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Evidence of Molten Games layoffs spreads across the web
Evidence of Molten Games layoffs spreads across the web
April 3, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Molten Games appears to be in dire straits. The San Diego, California-based studio, founded less than a year ago by Blizzard and Sony Online Entertainment veterans, has apparently laid off its entire staff -- though some evidence suggests it has not yet closed and will continue to seek other sources of funding. The studio, though independent, was originally backed by online game publisher NCsoft.

Gamasutra was first tipped off by an industry veteran who can confirm he has spoken directly with multiple affected staff, but the evidence has been mounting across the web.

In a thread on the Polycount forums, two posters speak of direct knowledge of the studio layoffs, one saying "the whole studio is looking for work as of yesterday." An art director also alludes to a cancelled Molten project on his blog.

It seems you can see that project for yourself. Joshua Kriegshauser, the company's director of technology, also confirmed in two March 29 tweets that production had shut down on the company's game, sharing one YouTube video entitled "AlphaGameplayPromo" and another labeled "WatchYourSix."

Finally, the San Diego IGDA chapter has labeled a post on its Facebook page detailing the studio's layoffs "confirmed."

However, the current status of the studio is a little bit murkier. While many posts allude to its closure -- understandable when a company sheds all of its staff -- the San Diego IGDA Facebook post adds "They are currently seeking funding to continue development."

Gamasutra tried but was unable to reach Molten Games for comment. An NCSoft spokesperson has said the company cannot comment on the studio's potential closure or its current relationship with Molten Games, as its relationship was as an investor and it had no part in managing the studio.

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Jim Thompson
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So tough to get funding for an original ip in that space right now, which is too bad. The alpha video showed some very impressive work but again, is there anything sticky about "Blunderbuss"? I sure wouldn't want to talk about playing a game called that if I were 17.

Mike Weldon
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Seems an appropriate name for a game with a steampunk setting.

Phil Maxey
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John Paduch
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While it seems like a good candidate for KS, what with that alpha footage showing the game to be a good ways into development, it's a bit difficult to go that route once your whole staff is already gone and in the process of finding work elsewhere.

If they tried to do a KS run with new staff, that'd just be bad form.

Matthew Fundaun
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Agreed. If they're going to try and keep limping along after firing literally everyone, then what was the point of downsizing 100%? That isn't cleaning house, that's bombing the house and then burning the rubble to ash.

Brings up the question of what exactly their plan is, if not closing.

Rey Samonte
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I discussed this with a friend who was affected and the plan that he understood was...if they can get funded, they will try to rehire as much as they can back.

Jacek Wesolowski
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Who is this game intended for - RPG fans or FPS fans?

Dan the gaming Guy
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Truth of the matter is, software development is more expensive than its worth if you do acurate projections of cost with an unproven product.

The business case will almost never make sense on an original ip.

Seems like in most cases, new ip's come into the market as something small that got lucky and then build the brand over years.

Anyone going big from the start will almost always go home.

The only exception I can think of late is Titan fall, but really they made the same type of game but better and probably got a huge investment for platform exclusivity, which reduced financial risk.

Daap Lok
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That is too bad
Was looking forward to seeing the first release
Lessons to be learned by indies that want to survive
Money is no substitute for motivation
Skill is no substitute for inspiration
Hope the team reconstitutes and makes it happen