We’ve seen layoffs at Driveclub developer Evolution Studios as well as Sony Santa Monica and Guerrilla Games Cambridge. Seth Killian has also left Sony Santa Monica himself, and writer Amy Hennig and game director Justin Richmond have both recently left Naughty Dog. WHAT IS GOING ON?
Industry insider Pete Dodd might have some answers, according to posts of his on NeoGAF – that said, treat these strictly as rumours at this point. Also, warning: he swears a lot.
On Sony Santa Monica, Dodd wrote, “Stig Asmussen and his team spent almost 100 million dollars on a game that failed every QA test they took. The game sucked. They shitcanned the game and a lot of the people involved. They offered Stig a spot on Barlog’s project – he didn’t want to go from game director to something lesser so he quit.
“This makes sense, right? Shitty game, money wasted, people fired, head guy leaves out of ego? I mean that all makes sense.”
Turning to Naughty Dog, he went on, “Amy Hennig has creative differences about the direction that UC4 should go in. Egos swell, she leaves. She’s happy, she will make another studio much better when she gets there. Justin Richmond, an ally of Hennig’s, gets an offer he can’t refuse from Riot. He leaves.
“These things happen. Naughty Dog is going to be fine. UC4 will still be awesome. Riot will be better with the pickup of Richmond and whoever gets Hennig will be better off. The sky isn’t falling.”
Moving on to Guerrilla Cambridge, the team behind Killzone Mercenary, Dodd stated that the team, “is working on a Vita game that is shit and won’t sell. They slim down as they retool for another project. Again – this isn’t new. This happens a lot.”
Finally, talking about Driveclub, Dodd said, “The director of Driveclub doesn’t deliver the game on time. Given more time the game still needs work. He is replaced. Wouldn’t you replace him? Wouldn’t you shitcan Stig’s project that cost them almost 100 mil and had nothing of value to show for it? In fact they should have done it two years ago. The fact they let it go this far is a testament to how much they believed in him after GoW 3.
“And all of this is happening before the fiscal year ends. Is Sony trimming fat? Of course. Sony corporation is not in a great spot. So they are tightening up a bit. But a lot of people are connecting dots that don’t need to be connected. Hennig/Richmond is about creative differences and ego. Stig is about wasted money and time. Col Rogers (Driveclub) is about failing to deliver. Taken on their own they all make sense. Combine them together and you get Glenn Beck with a chalkboard.
“And Jack Tretton was about money and inability to move up. He will make more money and have more power somewhere else – something Sony simply could not offer him. Shit happens.
It all makes sense, if true – rather than some grand conspiracy, this storm of departures is merely an unlucky coincidence, a bunch of unrelated events that have happened at the same time. Still, regardless of why, it’s clear that big changes are underfoot at Sony – a trimming of fat, a cutting back on unnecessary expenditures and games that might not make quite as much money as the company would like. In some ways, this could be seen as a good thing, Sony focusing more on running as a well-oiled machine and avoiding making the same mistakes that hounded it during the PS3 years.
Sony has tacked on another $200 million to its projected losses, this brings the total up to $1.2 billion.
GI.Biz is reporting for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2014, Sony expected a net loss of $1.27 billion. This was previously projected at a loss of $1.07 billion.
Sony actually predicted profits of $489 million at the end of the last fiscal year, but the sluggish slow sales of the electronics department seems to be a factor in huge losses.
Sony has stated that selling of their VAIO PC line was the reason for the change in projection. Sony’s PC sales were even lower than expected for the fiscal year that ended, which results in the added losses.
A Sony spokesperson issued a statement:
Consequently, Sony expects to record write-downs for excess components in inventory and accrual of expenses to compensate suppliers for unused components ordered for Sony’s Spring PC lineup.
In addition, certain restructuring charges are expected to be recorded ahead of schedule. As a result of these factors, an additional total amount of approximately ¥30 billion in expenses is anticipated to be recorded in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014.”
Sony has done numerous cost saving measures that included selling property, stocks, and laying off around 5,000 employees.
Sony’s full report will be released on May 14th!You must login or register to view this content.