News Article

Job Losses Rock LostWinds Developer Frontier

Posted by Damien McFerran

The Nightmare Before Christmas

LostWinds developer Frontier Developments has made 14 of its 233 staff redundant, Eurogamer has revealed.

The Cambridge-based studio - which expanded its operations in North America earlier this year - is letting the staff go at 6pm on Friday 14th December - just 11 days before Christmas.

Frontier managing director David Walsh has given more detail on the redundancies:

Frontier regretfully has given a total of 14 people (from a staff of 233) notice that their roles are redundant, across art [9 staff], animation [3 staff] and audio [2 staff] disciplines. This is due to the changing mix of skills requirements for our current and future projects - it is not a reflection on the company's prospects, which remain healthy.

Once we took the decision to make the roles redundant, we felt it was better that the affected people knew ASAP so they can plan any further expenditure over the Christmas period accordingly and focus on their search for new roles as soon as possible. We have provided redundancy arrangements in excess of the minimum.

We are actively recruiting to shift the balance of skills we have within the company to enable us to deliver the set of projects currently in development.

The company released LostWinds and LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias on WiiWare to critical acclaim, and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to gain funding for Elite: Dangerous, an update of studio founder David Braben's most famous creation. Frontier was founded in 1994 by Braben.

The news has predictably been greeted by shock and a little anger:

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (14)

Shworange

#1

Shworange said:

Having a staff of 233 and still relying on kick starter funds doesn't sound like the best business model.

nindocrash

#2

nindocrash said:

i think i heard of lostwinds years ago i don't know?.. this is real messed up though

rjejr

#4

rjejr said:

Unfortunately this happens all the time, and 14 out of 233 people isn't really alot, and why does a company need 233 people to make Wiiware games anyway? I thought those games were made by a dozen people.

That run-on sentence out of the way - crap like THIS: "we felt it was better that the affected people knew ASAP so they can plan any further expenditure over the Christmas period"
really pisses me the f@ck off. You're firing people 2 weeks before Christmas but you rmake it sound like you are doing them a favor by doing it now. F2ck you!! Just admit it, you want to clear house before the year end bonuses or next year taxes take affect, don't feed those poor people any of your crap about doing what's best for them. screw you.

DrMonk

#5

DrMonk said:

@rjejr It actually makes a lot of sense to me. As long as the redundancy packages are generous, then you are giving these people the Christmas break to look into future prospects rather than letting them have ignorant bliss and then dropping the bomb on them in the new year with little time to consider options.
This is a pretty minor reduction given the size of the studio. They are just rescaling and obviously got a bit big for the types of projects they are moving forward with. Anyway, very much enjoyed the LostWinds games - I hope they invest some time in Wii U eShop development.

Slapshot

#6

Slapshot said:

Very sad news and I wish the affected employees the best going forward.

I do have one gripe with Frontier though and that's that they left their games on iOS Free for far too long in my opinion. Going free for a day or two is a great way to boost interest in your titles, but weeks is an entirely different story.

ejamer

#7

ejamer said:

My only experience with the company is through the Lost Winds games on WiiWare... but those games remain one of my favorite memories of gaming on Wii (even if they were rather short).

Best wishes to those who will be looking for employment, and for the company as a whole. Sad to see this happen at a time like this.

ThreadShadow

#9

ThreadShadow said:

How bout a kickstarter for LostWinds 3 on Wii U eShop?

I really don't think that person should disparage anyone from supporting the Elite Kickstarter. If Frontier goes down the kickstarter will end, and anyone who donated will get their money back, simple as that.

iphys

#10

iphys said:

Wow, I hope those people weren't counting on a x-mas bonus this year.

Banker-Style

#12

Banker-Style said:

Very sad news,and so near to Christmas.
I wish those 14 people who lost their jobs will find one asap.

Swithom

#13

Swithom said:

@rjejr If their UK based the tax year ends in April - so kicking them out to ensure that everything is reset in the new year actually has no financial benefit at all.

That said this is still a crappy time to do it. Hell, any time is a crappy time to do it.
I am, however, a little surprised a company I've only heard of producing wiiware titles had a staff of over 200 0.0

Henmii

#14

Henmii said:

I hope those people find a new job pretty soon, and I also hope for a new Lostwinds! Though it has become just a little bit more unlikely now!

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