It was just last week that I wrote a post about the loss of video gaming jobs in Vancouver with the closing of Propaganda Games and the layoffs affecting the EA Sports Active team in Burnaby. My sources now tell me that Relic Entertainment let go about a dozen people this week in a quiet move. There is some talk that several of those people were quite senior. I don’t have much more information beyond that. What I do know is that parent company THQ has their earnings call on February 2, which is coming up soon. It is a common strategy amongst companies to tidy up their business before facing the shareholders. With yet more developers joining the ranks of the unemployed, I wish everyone luck in the future.
On my way home this evening, I ran into a former co-worker from the Fight Night dev team. As many of you know, that was the last team on worked on before I was granted my wish of getting laid off from EA. There were very few things I enjoyed about being on that team but working with said former co-worker was indeed one of the rare highlights. Anyways, we had a short chat about things. He told me that Fight Night Champion is essentially done. He also divulged some personnel changes that occurred on the team. They were very interesting. I was also told that the Fight Night Champion wrap party would be happening Thursday evening. I have to admit, a part of me is a bit surprised I was not invited to the party. I worked on that game for six months in an area that was deemed fairly important feature-wise. While I wasn’t a trailblazer with my work, I did a fairly decent job. I was also the only person who was laid off on the team during the great EA fall purge of 2010, I wasn’t fired or anything. When I was on the skate team, we extended invitations to the wrap parties for everyone who worked on the game, even if they had been subsequently laid off or had come to the end of their temporary employment contracts. Once you worked on skate, you became part of the skate family, no matter what happened. I have known for a long time, however, that the closeness of the skate family is a rarity in the game development world and I should not expect other dev teams to be the same way.
On the other hand, I can totally understand why I wasn’t invited. By the end of my tenure on Fight Night, every single person who was important on that team, franchise DD, group DD, tech director, line producer, and my manager all knew I hated doing the stuff I was forced to do on the game. While I was still professional about my work, they all understood I was just dying on the inside to get out of this personal hell that I’d fallen into. So I can imagine when they were assembling the guest list, they probably thought I wouldn’t want to be even remotely close to anything that reminded me of that negative experience. Or they simply just didn’t want me there, which is their prerogative of course.
In any case, my ex-coworker believes the party is being held at the Earl’s in Yaletown, which coincidentally is right across the street from where I currently work. How convenient! Well, UFG is having their own celebration tomorrow as well. The company is treating all of us to a catered Chinese New Year buffet lunch. There is even going to be a whole roast pig for everyone to enjoy!