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Report: IO Interactive Makes Round Of Layoffs
Report: IO Interactive Makes Round Of Layoffs
March 29, 2010 | By Kris Graft

March 29, 2010 | By Kris Graft

Square Enix-owned Hitman and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men developer IO Interactive last week laid off 35 employees, according to Danish reports.

The layoff report comes as the studio continues work on Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, due later this year.

"We are sorry to have to say goodbye to employees, but it is a natural process when working in a project[-based] organization," Niels Jorgensen, general manager at IO Interactive said on Danish website ComputerWorld.

The report said that prior to the layoffs, IO's headcount stood at 200 employees. Jorgensen acknowledged that the firings happened last Thursday, but would not corroborate the number of people fired. Gamasutra has contacted Square Enix to confirm.

IO Interactive was founded in 1998 and was acquired by Eidos in 2004. Square Enix then acquired Eidos in 2009.

IO Interactive's most successful franchise is the Hitman series, which was converted to a 2007 film starring a bald Timothy Olyphant.

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Alan Youngblood
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"We are sorry to have to say goodbye to employees, but it is a natural process when working in a project[-based] organization,"

Maybe many people share this sentiment and it's perhaps a real problem of our industry, but seriously? We have the best and brightest people in the world working to make games. I know because I see them every year at GDC and various other events. I honestly doubt that when given the task of keeping people gainfully employed if they are skilled and work hard (but not beyond a reasonable quality of life's work hours) that we can fail so many times. I'm not trying to point the finger at IO, SquareEnix/Eidos or anything here. My point is that there are few companies in the industry that do not do this. We have collectively pushed art and technology to the bleeding edge, made some of the most endeared and enjoyed media of the 21st century (and the brief period of the previous century we operated). Why can't we treat ourselves like humans?

Layoffs are a good and natural thing like this article suggests. What isn't is that most layoffs (like these) are actually systemic. That is, we have a system that we continue to stand by that makes sure people are laid off, unemployed, jobless, and so on simply because too many people have different priorities. In helping others we help ourselves as well. It's not Karma, or some lofty religious thing, it's simple common sense. Humans are social people that have needs that only other humans can fulfill, thus when we help others it makes them better off to help us when that time comes.

To Niels Jorgensen and any others with the power to make sure workers keep jobs when it's possible: I challenge you to be heroes in your workplaces so that you fight for those who work for you. I know you are intelligent people to have the jobs you have. Use that great intellect to make a system that continues the missions of your companies while keeping people employed. Or be very up front with people that they might end up jobless in a matter of 18 months or something like that. And pay them enough to make that contract work. There's no way we can design the great game systems that we design and not design a work system that allows the best interests of all people involved to be preserved.

Anyone in those positions that would like to chat with me to help work out those problems mentioned, don't hesitate to ask. I don't have all the answers, but what I do have I'm willing to lend a hand (free of charge) because I believe in this industry and I believe in you. Don't ever let my rants go on without knowing that I will offer to help to the greatest capacity which I am able.

Ryan Sanderson
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Alan, words have never been spoken with more truth. For example, i'm not sure how Valve is ran internally, but I've NEVER heard of them having any layoffs. Maybe that's an example to analyze.

David Cogan
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One of my favourite studios. Harsh news.

Brian Dreyer
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Yes, project based = staff up and staff down. If there's no project to replace the one that's just been completed, what should they do instead, burn all their cash and go out of business?

Yes, Valve has had layoffs but they have as much or more valuable IP than Eidos/Square and 1/10th the size I'm sure.

Tim Carter
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Time for you guys to organize a guild, so that when producing companies need more staff they can work with the guild to quickly crew up with qualified personnel. It makes the industry stable, standardized and organized.