Layoffs Hit Saints Row Developer Volition, GM Dan Cermak Reportedly Departs


#1

The move comes from Deep Silver in the wake of a lackluster showing from 'Agents of Mayhem'.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vb7ygy/layoffs-hit-saints-row-developer-volition-gm-dan-cermak-reportedly-departs

#2

This kind of story is always a bummer and why I never enjoy reading about the meh games that fail to make an impression. I definitely think that Zacny is right to talk about Saints Row 3 as a game that the studio has, since, found themselves unable to escape. Every game is compared to its predecessors and none of them can escape its shadow.

I hope the workers land on their feet and can find new work. Hopefully those remaining can make something sustainable going forward.


#3

Even though it was recycling a lot of content from 3, SR4 was genuinely a blast thanks to sincerely embracing its own cornball tone and story, which put it as a huge contrast from the dour joylessness of GTA5, IMO. Apparently some of the original staff left after that, so AoM was mostly the new blood trying to do a fresh take on the Saints Row series up to that point.

What has sucked and continues to suck is that seemingly no studio can occasionally make a lukewarm or “just okay” type of game without putting themselves at severe risk of layoffs or even closure. I don’t know if there’s a guaranteed solution to it, but I do wish people would hold publishers more accountable for not being willing to absorb minor financial losses, rather than go as far as dancing on the gravestones of developers whose last project didn’t manage to hit the mark.

Been seeing way too much of the latter this past year, to be honest.


#4

While I understand the urge to blame Agents of Mayhem’s sales, it’s also pretty normal for layoffs to follow launching a title as you get into pre-prod for the next game. I’m hoping that’s the case here, as those are much less of a surprise for those involved,and either way, hope those layed off bounce back.


#5

I agree with you about Saint’s Row 4. That was the first game I played since Spider-Man 2 that made me feel like a superheroine.

A superheroine with a gun, but a superheroine nontheless.


#6

But… but… What happens to Freespace 3?


#7

Looks like ChipCheezum was one of the people hit by the layoffs today. If you know any companies with openings for video editors, definitely let him know.


#8

I remember that when Saints Row the Third came out, some fans and critics voiced either disappointment or loathing for it. It was too cartoony, too shallow, and trying too hard apparently. Gat “dying” upset a lot of people too. The reaction was strange. Saints Row 2 was loved specifically because of how over-the-top and not GTA IV it was, but SR3 was derided as being too goofy. By some at least, when it originally came out. I don’t really see that reaction anymore.

While I greatly enjoyed SR2 (when it didn’t crash on my PC), SR3 was when the series found its true identity. Whereas SR2 wanted to be funny but also serious at times, and in a way that wasn’t satisfying to me, SR3 was phenomenally good. Despite having removed certain customization options and seemingly not having as many buildings to explore, I loved it. It pretty much had none of the things that bugged me about SR2 and most of its strengths. I was quite fond of SRIV, too, especially the Christmas DLC. SRIV was just as “weirdly heartwarming” and “profane” as its predecessor.

So, it’s upsetting to hear that because a new title had poor sales, 30 or so Volition employees were laid off. This is the scary reality of game development: your job security is only as strong as the sales of your company’s most recent game. I have no idea what steps are needed to change that reality. But I do hope other companies hire those who were fired, because they’re obviously very talented.