So, 38 Studios, led by baseball champion Curt Schilling, has laid everyone off.
So, on one hand, this is kind of a reminder - when you're operating in the low budget end of the spectrum, you think to yourself, "If only I had more money - then I could make a bigger, better game that would attract more customers." But truth is, at any scale, the amount you spend on the game is usually more than the amount you bring in. The Call of Duties and Angry Birds are exceptions - massive outliers. Most of us are making Kingdom of Amalurs and sixty second shooters and losing money.
But it's a costly reminder. This sucks. Above and beyond, for me, for a couple of reasons:
First, I met Curt Schilling a few years ago at the IGDA Leadership Forum and he was a really nice, humble guy. He said something to the effect of, "I realize I'm not the game designer I once thought I could be." And I was speechless for a moment. That sentiment is so rare. Not just in the game industry but in the world - most people admit they can't code or can't make art, but everybody thinks they can design. Curt Schilling sounded to me like he could be a Level Five leader - he was aware of his limitations and wouldn't let his own ego ruin the game he was making. I was really impressed.
Second, 38 Studios talked a lot about how they were going to emphasize quality of life, avoiding crunching and death-marching. If they had succeeded, that would be evidence that the 'happy worker' method of game development could really work. Sure, there's some evidence out there already - PopCap and Infinity Ward both had reputations for 'no mandatory overtime' and were massively succesful - but this is more evidence on the side of people who believe 'you have to death-march to make it in this business.'
So. That's what I think. What do you think?