This morning several videogame blogs reported a rumor that independent developer Rebellion Developments may close its Derby satellite office. Rebellion quickly squashed these rumors, saying that the Derby office is merely undergoing a restructuring.
The confusion started with Rebellion’s Derby office, which recently worked on the game Rogue Warrior, coming to the end of its lease. According to rebellion, the developer plans to expand its facilities at Oxford and Runcorn and may move some, if not all of the Derby office staff to these new expansions.
Creative director and CEO Jason Kingsley stated “We are very excited about the expansion of our Oxford offices, the home of Aliens vs. Predator. Recruitment is ongoing both in Oxford and in Runcorn.” He added, “However, growth is sometimes painful, never more so than in the current climate and we have had to take a long, hard look at how we operate our studio network. Strategically we have decided to review the need for the Derby facilities, and consultation with staff at Derby is ongoing.”
Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a company use words like “consultation with staff” and “growth is sometimes painful” I tend to think that people are losing their jobs. The real question is “What does this mean for gamers?”
Personally I think this news is very telling of how smaller developers (ones not backed by major publishers) are adapting to the world’s economic state. The last game made by Rebellion’s Derby office was Rogue Warrior, a critical and retail flop. I assume that the poor reception of this game played a major role in Rebellion’s decision to restructure. Do you guys think that game development is at a place where budgets are so high that when a game fails, a developer is forced to restructure its offices and staff? Are we at a place where there is only room for guaranteed blockbusters and low risk, high turnover budget titles?