Last week was a rather eventful one to put it lightly. Three events occurred that even by themselves would have been momentous but having all three happen in about 48 hours made the week all the more distinct. Somewhere between the beginning of Thursday and the end of Friday I experienced: the joy of skate 2 hitting the shelves, the sadness of seeing many of my friends lose their jobs, and the uneasy apprehension of essentially finalizing the deal for my apartment.
Usually a launch week for a studio is a happy time. At Black Box, they usually put up some decorations, setup a demo station for the whole studio to try the game, and there is usually free swag being given away. The studio management invariably also send out a congratulatory e-mail to whole studio, thanking the team in question for their hard work. Of course, none of this happened this week since the massive layoffs coincided with the launch. Bad timing indeed.
Despite all of this, our game appears to be well-positioned to be a hit (fingers crossed, knock on wood). I had a chance to hear some marketing peeps and they said we’re above pre-sell numbers on skate 1 and above projections as well. Apparently, a large game retailer in the US has already re-ordered our title as their initial shipment has been already sold or spoken for. Anecdotaly, on the weekend, I checked out the Future Shop in Coquitlam and I was told skate 2 was completely sold out on both Xbox 360 and PS3, and had been for two days now. The local Best Buy appeared to be out of PS3 versions with just a few left on Xbox 360. If you go to either of the web sites for those retailers, you’ll see both platforms have been sold out! Such examples are truly a testament to the creativity, hard work, and intelligence of my co-workers.
I have been informed we will properly celebrate but not until a bit of the dust settles. When we do have the wrap party though, everyone who worked on skate 2 will be invited, no matter what their current job status is. I understand if some won’t want to attend but I look forward to everyone gathering together for one last time to celebrate our collective achievement.
Almost lost in all of this was the fact that I went ahead with my real estate deal. It’s not final yet and the apartment isn’t legally mine for a few more weeks but I can’t really back out of it now. The deal isn’t subject to any conditions now and on Friday, I gave a whole big whack of money to my realtor to hold in trust while a lawyer goes to work on the conveyance.
Last week was one of those times when your life is at a crossroads and you’re actually aware of that fact. Had I been one of those who got laid off, I am not sure if my lender would have given me the mortgage and I probably would have lost the apartment. I’d be jobless without any clue when I’d be able to buy a home again. Instead, I retained my job for reasons that I’m not entirely clear on still. Having a job will now allow me to buy the apartment. Instead of job hunting, I’ll be furniture hunting, what complete opposites.
In the next few weeks, I’d prefer if things just settled down and life became more predictable. Let’s hope for some calmer waters ahead.