Lay offs are sadly very commonplace in the video game industry, and the latest developer to be affected is Obsidian Entertainment, most recently known to be working on the South Park RPG. The financial situation is allegedly bad enough that the developer even had to cancel a next generation project.
Word of the layoffs came from Obsidian's own forums. A user had discovered posts from various social networking sites, pointing to ex-employees either job hunting or having already made the switch to another studio. Obsidian has not offered a comment on the state of their employees.
Apparently, the layoffs have affected around 20-30 employees, all coming from many different areas of Obsidian. That being said, the team working on the upcoming South Park RPG was also affected; however at this time it seems the project is still in development.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for other projects Obsidian was working on. It is being reported that the team had a next generation project also in development; though it appears to have been, for the time at least, cancelled. As some have pointed out, the cancellation of the project could actually be a reason for the layoffs. It's possible that Obsidian had hired people to work on the next generation game - and now, with zero funding, they needed to downsize to recuperate costs.
For a lot of employees, the layoffs seemed to have come out of nowhere - as one ex-employee only started work at Obsidian a day before being laid off, while another was only on the team for a week.
It's always unfortunate when a developer gets hit with layoffs, and though Obsidian is sometimes regarded as a "B-team" developer, they've crafted genuinely memorable games. Knights of The Old Republic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas were great follow ups to their respective predecessors - and even less critically successful games like Alpha Protocol still had plenty of potential underneath.
We wish all of those affected luck in finding a new work.
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