It’s been a tough year of studio closures, but in this very tight knight community there seems to be the sense that with every job loss comes at least one new opportunity. Case in point is Rockstar’s Vancouver studios, which has unfortunately closed its doors. Luckily, alongside the closure of Rockstar Vancouver, comes the opening of a new studio in Oakville, Ontario to become part of Rockstar Toronto.
Members of Rockstar Vancouver’s team (there were said to be about 35 developers on staff at the time of the closure) are being offered a position at Rockstar Toronto or one of the other various Rockstar Games facilities based around North America. The Ontario government is partially funding the creation of Rockstar Toronto, and Rockstar hopes to bring on about 50 developers for future projects.
What this means for the future of the Max Payne franchise, though, is unclear since Rockstar Vancouver was the company, along with Rockstar Toronto, responsible for delivering the most recent exploits of the hard-boiled detective, Max Payne 3. Rockstar did inherit the franchise from Remedy Entertainment, who themselves moved on to Alan Wake, but the hope was that the franchise would continue in one form or another. In fact, Max Payne 3 was actually pretty well received, and stands out as one of the finest games released during 2012 thus far.
This increased staff for Rockstar Toronto could also help get the ball rolling on the oft-requested Bully sequel Rockstar has been teasing. At the end of last year Rockstar said that after Max Payne 3 shipped work might begin on the Bully sequel.
So, it may not be Rockstar Vancouver that develops Max Payne 4, but hopefully, at the very least, Rockstar Ontario and those refugees from the Vancouver branch get a chance to put their talent into the pile. Max Payne 3 wasn’t exactly a huge leap forward for the franchise, but had some interesting ideas at play. It would be a shame for the success of that game to go unnoticed, and for no sequel to have even been attempted.
And, of course, our thoughts go out to those Rockstar developers who find themselves in an unfortunate state of flux, and we hope they land safely on their feet.
Do you think that the Rockstar brand isn’t as strong as it once was? Are you hopeful for the future of the Max Payne franchise?
Source: Take-Two Interactive