99 gets traded all bets are off. We've seen some of the biggest and seemingly most stable companies hack and slash post project so I guess all bets are off indeed. I just find it a bit disingenuous when people say it's about downsizing when they turn around and hire juniors to fill the vacancies. There are a lot of people running studios that seem to think that acquired knowledge isn't worth much and two cheap grads are worth one experienced dev.

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                March 5, 2014 9:24 AM

                I understand what you're saying. What irks me is why is this any more newsworthy than my MIL's whole support team being laid off because the XB1 didn't meet holiday sales expectations (speculating, I don't really know why) and they didn't need that many people for support? As many or more people lost their jobs for basically the same reason and no one gave a shit.

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            March 5, 2014 12:12 AM

            It's not a rule though. It's still sporadic enough that there hasn't been a concerted push back. Then again, as long as there are fresh faced grads willing to put their ass in a seat it might not ever happen. There are a lot of people still convinced that it won't happen to them and I am sure there are people running studios that think the same way until their publisher pulls all projects. The other issue is what else would you do? A programmer would have a decent chance in another sector, but there isn't a lot of call for 3D artists outside of games and VFX isn't much better. Same can also be said for concept artists, etc. And designers and writers are even worse off. The instability sucks, but when you do find a good company it can be a great job. Also, as I mentioned, if companies were more up front and provided contractor levels of compensation they might get better results out of people while they were on a project and they wouldn't lose the people that are very talented. That's a big part of the reason indie companies are popping up everywhere. If you are going to take a risk might as well be in a position to reap the rewards instead of being a cog that gets tossed at the end of a project.

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            March 5, 2014 6:54 AM

            Well, if I was a game developer, I would much rather be a full employee and get health benefits etc than just a contractor. But once you are hired as an actual employee, it's kind of human nature to assume you are 'safe' to an extent. It does suck though, it seems like there needs to be a better way to do it.

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      March 5, 2014 7:45 AM

      when video games meet the real world, there is shock and outrage.

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        March 5, 2014 7:47 AM

        Partly this is because events like this weren't covered by the news 5-10 years ago. It's only somewhat recently that a gaming blog would even bother to report cyclical layoffs

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